Prettyboy Reservoir, Maryland, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Prettyboy Reservoir — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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All About Prettyboy Reservoir

Prettyboy Reservoir spreads out over 1,500 acres in northern Baltimore County, Maryland. It is named after Prettyboy Creek, which is a located in a section of Baltimore County known as “Devils Backbone”. Legend says that a farmer bought his daughter a colt with a beautiful silken coat. The girl fell in love with the horse and named him Prettyboy. One evening after a storm, the horse wandered off, stopped to have a drink in the stream, and slipped down the soft bank into the water. The horse was never seen again.

Prettyboy Reservoir is owned and operated by Baltimore City, which also owns the surrounding land. Prettyboy is one of three reservoirs created to supply the Metropolitan Baltimore municipal water system. Loch Raven Reservoir, located downstream, and Prettyboy Reservoir provide over half of the drinking water for the entire Baltimore Metropolitan area. Rather than entering directly into Baltimore, the water from Prettyboy is transferred to Loch Raven Reservoir first, via Gunpowder Falls. It then travels via tunnel to the Montebello Filtration Plants in Baltimore where it is treated and distributed to the metropolitan area.

Prettyboy Reservoir lies behind the scenic Prettyboy Dam, completed in 1932, on the Gunpowder River. This area constitutes 20% of all the land in Baltimore County, and is by far the most sparsely populated area in the county. Strict zoning laws prohibit any planned communities from developing here. What this means for the “Lakelubber” is 19 billion gallons of virtually undisturbed aquatic beauty.

If you’re an angler, Prettyboy Reservoir is considered by locals to have the best smallmouth bass in the area. The reservoir also contains brown and rainbow trout, largemouth bass, striped bass, and white perch. Because of the cleanliness of the reservoir, the fish quality is exceptionally high.

Although swimming is not allowed in Prettyboy Reservoir, boating is allowed and is extremely popular. You will need a permit for boating, and there are minimum size requirements for canoes. Prettyboy Reservoir provides a general north/south flow with many branches and streams to explore. Conifers and deciduous trees flank the banks and provide a foundation for the incredible wildlife in the area.

For those who love hiking and animal-watching, Prettyboy Reservoir provides habitat for a variety of forest wildlife species, including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, rabbit, squirrel, and songbirds. The area is open to archery hunting for all game species (except waterfowl) during the regulated hunting season established by the Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service. Hunters are required to have a permit to access the area. Throughout the year, this area is open to hiking, horseback riding, bird watching, and nature photography. Nearby Gunpowder Falls State Park offers a variety of topographic features, from tidal marshes and wetlands to steep, rugged slopes. There are more than 100 miles of trails, including the 21 mile Northern Central Railroad (NCR) Trail, now known as the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail in honor of Maryland’s third Department of Natural Resources Secretary.

Prettyboy Reservoir is only minutes from Baltimore City on Interstate 83, and it makes a fun weekend adventure for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. Whether you decide to explore the reservoir’s many branches or relax and enjoy all that Gunpowder Falls State Park has to offer, this area provides a unique getaway that is peaceful and close to nature.

Things to Do at Prettyboy Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park

Fish Species Found at Prettyboy Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Trout
  • White Perch

Find Places to Stay at Prettyboy Reservoir

If you’re considering a Prettyboy Reservoir lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Prettyboy Reservoir Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Prettyboy Reservoir lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Prettyboy Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Baltimore City

Surface Area: 1,500 acres

Shoreline Length: 46 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 518 feet

Average Depth: 98 feet

Maximum Depth: 130 feet

Water Volume: 90,100 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1933

Drainage Area: 80 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

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