Amherst Lake, Vermont, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Vermont - Eastern Vermont Gateways -

Also known as:  Lake Amherst, Plymouth Pond

One of four scenic lakes alongside Route 100, Amherst Lake is a picturesque spot to enjoy a vacation. Every traveler along the main route through the Eastern Vermont Gateway region has likely marveled at the sight of the pristine lake directly east of the highway. It’s a sight skiers on their way to the Killington/Pico ski areas north of Plymouth have seen time and again, yet it never fails to delight the eye. Of late, Lake Amherst has become more of a destination in its own right as vacationers seek out a quiet Vermont getaway. Amherst Lake fills the bill nicely.

Located only five miles from Okemo Mountain and less than 15 miles from Killington/Pico, the area around Amherst Lake is filled with outdoor winter activities. Besides downhill and cross-country skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling, nearby Ludlow holds a winter carnival and several festivals to break winter’s monotony. After an excellent winter experience, visitors vow to come back during the summer to take a fresh look at the lovely green scenery. They are not disappointed, even late in the year when the trees turn to red and gold.

Amherst Lake offers swimming, boating and fishing against a backdrop of some of Vermont’s most beautiful hills. A no-motors lake, Amherst Lake is great for sailing, rowing, paddle-boats, canoeing and kayaking. The lake’s north-south orientation creates surprisingly brisk winds at times, much to the delight of sailors and windsurfers. Although there are many cottages along the shore, the wooded landscape makes it easy to believe you are alone with the wilderness. A small marina along the north shore rents canoes and kayaks and provides fishing bait. The State of Vermont Fish and Wildlife maintains a boat launch site and fishing docks as access for non-residents.

A natural pond on the Black River, Amherst Lake’s depth belies its small size. Only 80 acres, the lake reaches a depth of 90 feet and supports both cold water and warm water fish. Brook trout, lake trout, perch, pickerel, pan fish, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass are caught here. As part of its trout-stocking program, Fish and Wildlife sometimes stocks two-year-old trout up to 18 inches long in Amherst Lake, creating an influx of anglers hoping for a big trout.

Off the water, a variety of warm-weather activities are available to visitors. Nearby Ludlow holds many small shops and craftsman galleries. A wealth of preserved forest land in the area provides ideal opportunities for hiking, cycling and nature observation. There are many opportunities to enjoy nature within a 20-mile radius of the lake, including Coolidge State Forest, Coolidge State Park, Okemo State Forest, Green Mountain National Forest, along with many acres of conservation-protected land. Summer near Killington/Pico offers gondola rides and an alpine water slide.

The Plymouth Folk and Blues Festival occurs each summer near Plymouth. In nearby Plymouth Notch, the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site contains several restored historic buildings and mementos of the United State’s 30th President. President Coolidge grew up and married here. While on a visit to his family, then-Vice-President Coolidge received word that President Warren Harding had died unexpectedly and was sworn into office here by his father – a notary public.

Amherst Lake is one of two natural lakes formed along the Black River in Windsor County. Little is said about the lake in local histories, but the Gazetteer and Business Directory of Windsor County, VT, compiled by Hamilton Child in 1883-84 talks of the two beautiful ponds, each about a mile long, south of Plymouth and north of Ludlow. He calls them the Plymouth Ponds. The Black River has ground out a deep channel in the limestone over millennia, leaving towering cliffs and high banks along portions of the lake. At some point a small dam was constructed across the Black River where it outlets to Echo Lake, but history doesn’t tell us who built it or why. A great many dams were built in the area both for flood control and for industrial hydropower. At one point in the late 1800s, gold was discovered near here, creating a short-lived miniature gold rush.

Neighboring Echo Lake holds a state park with swimming, day use, playground, campsites, fishing docks and boat launch. This popular state park was first a girls’ summer camp, then a Boy Scout Camp for nearly 60 years before being transferred to the state of Vermont for Echo Lake State Park. Unfortunately, the dam prevents boating between the two lakes, but it’s only a short drive down Scout Camp Road.

Vacation rentals are often found on Amherst Lake. Most are private, self-catering cottages and homes, but several country inns and bed-and-breakfasts are found in the surrounding area. Several motels are available in Plymouth just four miles away. Ludlow has a full complement of vacation rental opportunities, particularly close to Okemo Mountain. Real estate can sometimes be found along the shore on Amherst Lake. The options for an active vacation at Amherst Lake are limited only by your energy. And a campfire along the shore at the end of the day will bring peaceful closure to yet another great day. Come enjoy scenic Amherst Lake – it will quickly become your favorite!

Things to do at Amherst Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • State Forest
  • National Forest
  • Playground

Fish species found at Amherst Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brook Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout

Amherst Lake Photo Gallery

    Amherst Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Surface Area: 81 acres

    Shoreline Length: 2 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,057 feet

    Average Depth: 60 feet

    Maximum Depth: 90 feet

    Water Volume: 4,860 acre-feet

    Drainage Area: 19 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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