Moraine State Park
The gently rolling hills, lush forests and sparkling waters disguise a land that has endured the effects of continental glaciers and massive mineral extraction.
Each year over one million boaters, hikers, bikers and swimmers visit the 16,725-acre park, yet never realize that many people helped restore the park from prior coal mining and oil and gas drilling practices. Today, the park is an outstanding example of environmental engineering achievement.
The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset, unless otherwise posted. Park information, launch permits, cabin information and assistance can be obtained at the park office near the entrance to the South Shore. It is open year-round, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and weekends during the summer. The Davis Hollow Marina office on the North Shore provides marina applications, launch permits and general park information. It is open from April 15 to October 30.
Hiking - Biking - Mountain Biking - Horseback Riding - Picnicking - Swimming - Boating - Windsurfing - Fishing - Hunting - Education - Cross-country Skiing - Sledding - Snowmobiling - Iceboating - Ice Fishing - Ice Skating - Organized Group Tenting - Cabins - Camping
Picnicking: Picnic tables, charcoal grills and restrooms are located throughout the day use areas and marinas. Some facilities are ADA accessible. Seven picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis. All picnic areas are open from sunrise to sunset.
Make a reservation.
Swimming: Swimming is permitted at two beaches along the shore of Lake Arthur. The Pleasant Valley Beach on the South Shore is a 1,200-foot turf and sand beach and has a paved path into the water. A sand volleyball court and playground are on the west side of the beach. Lakeview Beach on the North Shore is a 550-foot sand beach.
The beaches are open daily from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day unless otherwise posted. The regular hours are sunrise to sunset. Swim at your own risk. Showers, changing facilities and snack bars are available at both beaches. To keep these areas clean and safe, pets are prohibited in the beach areas.
Snack Shop Concessions: The Lakeview Beach Concession is at Lakeview Beach on the North Shore, about five miles from PA 422. The second snack shop is at Pleasant Valley Beach along Pleasant Valley Road on the South Shore, about one mile from PA 422 and 1/2 mile from the park office. The concessions serve a variety of hot and cold fast foods including beverages and deserts. Food is available daily Memorial Day through Labor Day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The snack shops can be reached at the following phone numbers: Lake View Concession: 724-368-9699; Pleasant Valley Concession: 724-368-8546.
Boating: up to 20 hp motors permitted
Motorboats must display a boat registration from any state. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration from any state; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks that are available at most state park offices; launch use permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Explore the Davis Hollow Marina Map.
Explore the Watts Bay Sailboat Dry Mooring Area Map.
Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Crescent Bay Boat Rental: Pontoon boats, motorboats, kayaks, canoes, rowboats and sailboats are available at this rental concession. Motorboat fuel, ice and fishing bait are also available for purchase. www.moraineboatrentals.com
Davis Hollow Marina: The marina has motorboat fuel, a sanitary dumping station for boats and seasonal mooring for almost 700 vessels. Slips are designated for: 313 sailboats, catamarans and motorboats; 232 pontoon boats; 36 canoe rack spaces; 38 offshore mooring; and 80 dry mooring. A limited number of first-come, first-served transient spaces are available for short term stays. Outdoor winter storage for boats is also available in the park. Contact the marina office in advance to make sure space is available.
Watts Bay Marina: This area provides dry mooring for sailboats and catamarans only. The marina can accommodate 138 boats in numbered parking spaces complete with tie-downs, and 36 small sailboats and sailboards in rack spaces. An additional 20 numbered parking spaces are available near or adjacent to the boat launch.
Lake Arthur Sailing Club: This non-profit organization promotes recreational sailing on Lake Arthur. www.lasc.mycommunityhost.com
Moraine Sailing Club: This non-profit organization promotes recreational sailing on Lake Arthur. morainesailingclub.org/website/
Windsurfing: Barber Point, near Lakeview Beach, is popular for windsurfing due to stronger winds and sparse boat traffic. A state park launching permit is required for wind surfboards. All boating regulations apply to wind surfboards.
Remote Automatic Weather Station: In addition to monitoring fire danger, the weather station collects current weather conditions at the park, which are especially useful for sailing and boating. The website displays wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, relative humidity, rain gauge, solar radiation, barometric pressure, and fuel temperature and moisture. http://raws.wrh.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/roman/meso_base.cgi?stn=TT138&time=GMT
Fishing: The 3,225-acre Lake Arthur is a warm-water fishery. Common species are northern pike, largemouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie and bluegill. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stocks muskellunge, walleye, channel catfish and hybrid striped bass. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply.
Volunteers, park employees and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission employees have installed fish habitat structures throughout the lake. A map showing fish habitat project locations, water depths and specific features of the lake is available at the park office, marina office and the gift shop at McDanels Boat Launch.
ADA accessible fishing piers are at Bear Run Boat Launch, Park Road Boat Launch and McDanels Boat Launch, which also are great spots for children to fish.
Fishing is prohibited in these areas:
Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: About 13,600 acres of Moraine State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are waterfowl, deer, turkey, grouse, bear, rabbit, pheasant and squirrel. No hunting areas are posted.
A map is available at the park office showing portions of the park open to hunting. No hunting areas are posted.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner's car, trailer or leased campsite. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Hiking: 28 miles of trails
For the safety of all park visitors, please keep dogs leashed and under physical control at all times.
Sunken Garden Trail: 2.4 or 3.6 miles, easiest hiking, pink blazes
When conditions permit, the trail is groomed for cross-country skiing in the winter. Access the trail near the Pleasant Valley Boat Launch parking lot. From the park office travel toward the Pleasant Valley Marina and take the first right turn.
Hilltop Trail: 1 or 1.4 miles, more difficult hiking, green blazes
Pleasant Valley Trail: 1.9 miles, easiest hiking, yellow blazes
Five Points Trail: 1.3 miles, easiest hiking, light green blazes
Glacier Ridge Trail: 14.8 miles, most difficult hiking, blue blazes
Wyggeston Trail: 1.5 to 4.6 miles, most difficult hiking, orange blazes
Biking: 7 miles of trails
Mountain Biking: 6 miles of trails
Bike Rental: On North Shore Drive, about 1 1/2 miles from PA 422, the bike rental is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. They rent single and multi-speed/geared bikes, tag-a-longs, children's and tandem (two-person) bikes, and also child seats, helmets and child pull behind trailers. Rentals are at your own risk. Neither the bicycle concessionaire or the park is responsible for any accidents or injuries which may occur during your rental. Please ride defensively and be aware of others on the trail. 724-368-9011, if no answer 724-944-3239.
Horseback Riding: 20 miles of trails
Disc Golfing: An 18-hole disc golf course is in the Lakeview Day Use Area. For more information contact the Pittsburgh Flying Disc Society. www.pfds.org.
Camping is available at nearby private campgrounds and information is available at the park office.
Backpacking: The Link Road Overnight Shelter on the North Country National Scenic Trail is available to backpackers by reservation only.
Make a reservation.
Modern Cabins: Eleven modern cabins are available for rent year-round. These electrically heated cabins sleep six people and have two bedrooms, bathroom with shower, kitchen, dining/living area and a dock on Lake Arthur during the summer season. Renters must provide their own linens, towels, cookware and tableware. Play equipment for children is in a central area. Cabin 11 is ADA accessible.
Explore the cabin map.
Explore cabins for more information.
Make a reservation.
Organized Group Tenting: There are two tent camping areas available for organized groups: Muskrat Cove and Five Points. These rustic camps have picnic tables, cooking grills and water, but no showers. Advance reservations are required.
Explore organized group tenting for more information.
Enjoy the Winter
Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths. Ice thickness is not monitored. For your safety, be sure there is solid ice at least four inches thick and carry safety equipment.
Cross-country Skiing: Pleasant Valley and Sunken Garden trails are groomed when snow conditions permit. The trails are blazed with yellow and pink and are suitable for all skill levels.
Sledding: A very popular sledding area is near the Pleasant View Picnic Area on the South Shore.
Snowmobiling: Conditions permitting, 26 miles of trails in the north and west portions of the park can be snowmobiled. There must be at least six inches of snow on the paved bike trail. Studded track snowmobiles are prohibited on the paved bike trail. Please refer to bulletin boards for additional rules and regulations for snowmobiling.
Ice Fishing: Common species caught are largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, yellow perch and northern pike. Conditions permitting, ice fishing is permitted in the Game Propagation Area from January 1 through March 15.
Ice Skating: The cove by the Pleasant Valley Day Use Area is popular for ice skating.
Iceboating: Iceboats must display a state park launch permit.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
Moraine State Park offers a wide variety of environmental education, interpretive and recreational programs. Through hands-on educational activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding and a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources.
Programs are offered year-round. Teacher workshops and educational programs for students are available. Please contact the park office or go to www.visitPAparks.com for more information.
Pontoon boat tours of the lake board at McDanels Boat Launch. These tours are provided through the Moraine Preservation Fund
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of events from today forward.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
Pontoon boat tours of the lake board at McDanels Boat Launch. These tours are provided through the Moraine Preservation Fund. Programs on the boat teach about the wildlife of Moraine and the development of Lake Arthur. The pontoon boat operates on a regular schedule throughout the summer. The pontoon boat is open to the public and is also available for charters for a fee.
The Regatta at Lake Arthur
Every August the Regatta at Lake Arthur is two days of activities including, entertainment, education, boat races and family fun. Visit their Web site www.lakearthurregatta.org.
Access for People with Disabilities
ADA accessible flush toilet restrooms are located in the Pleasant Valley Picnic Area, Pleasant Valley Beach, Pleasant View Picnic Area, Bear Run Boat Launch, McDanels Boat Launch, Park Road Boat Launch, 528 Boat Launch, Lakeview Beach Area and the Davis Hollow and Watts Bay marinas.
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.
Lake Arthur provides over forty-two miles of scenic shoreline. Its tributaries include Muddy Creek, Big Run, Swamp Run, Bear Run and over 75 intermittent streams. Ranging from an average depth of 11 feet to about 36 feet deep near the dam, the shallow waters of Lake Arthur are home to a variety of warm-water fish. Frogs, newts, turtles and water snakes prowl the edges of the lake. Great blue herons, green herons and belted kingfishers prey on minnows and fish fry. In the early spring, common loons stop at the lake on their migration north.
Osprey may be seen flying over Lake Arthur. Once extirpated from Western Pennsylvania, these “fish hawks” have been reintroduced to Moraine through a hacking program begun in 1993. The first osprey pair to nest along Lake Arthur as a result of this effort raised three young in 1996. Due to a successful reintroduction program statewide, the osprey population has recovered and is continuing to expand. Bald eagles are also actively nesting in the park.
A waterfowl observation deck is along Park Road.
The Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey has produced two Trail of Geology Guides for Moraine State Park. The guides explore the glacial and mining history of the park.
At least four continental glaciers reached their greatest extent just north of Moraine State Park. These huge ice sheets, sometimes over a mile thick, transported stones and soil in, within, beneath and in front of them, reshaping the land. When the glaciers retreated, they left behind the accumulated debris, which is called a moraine. Deposits of gravel, sand and clay found throughout the area are evidence of the glaciers and their moraines.
During one or more of the ice advances, a continental glacier dammed area creeks making three glacial lakes. To the north, north flowing Slippery Rock Creek filled giant Lake Edmund. To the southeast, extinct McConnells Run filled tiny Lake Prouty. In the middle, north flowing Muddy Creek filled the medium-sized Lake Watts.
The glacier dammed Lake Prouty on the edge of the drainage divide. Eventually Lake Prouty spilled over and rushed to the south, initiating the erosion Slippery Rock Creek Gorge. Lakes Watts and Edmund drained into the gorge, eroding it deeper and making Slippery Rock Creek flow south. Areas of the 400-foot deep Slippery Rock Gorge may be seen at nearby McConnells Mill State Park.
The glacier created a landscape of rolling hills topped with hardwood trees and swamps in the valley bottoms.
To learn more about the geology of the park, pick up a copy of the Trail of Geology brochure at the park office, or visit the interactive web site. This driving tour brochure corresponds to numbered posts throughout the park and surrounding area.
American Indians found the land excellent for hunting grounds. In the 1800s, farmers cleared the forests and drained the swamps. Sand and gravel deposited by the glaciers were mined and sold. Limestone and clay were mined to make ceramics. Local shale was used to make bricks. The discovery of bituminous coal ushered in a boom time for the region. Seven coal beds were deep-mined and later the land was strip-mined.
In the late 1800s wells were drilled to extract oil and gas. When the wells dried up, they were abandoned and left unsealed.
The Western Allegheny Railroad was built to transport these extracted minerals to Pittsburgh. The railroad ran the full length of the Muddy Creek Valley and through the Village of Isle, where the PA 528 bridge is today. Abandoned in 1939, the old railroad grade is still visible west of the dam and in the Muddy Creek finger of Lake Arthur.
Much of the park area lost its topsoil and many streams were polluted with abandoned mine drainage. The land remained largely unoccupied.
In 1926 Frank W. Preston of England moved to the town of Meridian and opened a glass research lab. A leader in glass research, Dr. Preston was also an amateur geologist and naturalist. On a trip to the Muddy Creek Valley, he noticed that the hills had a unique shape and attributed it to the glacial periods. Preston studied the land for decades and named many of the landforms after Edmund Watts Arthur, a prominent Pittsburgh attorney and naturalist. With the support of friends, Preston formed the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to purchase land to recreate the glacial landscape and preserve open space. Muddy Creek was dammed to create modern Lake Arthur as a smaller version of glacial Lake Watts.
The former Pennsylvania departments of Forests and Waters, and Mines and Mineral Industries helped to reclaim the abused land. Workers sealed deep mines, back-filled and graded strip mines, plugged 422 gas and oil wells, fertilized the soil, and planted thousands of trees, shrubs, grasses and clovers.
The dam was completed by November of 1968 and in 1970 Lake Arthur reached its full level. Moraine State Park was dedicated on May 23, 1970.
Lake Arthur reminds us that our use of natural resources to meet human needs requires decisions that affect the quality of the environment
The Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey has produced two Trail of Geology Guides for Moraine State Park. The guides explore the glacial and mining history of the park.
Historic Points of Interest
Davis Cabin: Construction began before the American Revolution on this cabin of hand-hewn logs and hand-carved stone. Located behind the Davis Hollow Marina, it was used as a summer home by Mrs. Katherine Davis and her sister Miss Eleanor Holt. A fine example of pioneer construction, there is a safe built within a stone wall, an authentic wagon wheel chandelier and walls made of wormy American chestnut.
Central Power House: An operating central power is tucked in the woods just beyond Muskrat Cove where a stream crosses under the service road. Built at the turn of the century, it contains a Bessemer engine, pumping jacks and other equipment used during the early days of the oil industry. The engine is operated several times a year. A book on the Muddy Creek Oil Field is for sale at the park office. www.3mjc.org
Keep in Touch
Add yourself to the DCNR's online community to receive info on this park, or parks in general.
Like to spend time in the outdoors, meet friendly people and help make Pennsylvania State Parks great? Volunteering at a park might be for you.
Becoming a Conservation Volunteer is easy.
Scouts and organized groups can earn free camping by completing service projects.
Join a Friends Group
The Moraine Preservation Fund (MPF) and the Moraine, McConnells Mill, Jennings Commission (3MJC) are volunteer organizations that support Moraine State Park. These organizations help develop projects like the Butterfly Trail, Osprey and Barn Owl Reintroduction Programs and the historic oil exhibit. MPF has a gift shop and offers interpretive boat tours based out of McDanel’s Boat Launch. Programs on the boat teach about the wildlife of Moraine and the development of Lake Arthur. The pontoon boat operates on a regular schedule throughout the summer. The pontoon boat is open to the public and is also available for charters for a fee. For more information on the MPF call 724-368-9185. For more information on the 3MJC call the park office.
Moraine Preservation Fund www.morainepreservationfund.org
Moraine, McConnells Mill, Jennings Commision www.3mjc.org
Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation
Believing that each generation is responsible for leaving behind a better legacy of good conservation, the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation (PPFF) was created in 1999 to give supporters and users of Pennsylvania's parks and forests a positive way to contribute to the conservation of our publicly-owned properties. The Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation welcomes the support of individuals and businesses who share a commitment to conserving, protecting, and enhancing the natural, scenic, and recreational areas of this commonwealth. www.paparksandforests.org
Make a Donation
To a park - find this park's address below
To a park's friends group - see above
To a park or the Bureau of State Parks - Pennsylvania Parks and Forestry Foundation www.paparksandforests.org
Through a purchase at a park gift shop
Thank you for your support!
We love when young people ask us how to get involved!
DiscoverE has programs for young people ages 4 to 17, provided by Pennsylvania State Park educators. By combining recreation and education, we hope to motivate children to learn more and return often, leading to a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment and conservation leadership.
In Watershed Education, teachers and students assess water quality of a local stream on a quarterly basis and develop strategies to solve local water quality problems.
ECO Camp - Exploring Careers Outdoors - is a week-long residential camp for a cross-section of high school youth from across Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Participate in action-packed, hands on activities and recreational adventures in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests that expose youth to conservation, recreation and careers in natural resources. Learn how people make a living working in the outdoors.
Explore education for more information on these and other programs.
Explore the Calendar of Events to find a program near you.
Do you take conservation personally? iConservePA is a Web site managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources whose vision is to inspire citizens to value their natural resources, engage in conservation practices and experience the outdoors. Take conservation personally.
Come Work with Us
Pennsylvania State Parks and the Department of Conservation and Natrual Resources offer a wide range of civil service and non-civil service jobs, from foresters, to rangers, to engineers, to educators, to botanists and so much more. Learn what is currently available.
Tell us What You Think
Contact this park with compliments, concerns and issues about the park.
Moraine State Park
Information on nearby attractions is available from the Butler County Tourism Promotion Agency. www.visitbutlercounty.com
Washington's Trail: This auto route retraces the approximate path of George Washington’s trip of 1753-1754 from Virginia to Fort LeBoeuf (present day Waterford, Pa). This trip marked the beginning of the French and Indian War. The route is marked by signs and follows routes PA 422 and PA 528 which pass through the park.
Maps and Downloadables
Below are many of the maps and publications for this park. You can read them or download them and might need special software (all free) to view the publications.
You must have the free Adobe Reader to view the maps and brochures that are in pdf format (.pdf).
Alternate versions of the text of the brochures are in rich text and text formats. Click on the files to view them. To download (.rtf) files:
Interactive GIS Map
The Interactive GIS Map uses Geographic Information Systems to create a map that does not need to be downloaded and features driving directions, searchable park amenities and customizable maps. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Moraine State Park Cabin Map (.pdf) (1,263 kb, 12/13)
North Country Trail Mileage Map
North Country Trail Mileage Map(.pdf) (2, 402 kb, 3/12)
Moraine State Park is in northwestern Pennsylvania near the crossroads of I–79 and I–80. It is bisected by PA 422 running east/west and PA 528 running north/south.
To access the South Shore Recreation Area, take the South Shore Exit off PA 422.
To access the North Shore from PA 422 west, take the North Shore Exit.
There is no access to the North Shore from PA 422 headed east from I–79, so take the South Shore Exit, get onto PA 422 West and take the North Shore Exit.
GPS DD: Lat. 40.9395 Long. -80.0971
Driving Directions: The Interactive GIS Map has turn-by-turn driving directions to the park office from the Park Information Window. Please note that the background maps are maintained by a variety of public sources and driving directions usually go to the nearest large road.
Moraine State Park