Lake Nockamixen State Park, Pennsylvania
|Lake Nockamixen is definitely a boating lake with a
favorable lean towards sailors, paddlers, and anglers. There is no
swimming permitted in the lake. Motors on the lake are limited to 10 HP
or less. The result of these regulations is a large peaceful lake. The
waters of Lake Nockamixen cover 1450 acres making it considerably larger
than the more northerly Beltzville Lake. Beltzville’s waters cover 949
acres. Great Blue Heron are a common site on the shores of Nockamixen.
Because Beltzville and Nockamixen are the two largest lakes in their
immediate area, this article includes some comparisons between the two
lakes. Go to Beltzville for more complete
information on that lake.
The park itself covers 5283 acres and supports a variety of recreational activities. In addition to the lake, the park includes picnicking, a 2.8 mile bicycle trail and 20 miles of equestrian trails. Biking off-road is not permitted. There is a half acre pool for swimming. Picnic areas are provided. About 3000 acres of the park are open to hunting. There are 10 family cabins available for rental. The Weisel Youth Hostel provides overnight accommodations for hikers and bicyclists. Winter activities include ice skating and ice fishing, sledding, and cross country skiing. The 2010 acres of state game lands 157 is at the northeast border of the park.
The lake has four different access points for boaters. The most formal of these is at the Marina. The Marina is located at a lovely spot looking out over the center of the lake. A limited number of boat slips are available but there is a long waiting list. In addition to the Marina, boat access is provided at Haycock by the northeast portion of the lake; at Tohickon between the Marina and the Haycock access points, and at Three Mile Run on the southwest portion of the lake.
The bicycle trial is shared with pedestrians. The trail is separate from the roadway but does have road crossings. If you are cycling with children, be sure that they watch for these and know to stop and look before crossing.
Lake Nockamixen has a feel quite different than the more northerly Beltzville Lake. The northern access to Beltzville Lake is a hustle and bustle of activity. At Beltzville, there is a swimming area in the lake, a concession stand, a children's play area, and a picnic area all with a clear view of the lake. Water skiers zip back and forth on the shore opposite from these activities. Boats with large motors abound. It is only in the more easterly portion of the lake that the no wake zone takes effect. By sharp contrast, Lake Nockamixen is not so often readily visible from the surrounding terrain. Picnic areas are scattered with adequate but relatively small parking areas associated with particular clusters of picnic facilities. The lake activity is quiet and calm with sailboats dotting the lake, paddlers moving quietly through the water, and anglers meandering along with small motors to a favorite fishing spot. Both lakes have beautiful settings. If you desire more hustle and bustle, go to Beltzville. If a peaceful, picturesque, and more individual experience is your taste, go to Lake Nockamixen. (Click to enlarge the thumbnail)
Wheelchair accessible picnic tables and parking spaces are available throughout the park and are so designated. All restrooms are handicap accessible. An accessible fishing pier is provided adjacent to the Marina. If more information is needed, contact either the park office number provided below or call the Text telephone (TT) at 1-888-537-7294. The Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks advises of their willingness to help.
Lake Nockamixen is five miles east of Quakertown , Pennsylvania and can be reached from exit 32 of the Northeast extension of the Pennsylvania turnpike. From exit 32, take route 313 heading east. You will cross route 309. Follow the signs for route 313. Take a left turn onto PA 563 (heading east) to access the north side of the lake. PA route 563 provides access to the Marina, the Tohickon boat access , and the Haycock boat access. Instead of taking a left onto PA 563, for access to the southern side of the lake, continue on route 313 to Three Mile Run road. A left turn (east) onto Three Mile Run Road will take you to the fourth boat access point, Three Mile Run. Ridge Road roughly parallels the southern side of the lake.
Nockamixen State Park officially opened in 1973.During its development, it was initially called Tohickon State Park, but was renamed prior to opening. Nockamixen is derived from "ocha-miska-ing", a Lenni Lenape Indian phrase meaning "at the place of soft soil". There are some documented tribal sites within the park.
Lake Nockamixen has a challenge of high levels of nutrients entering the lake. This encourages the growth of algae. Work on water quality and reducing the levels of incoming nutrients have resulted in visible improvements to the lake water quality in recent years. Based on personal experience last year, a visitor wouldn't know that this had been a concern. Volunteers and local school groups assist the pro's with water quality monitoring. This can be a great way to help your children become more attuned to environmental issues. For more information, contact the park environmental education specialist at the park office.
For more information, call the park telephone at the Marina Office between April 1 and Labor Day. The number is 215-529-7308.
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