Lake Pleasant Conservation Area

Lake Pleasant is an approximate 64-acre natural lake. This conservation area includes most of the lake’s shoreline, as well as wetlands, upland forests, old fields and reclaimed gravel mines.

Forming part of the headwaters of French Creek, Lake Pleasant is considered the finest example of a natural, glacially formed inland lake in Northwest Pennsylvania. The lake is recharged primarily by groundwater traveling through glacial sediments containing large amounts of limestone. This natural filtration helps maintain water quality and provide habitat features for rare and unique plant communities. In fact, the lake and surroundings support at least nine Pennsylvania endangered species.


  • Venango Township, Erie County
  • Green Township, Erie County
  • Waterford Township, Erie County

Dates Acquired

1990 - 2012


Approximately 582 acres

Notable features

Natural lake, wetlands, old fields


Parking Available

Recreational Activities

  • Birding
  • Eating Area / Benches
  • Fishing
  • Hiking (Designated Trail)
  • Hiking (Off-Trail)
  • Hunting
  • Paddling
  • Universal Access / ADA Trail
  • Wildlife Watching

Recreational Activities


Non-motorized boat access is available at a PA Fish and Boat Commission launch located off Lake Pleasant Road. In addition, a universal access trail, boardwalk and canoe/kayak launch* is located along the western shoreline. To avoid spreading invasive species, boats and other gear should be thoroughly cleaned and allowed to completely dry prior to entering the lake.

Wildlife Watching

Wildlife watchers can explore the many habitat types found throughout the Conservation Area. Beavers are abundant at the lake outlet and within numerous small wetlands. Bird observations have included osprey, bald eagle, American bittern, green heron, swamp sparrow, eastern bluebird and veery.

Hunting and Fishing

Both hunting and fishing are permitted in accordance with state regulations, although hunting is not permitted on Sundays. Please exercise caution and wear blaze orange during hunting season.  Trapping is not permitted.


Lake Pleasant Conservation Area is an eBird hotspot! eBird hotspots are the best places for birding around the world. Bufflehead, purple martin and double-crested cormorant are a few of the many species spotted here. is a website and app you can use to: find more birds; keep track of your bird lists, photos, and sounds; explore the latest sightings from around the world; join the world’s largest birding community; and contribute your observations to science and conservation. Visit for more information, directions to hotspots and more.

Plan Your Visit

GPS Coordinates: 42.003923, -79.902495

Directions to the Preserve

Interactive Preserve Map


Located approximately 8 miles south of the City of Erie and I-90. Follow Lake Pleasant Road to the intersection of Valley Road. From there, Valley Road leads to the western side of the lake and WPC’s accessible parking area, boardwalk, dock and canoe/kayak launch (look for the entrance on the left). Lake Pleasant Road continues around the eastern side of the lake and provides access to a PA Fish and Boat Commission parking area and boat launch. Please use caution and watch for traffic along Lake Pleasant Road.

Visitor Tips

Watch this introduction to Lake Pleasant Conservation Area

Paddling the lake is a must, but using the accessible launch along the western shoreline requires transporting your boat down a 700-ft. gravel path. If you’re by yourself, you may want to use a dolly.

Also, be sure to apply sunscreen before heading out on the water and wear a personal flotation device (PFD). Be prepared for your visit by watching this short video about this conservation area and reviewing the downloadable maps and materials below. We recommend downloading these files to your mobile device prior to visiting.

Visitor Guidelines

When visiting Lake Pleasant Conservation Area, please remember:

  • Only non-motorized boats are permitted.
  • To avoid spreading aquatic invasives, thoroughly clean and dry boats and other gear before entering the lake.
  • Vehicles, including ATVs and bicycles, are prohibited.
  • Camping and campfires are prohibited.
  • If you carry it in, carry it out.
  • Dogs must be on a leash or otherwise kept under control at all times.
  • Collecting (animals, plants, rocks, etc.) without WPC permission is prohibited.
  • Review the Guidelines for Public Use of WPC Properties document prior to your visit

WPC is pleased to thank the following supporters for making the universal access trail, boardwalk and canoe/kayak accessibility improvements possible:

  • PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
  • Erie County Greenways Program
  • Northwest Commission Greenways Block Grant Program
  • Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
  • The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation