Bay Tree Lakes, North Carolina, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - North Carolina - Piedmont -

Canals reminiscent of Venice weave through the private community of Bay Tree Lakes in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. The manmade canals connect Bay Tree Lake with Horsepen Lake and ensure that almost every home in the community has direct water access. With the amenities of a luxury gated community and the recreation opportunities of over 1,792 acres of water, the Bay Tree Lakes are a unique Carolina Bays getaway.

The community of Bay Tree Lakes centers around the “bay” lakes, Horsepen Lake and Bay Tree Lake. Scientists aren’t sure what caused the formation of the Carolina Bays; perhaps meteors or icebergs were responsible. Not all of them are filled with water, but they are all almost perfect sand-lined, oval depressions. The bays are a distinctive feature of the Cape Fear area, and the highest predominance of them can be found in Bladen County, North Carolina. Regardless of the cause, 1,418-acre Bay Tree Lake and 310-acres Horsepen Lake are beautiful examples of the Carolina Bays.

With the exception of rainwater, the lakes have no main surface inflow and in 1970, developers closed Bay Tree Lake’s outlet. In 1972, the same developers created a series of canals connecting the lakes and providing backyard access to the water from most lots. The canals are 90 to 120 feet wide with a depth of 20 feet and provide over four miles of interconnected waterways that are navigable for boats. The elevation of the canals is two feet higher than the lakes, so a boat lift provides direct access to Bay Tree and Horsepen Lakes. The lakes have more than enough water for boating, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, jet skiing, tubing and fishing.

Bay Tree Lake and Horsepen Lake, along with all other North Carolina bay lakes over 50 acres, are considered state parks. There is a public access ramp, and anglers can exect to find largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and yellow perch in the lakes. Bay Tree Lake was originally known as Black Lake because of the tannin that stained its water. Developers lowered water levels and tried to remove the tannin, but it eventually returned. As a result, Bay Tree Lake is slightly more alkaline than most bay lakes and is more fertile with better fishing.

Bay Tree Lakes is a gated community with both year round and seasonal residents. There is real estate available for sale including waterfront lots and lakefront vacation rentals. The community has a cabana with tennis and basketball courts, and walking trails provide the perfect place to relax at the end of the day. A beach club and sand beach allows residents and guests access to the water for swimming and sunbathing, and there is a pier for fishing.

Bay Tree Lakes are located in Bladen County, about 45 minutes from Wilmington and an hour and a half from Raleigh. Elizabethtown is a few miles from the lakes. Established in 1773, it is one of the oldest towns in the state, and visitors will enjoy strolling through the historic downtown, shopping in the quaint stores and lunching in one of the town’s restaurants.

Bladen County is also home to the Bladen Lakes State Forest. Covering 32,700 acres, the forest includes areas for hunting as well as designated archery areas. Equestrian trails along with hiking trails and campgrounds can all be found in the state forest, a short drive from Bay Tree Lakes. The Singletary Lake State Park is surrounded by the state forest. Named for Richard Singletary who received a land grant in 1729, the park is 649 acres with a 572-acre natural bay lake. The state park was officially created in 1954. It is ideally suited for group camping, wildlife viewing and recreation.

Truly unique, the Carolina Bays are a striking feature of the Cape Fear area, and Horsepen Lake and Bay Tree Lake are beautiful examples of the sandy-bottomed freshwater lakes. Add the amenities and security of a gated community all with waterfront access, and the Bay Tree Lakes community becomes a spectacular destination for a year round residence or seasonal getaway.

Things to do at Bay Tree Lakes

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • State Forest
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Bay Tree Lakes

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Yellow Perch

Bay Tree Lakes Photo Gallery

Bay Tree Lakes Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Bay Trees POA

Surface Area: 1,418 acres

Shoreline Length: 7 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 76 feet

Average Depth: 7 feet

Maximum Depth: 9 feet

Completion Year: 1970

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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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