Everything You Need to Know to Visit Mauch Chunk Lake

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Friends having a picnic at Mauch Chunk Lake

Within beautiful Jim Thorpe county and Pennsylvania’s coal region is Mauch Chunk Lake Park. It’s a family-friendly county park with beach access and lake swimming for hours of fun for you and the whole family. Before visiting Mauch Chunk Lake, here’s everything you need to know and learn!

Where Is Mauch Chunk Lake?

Mauch Chunk Lake Park is a county park in Jim Thorpe, Penn. It’s in Carbon County, less than an hour’s drive north of Allentown. This eastern Pennsylvania county is about 115 miles from New York City and about 85 miles from Philadelphia.

The lake was built by a dam designed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1972. The 320-acre reservoir prevents the Mauch Chunk Creek from flooding.

How Do I Get to Mauch Chunk Lake?

From the eastern town of Summit Hill, it’s an easy drive down East White Bear Drive, about seven minutes. From the northern city of Nesquehoning, there is no direct route, even though the park is just a couple miles south. You have to take Highway 209 to either Lentz Trail or East White Bear Drive. From points east like Lehighton or Weissport, you take Highway 209 to Lentz Trail.

Traveler’s Tip: After visiting Mauch Chunk Lake head to this Amish Village in Pennsylvania.

Can I Swim in Mauch Chunk Lake?

Swimming is one of the most popular activities at Mauch Chunk Lake, but you can only do it while lifeguards are on duty.  On the beach, visitors can enjoy access to play equipment for children, a food and refreshment stand, and a beach pavilion. You can’t bring your pets.

However, beach access is not free. Daily admission to the beach area is $3 for adults and $2 for children over 3 years old. Non-county residents pay a higher fee of $10 per adult and $7 per child.

Fee collection is only on Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Individuals over age 65, children under age 3, and persons with disabilities go in free.

Season passes can also be purchased for $20 per individual if paid before Memorial Day weekend. After Memorial Day weekend, the price increases to $25. Non-county residents pay $50 no matter what time they purchase the season pass.

A family membership is also available for $40 if you buy it before Memorial Day weekend or $50 if you purchase it after Memorial Day weekend. 

Non-county residents pay $100 for a family membership. These family memberships are for up to four family members. Additional passes cost $4 per family member for residents and $5 for non-county residents.

Two friends swimming at Mauch Chunk Lake

Are There Boat Rentals at Mauch Chunk Lake?

Boat mooring and storage are available at Mauch Chunk Lake. Storage is available only during the off-season from December 1 to April 1, and boat slips are assigned during the season from April 1 to December 1. Guests can also rent equipment such as paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats at the lake.

Can I Camp There?

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the camping rate is $20/per night for county residents and $40/per night for non-county residents. From April 15 to Memorial Day weekend and from Labor Day weekend to late October, the rate is $18 per night and $27 per night.

Additionally, there’s also an extra vehicle fee of $10/car. Additional camping opportunities in group sites are available. Cottages are also available for rent. The cottages sleep up to six people.

Reservations can be made in advance or upon arrival if there’s availability. These campsites are only for tent camping and not for RV camping. They don’t have electrical hook-ups, but the camping area does have modern restroom and shower facilities.

Are There Hiking or Biking Trails at the Lake?

There are five different trails at Mauch Chunk Lake. The Switchback Trail, the most popular trail, is designed for hiking and biking. You can access it near the main entrance to the park.

The Orchard Trail and Board Bottom Trail are secondary trails you can get to from the Switchback Trail. The 3.5-mile Fireline Trail is another hiking and biking trail. The Shoreline Trail is closed to biking and can be difficult to navigate, so many don’t recommend it for young or inexperienced hikers.

Little boy laughing while sitting on beach at Mauch Chunk Lake

Do I Have to Pay to Have a Picnic?

Visitors can rent the pavilion for a large gathering or celebration for $150, and the price increases to $225 for non-country residents. It has a kitchen that renters can access. The picnic area is a short distance from the beach area and is open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

There are plenty of picnic tables and hibachis to choose from, and visitors enjoy an excellent view of Mauch Chunk Lake. Guests must pay the admission fee to the park to have a picnic.

What Is the Carbon County Environmental Center?

About four minutes down the road from Mauch Chunk Lake is the Carbon County Environmental Education Center. Open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the center is housed in a converted 1920 dairy barn and includes 70 acres of woodland, wetland, and meadow within Mauch Chunk Lake Park.

The Carbon County Environmental Education Center has facilities to offer classes and programs. In addition, the barn has an environmental research center, a lending library, and a wildlife rehabilitation hospital. The hospital welcomes mammals, raptors, other birds, and endangered or threatened species. 

However, the center doesn’t have a license to rehabilitate raccoons, foxes, skunks, bats, or groundhogs, even though it may accept them from the public before transfer to another licensed facility. The center doesn’t accept or care for injured adult deer, bears, or coyotes.

Enjoy the Scenic Beauty of Pennsylvania’s Mauch Chunk Lake

Mauch Chunk Lake is a wonderful location for family fun. If you’re local to the area, consider purchasing an individual or family season pass to take full advantage of the activities at the park. Whether you want to go for a bike ride, relax on the beach, or rent kayaks to enjoy an afternoon on the water, Mauch Chunk Lake offers beautiful scenery and outdoor fun.

Have you ever visited Mauch Chunk Lake before? Share your experience in the comments.

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