Taking boat tours is one of my favorite ways to explore the large waterways in PA, so when I learned that you could take boat tours of Lake Wallenpaupack in the Poconos, I was excited to check it out.
Wallenpaupack Scenic Boat Tours and Rentals is the only tour boat operator on the second-largest lake entirely within Pennsylvania and offers tours daily during the summer months (and on weekends in the spring and fall). Sadly, fans of The Office TV show will be disappointed to hear that this isn’t a booze cruise, but it’s still a ton of fun. (The Office’s season 2 episode “Booze Cruise” was set on Lake Wallenpaupack, though not filmed there.)
Lake Wallenpaupack was created for hydroelectric purposes and was completed in 1926. The lake dams the Wallenpaupack Creek and is 13 miles long and features 52 miles of shoreline.
This Lake Wallenpaupack boat tour leaves from Hawley on the northeastern end of the lake and explores several miles of shoreline along this portion of the lake.
When I showed up for my cruise, I checked in at the East Shore Lodging building in The Shops at Grisham’s Landing directly along Route 6. Once I checked in, I was told to walk across the street towards the lake, and take the path down to the shoreline.
This path isn’t difficult, but those that have trouble with hills or slightly uneven terrain might struggle to get down to the boat (especially when water levels are low in the late summer). This also means that this boat tour is not handicapped accessible.
The boat itself is docked on a floating and movable dock along the shoreline, along with a handful of other watercraft.
Unlike most of the other boat tours I’ve done in PA, the Wallenpaupack Scenic Boat Tours aren’t done on a large boat. Instead, these are done on a specially designed pontoon boat that has seating for roughly 20 people.
These seats are moveable resin chairs that are lined to make a ring around the boat. On the plus side, this means that there is ample leg room. However, since you are setting with your back to the side of the boat, it does make seeing the scenery a bit more difficult.
Because of this, I would recommend, if possible, sitting either at the very front or back of the boat. Sitting on the side opposite the pilot will also make hearing the narration a bit easier.
Once the boat is full, it embarks on its approximately 50-minute cruise around Lake Wallenpaupack. The boat heads towards the lake’s dam, past Shuman Point Natural Area, and then down to just north of Epply Island, before crossing to the other side of the lake and returning to the dock.
Along the way, the boat makes approximately seven to eight stops at various points of interest.
When the boat is stopped, the boat’s pilot also becomes the narrator offering interesting tidbits about the lake’s history, what you can see along its shoreline, and the ecology of the area. I found these talks to be interesting and given the small size of the boat and the lack of a second crew member, the decision to not provide constant narration made sense.
As we cruised, I was impressed with the overall beauty of the lake and really enjoyed learning more about this area. The lack of constant narration allowed me to sit back and simply enjoy being out on the lake without having to pay attention to what was being said.
Overall, while the experience here isn’t quite as polished as some of the larger boat tours I’ve done in PA, cruising on a smaller boat made the experience feel more intimate and like I was out on the lake with friends.
Because of this, I definitely recommend taking this boat tour of Lake Wallenpaupack the next time you find yourself exploring the northeastern corner of PA.
Wallenpaupack Scenic Boat Tours
Hours: Open early May – October
Cost: Adults: $19, Children: $14
Address: 2487 US-6