a short drive north of Cumberland, Maryland
Isnt it great to know there is a peaceful place to enjoy nature while having fun? Home to one of the largest, most pristine outdoor recreational facilities in Pennsylvania, Raystown Lake, is 8,300 acres of nothing but water. The lake is snake like in size and shape, there are 28 miles between the breast of the dam and the southern most launch ramp. Of the 118 miles of shoreline, just 2 miles are developed! The lake was designed with several no wake areas, which is a wonderful way to find the peace for just relaxing or for using non-motorized vessels. Well further describe the developed area, but first
the naturally fun part.
Whether you enjoy fishing, boating, swimming, camping, hiking, biking, hunting, site seeing, canoeing, kayaking or more, nearby Raystown Lake has something for everyone. Raystown is contained by mountains; a beautiful valley is created by the Tussey and Terrace Mountains; to the west, the southern Alleghenies; the east, the Tuscarora Mountain.
Shallow water is really not an issue for general running on the lake, the average depth is 80 feet, and some have graphed depths upwards of 200 feet. For boaters, horsepower and size are not restricted on Raystown; self-contained cabin cruisers and houseboats often serve as vacation homes for boaters.
In July and August surface temps are 75-80 degrees. There are public swimming areas on the lake, and swimming is permitted from boats. Fishermen need to know that Raystown Lake is a 3-tier fishing facility. Since the lake is deep it does stratifya layer of cool water, known as a thermocline, is a comfort zone for bait fish and many species of game fish. The temperatures found below the thermocline are considered cold; this is where the lake trout hang out! Other species include: small and large mouth bass, striped bass, muskie, brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, crappie, walleye, perch, bluegill, sun fish and Atlantic salmon. First time anglers to Raystown Lake may consider spending a few hours with one of the guides to learn tips for fishing in Raystown Lake. For fly fishing enthusiasts, famous Spruce Creek and the Little J are just a few miles from Raystown Lake.
Water Ski Magazine recently named Raystown Lake as a water ski haven. On the Lake, serious skiers find glass! Personal Watercrafts are welcome! A Jet Ski course is available near Tatman Run. A license is required to operate PWCs in PA. For scuba lovers there are interesting views of cliff formations and the structure and patterns of various species of fish. Scuba divers who are certified for deep-water dives may be able to explore some of the history of Raystown lake.
From the southern most point of the lake near Saxton, the developed areas are Heritage Cove Resort including a launch, camping and deluxe cabin rentals. Canoe and kayak enthusiasts will find the Raystown Branch of the Juniata very appealing at this facility. Nine miles north is Lake Raystown Resort, the largest facility on the lake offering a lodge overlooking the lake, cabin rentals, campgrounds, marina, Proud Mary Cruise Boat, and daily rental fleet including houseboat rentals, water park, and restaurants. Just a few miles down lake is Nancys boat to shore camp ground; a unique facility for those who like to hike or boat to their camping destination.
The Seven Points Recreation Area is located at mile marker 8 (28 mile markers are used as navigational directions and are numbered by miles south from the breast of the dam) of the lake. The Raystown Lake Visitor Center is a great first stop for those new to the area. The complex also offers 6 different camp-grounds operated by the US Army Corp of Engineers. Seven Points Marina (PAs largest marina) offers houseboat rentals, a full rental fleet, Princess Lake Cruiser Tour Boat, and a restaurant in addition to the marina operation. The 4-mile Old Loggers Trail offers a challenge to visitors and will soon be expanded to include a 40-mile off road Bike Park. The hillside nature trail, available from the Visitors Center is a short 1/2 mile loop trail designed to attract songbirds. The Seven Points area is also the administrative headquarters of the US Army Corp of Engineers Raystown Lake facility.
A primitive camp-ground, and 7 public boat launches round off the amenities available to our guests. Nature provides some bonus gifts to visitors who experience a view of the nesting American Bald Eagles, river otters and soon, the osprey in addition to the typical wildlife viewing one would expect in this natural setting.
For more information on accommodations on and around Raystown Lake, contact the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau 1-888-RAYSTOWN, or www.raystown.org