Exploring Lake Ontelaunee In Berks County
We had perfect early Spring weather here in Northeastern Pennsylvania on Sunday. I decided to spend it exploring Lake Ontelaunee in Berks County. I have heard it is a good place to observe migrating water fowl . The lake is located about an hour south of my home in Hazle Township Luzerne County. It was sunny with temperatures in the low 40’s when I arrived at the parking area off of the intersection of Shoemakersville and Kindts Corner Roads.
Lake Ontelaunee is a 1082 acre lake built in 1926 and owned by the City of Reading for a source of drinking water. I was here once before, on the northern side, where the Maiden Creek enters the lake. This time I was on the western shore and followed a trail on my All Trails App toward the lake. It was a wide trail lined with tall oak, Norway Spruce and black walnut trees.
The trail continued about a quarter mile when it veered left . The trail was at first lined with large black walnut trees on both sides, than a large stand of white pines grew on the right side of the trail.
Looking at the trail map at home I didn’t realize how large this little peninsula that jutted into the lake was. I was hoping to see the lake from this main trail on the map. I couldn’t see any trails leading to the lake so I decided to walk back to a side trail that lead to the lake. Here is a map of the route I hiked.
I didn’t see any other trails on the map. And there was no access to the shore at this point. So I decided to head back to my car and drive to another part of the lake . There were not many signs of Spring on the trail. The only plants growing where clumps of wild garlic or onion grass and
Nearing the lake, I proceeded quietly. I tried to sneak up on another large flock of ducks. However, stepping on one branch and the noise it made, and they were off again. Some stayed close enough to see and photograph. They were also ring necked ducks.
It’s former occupant was probably a meal for one of the many ring-billed gulls I saw flying over the water of the lake. Well I think they are ring-necked gulls and if so these gulls migrate to freshwaters in the interior of the continent in the Spring.
It led me back to the first trail I too. I decided to explore a little more and found a path along the other side of the grove of white pines I saw earlier. This wide open path, I learned was one of many fire trail on this peninsula. I followed it and it eventually led me to the shore of the lake.
By the time I got to the water the only ducks I saw were in the middle or on the far side of the lake. I did hear and see a few kingfishers that chattered as they swiftly flew along the shore. And there was a small flock of the ring-billed gulls swimming on the lake.
I continued on the trail and I saw the first person on my five mile hike, who said he didn’t see any other people either. We chatted a bit and I hiked back to my car under the warm March sun. Now that I know a little more about the trail and the lake from my exploration I am looking forward to returning again. Here is a link to some more photographs on my morning hike exploring Lake Ontelaunee on Sunday. Berks County Lake Ontelaunee hike March 21 2021
“A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” -Henry David Thoreau