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Boating at Gifford Pinchot State Park

Electric motors only; slow, no-wake speed

The 340-acre Pinchot Lake has three launch areas -- available 24 hours-a-day.

There are 286 shoreline mooring and canoe rack spaces that may be rented from April 1 to October 1.

Mooring areas include a number of larger spaces designed to accommodate day sailors and catamarans, while rack spaces accommodate canoes, kayaks, and small sailboats.

Boat Registration

Motorboats must display a current boat registration.

Non-powered boats must display one of the following:

  • Boat registration
  • Launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania state parks -- available at most state park offices
  • Launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Boat Rental

The boating concession -- temporarily located in the Conewago Day Use Area -- offers rentals by the hour, day, overnight, or for the week. Types of boats include:

  • Canoes
  • One and two-person kayaks
  • Paddleboats
  • Row boats

Electric motors are available for rent.

Weather permitting, the concession is open daily -- from Memorial Day to Labor Day -- and is open weekends, beginning mid-May and after Labor Day to mid-October.


Iceboating is permitted on the natural ice of the lake.

Ice boats must display a current state park launch permit.

Ice thickness is not monitored.

Be Safe on the Ice

  • Test ice thickness with an auger before recreating. Four inches of solid ice is the minimum recommended thickness for a single person. Seven inches of solid ice is the minimum recommended thickness for small group. Ice should be six inches thick for iceboating.
  • Always carry safety equipment and know how to use it.
  • Spread out. Crowds can put too much weight onto one area.
  • Be aware of changes in ice thickness across a body of water. Perimeter ice is weaker due to shifting, expansion and sunlight reflecting off of the bottom.
  • Avoid areas with protruding logs, brush, plants, and docks. These structures absorb heat, weakening the surrounding ice.
  • Avoid areas with multiple or intersecting cracks, and standing water over ice.
  • Venturing out on ice alone is not advisable. Take a friend along for fun and for safety.
  • Wear a PFD (life jacket).
  • Check the weather and plan accordingly. Several days with temperatures above freezing will weaken the ice.