FATMAP difficulty grade
Blue Marsh Lake is an epic and long trail run in a very unsuspecting corner of Pennsylvania.
With southern trailheads less than 15 minutes from Reading and northern access points less than 20 minutes from Interstate 78, Blue Marsh is a staple run for locals and an excellent option even if you're traveling through.
Starting from the lake's visitor center near the dam, most choose to run this loop counterclockwise, beginning with the lake's east side.
Expect fast and winding singletrack hugging the lakeshore, with a high likelihood of spotting fisherman, kayakers, and other boaters in the morning.
The road is also never too far away should you need to cut your run short. As you near the lake's northern end near Bernville, you'll circle the lake's western hillsides beginning with a steep and arduous climb that will demand your full attention about halfway into the loop.
As you continue, the trail alternates between grassy farmlands and older sections of historic roads that were forgotten after the lake was impounded. For trail runners, [fastestknowntime.com](https://fastestknowntime.com/route/blue-marsh-lake-circumnavigation-pa) notes unsupported efforts hovering around the 3-hour mark, though most will want to set aside at least 6-hours to complete the circuit depending on conditions.
Though long in length, the trail is never too challenging compared to most PA trails.
The main access points for the lake are at the visitor center and dam nearer to Reading, along Church Road, or at one of the several roadside pull-offs on Bernville Road.
The large public boat ramps are another excellent option, though most charge a fee.
Facilities are generally unavailable except at the more developed boat ramps. *Note:* As with most trails along a reservoir, the soil does not drain quickly, and the area is prone to flooding.
After any amount of rain, give the trail plenty of time to dry out. Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Marsh_National_Recreation_Area