Prettyboy Reservoir in Maryland

by  c2g

A self-supported trip created by c2g

Trip Overview

Prettyboy Reservoir is located in a rural area of Maryland northwest of Baltimore just south of the Pennsylvania state line. Most of the use is by weekend fishermen. Only electric motors are allowed, and the reservoir is well away from any cities or highways, so it is pretty quiet. The water is lined by a mixture of conifers and deciduous trees. One of the things that makes the reservoir appealing is that there is no single large, open body of water. It does run in a general north-south direction, but there are several branches running off in various directions that are worth exploring.

The only drawback to boating here is that an annual permit is required, and canoes must meet minimum size requirements (currently 12-18' long and at least 35" wide). Permit holders are only supposed to use their canoes at this reservoir and at Liberty Reservoir, which is controlled by the same authority, to prevent zebra mussel infestations. Current regulations also prohibit fishing from kayaks.


Day use only. Port-a-potty located at the launch area; no other facilities. Boats may be locked to a cable at the reservoir if you want to leave them there.


$50 annual permit. For more information, call (410) 795-6150. Permits are issued by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works, and are only available by mail.


From Baltimore, take I-83 north to exit 27 (route 137). Turn left off of the exit. Stay on 137 until you reach Prettyboy Dam road. Follow this road across the dam and up the east side of the reservoir. The name of the road will change to Spooks Hill road. The only launch area is off of Spooks Hill road about 3/4 up the east side of the reservoir.


Boat ramp is located on the west side of Spooks Hill Road.
This is the only place you are supposed to launch from.

Trip Details

  • Sport/Activity: Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Advanced
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location