Beltzville Lake, Pennsylvania, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - Pennsylvania - Northeastern Mountains -

Also known as:  Beltzville Reservoir

The Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains are spectacular for many reasons, and Beltzville Lake is one of them. Located in the southern foothills of these famous Pennsylvania mountains, Beltzville Reservoir is home to spectacular vistas and myriad activities. In a mountain setting like that of the Poconos, it’s more common to see water in the form of a rushing brook, or perhaps a waterfall emerging from a rocky face. Finding a large body of water is rare and none is more rare than the Beltzville Lake. Built by the Army Corps of Engineers to control flooding and to provide for recreation and water supply in the Lehigh Valley, the 949-acre reservoir calls visitors like a welcoming beacon. Although the Army Corps of Engineers controls the dam, they have leased control of the recreational areas to the State of Pennsylvania in order to maximize use of the lands and water for the enjoyment of the public.

Beltzville Lake, part of the Lehigh River Basin created by damming the Pohopoco Creek, provides the medium for a wide variety of water sports. Although there is a 45 mph speed limit on most of the reservoir, a special area is set aside for waterskiing away from casual boaters and swimmers. There is plenty of public access, as the 2,972-acre Beltzville State Park encloses much of the northern shore and all of the southern shore of the finger-like lake. Within its confines, nearly all recreational activities can be enjoyed by the public, each according to their season.

At only one-and-a-half hours from Philadelphia and two hours from New York City, Beltzville Lake has quickly become popular with day visitors. Accessed from US 209 off the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Northeast Extension, boaters may head to the south shore’s two-lane launch ramp and parking for cars and boat trailers at Preacher’s Camp launching area. Seasonal mooring for canoes is available here also. On the north side of the reservoir, accessible from Pohopoco Drive, is another public access boat launch, swimming and picnicking areas, rest rooms, concession stand, first aid station, park office and interpretive center.

Farther down the shore, the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Wildlife Management Area controls many acres. These areas are open to licensed hunting in season and are visited by migrating birds thoughout the year, making it an excellent spot for viewing wildlife. Farther yet to the east, the Beltzville State Park lands encompass both Wild Horse Cove and Pohopaco Cove. This area is a favorite of cross-country skiers in the winter. Fifteen miles of hiking trails encompass much of the south shore. Saw Mill Trail, just west of the dam, has remains of a gristmill raceway, a dam and gateways, small ponds, a slate quarry from the 1700s, a wetland and a stream. Maps are available from the Park Ranger Station at the north shore access area.

Fishermen enjoy casting a line into Beltzville Lake in nearly every season. A boat rental concession is available west of the swimming beach that rents paddleboats, pontoons, kayaks, and small and large motorboats. The lake is stocked with both warm-water and cold-water game fish and panfish. Favorite species are trout, striped bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, muskellunge, chain pickerel and perch. Below the dam, Pohopoco Creek is stocked with trout. East of Pohopoco Cove, Pohopoco Creek is a productive trout stream. Both are favorites with fly fishermen. Although the lake is relatively deep, there are high ridges even in the middle of the lake where water may be only a few feet deep, providing for the variety of fish available for the catching. Ice fishing is limited to areas away from the dam where the ice is likely to be more stable. Ice fishing is not monitored, so ice anglers are warned to take care.

One of the largest events every August in Lehighton is the “Bike Night” featuring 28,000 plus motorcycles. Within a short drive is Lehigh Gorge State Park. A major attraction of the park is whitewater boating. This section of the Lehigh River is Class III whitewater and is popular for rafting, kayaking and canoeing. In the winter, snowmobiling is a popular pastime.

For some off-water exploration, the town of Jim Thorpe, 10 miles away, is a veritable treasure trove of history and a must-visit location. High-purity anthracite coal, or the black diamond as some called it, was discovered in the Poconos early in the 1800s. A near black-gold rush was on to this area 80 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Vast fortunes were made in the area for a few; 13 millionaires lived on one street at one time in Mauch Chunk, as Jim Thorpe was originally named.

The coal miners, some as young as seven and primarily immigrants, lived a miserable existence in company towns. One of these mining villages is preserved in Eckley Miners Village, only 35 miles from Beltzville Lake. A working mine, the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum is available for tours and history 10 miles from Jim Thorpe. Also from Jim Thorpe, one can board the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway for a rail tour, visit the Old Jail Museum (reputed to be haunted) and learn the history of the Molly Maguires that were hanged there: although accused of assaults and murders, it appears their chief crimes may have been union organizing. A portion of the engineering marvel, the Switchback Railway has been preserved and visitors can ride a short distance on it. Coal history driving tours are available as are tours of some of the elaborate Italianate homes of the mine owners. Those with school-age children won’t want to miss this chance to immerse them in the history of a booming frontier coal mining culture and the sociological lessons it affords. Learn too the reason Mauch Chunk-a derivation of a Native American name meaning ‘mountain of bears’-bought the rights to bury famed Native American Olympian Jim Thorpe in their town, hoping for a revival of faded economic fortunes. By any name, Jim Thorpe is an under-appreciated national historic treasure.

For the racing fan, Pocono International Raceway is only 26 miles from Beltzville Lake. Come for NASCAR, stay for the week. The area has several reservoirs and state parks to explore. Many of the small towns still exhibit an air of the Irish, Welsh and Cornish miners who’ve lived in the area for many generations.

Because no camping or rental cottages are available directly on Beltzville Lake, overnight visitors will need to find other accommodations. Private vacation rentals surround the lake, some with spectacular lake views, so check out the towns of Lehighton, Kresgeville, Jim Thorpe, and Towamensing Trails. Most towns provide all of the necessary amenities such as groceries, ice, gas and snacks.

A more complete vacation land would be hard to locate. Find a reason to visit soon. Beltzville Lake is waiting.

Things to do at Beltzville Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • NASCAR

Fish species found at Beltzville Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Beltzville Lake Photo Gallery

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Beltzville Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: US Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 949 acres

Shoreline Length: 20 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 628 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 636 feet

Average Depth: 42 feet

Maximum Depth: 126 feet

Water Volume: 41,250 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1971

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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