Chittenden Reservoir, Vermont, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Vermont - Crossroads of Vermont -

Eight miles northeast of the town of Rutland, Chittenden Reservoir is a hidden gem. The 750-acre reservoir is surrounded by Green Mountain National Forest in the midst of the Crossroads of Vermont region. The reservoir was developed in 1909 by damming East Creek for power generating purposes. Because Central Vermont Public Service owns the lake and two feet above the high water line, and because it lies within the National Forest, there is little lakefront development. Only one resort lodge, perched high above the lake, regularly offers vacation lodgings for visitors. The lodge is open year round for visitors who enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. Only a handful of private cottages are clustered to the west of the dam; the remainder of the shoreline is heavily-wooded and virtually untouched.

Although CVPS owns Chittenden Reservoir, a small area near the dam has been turned over to Vermont Fish and Wildlife Service to serve as a parking area and boat launch site. The parking area serves both Chittenden Reservoir and adjacent Leffert’s Pond. There is no designated swimming area or dock. The access is open year-round for the benefit of ice fishermen. Leffert’s Pond is a small, 49-acre impoundment wholly within the Green Mountain National Forest and is used for fishing, canoeing and kayaking from the shared parking lot. Only 12 feet deep, tiny Leffert’s Pond is centerpiece for a large wetland area, and no motorized boats are permitted. Chittenden Reservoir, however, permits motors up to 15 horsepower, but are limited to a 5 mph restriction. That does not concern avid anglers who arrive at Chittenden with boat and tackle in tow. Species caught include yellow perch, walleye, largemouth bass and sunfish. A second access point is provided for non-motorized craft only at the south end of Leffert’s Pond.

Chittenden Reservoir is extremely popular with nature fans. The seven-mile shoreline with its many coves and small bays is ideal for canoes and kayaks. The lake and surrounding forest land are home to many animals including moose, loons, bald eagles, osprey, beavers, many species of waterfowl, such as black ducks and mergansers, black bear, white-tailed deer, red fox, river otter and many, many more. The area is well-supplied with hiking trails; one trail begins at Leffert’s Pond and extends around Chittenden Reservoir, spanning bubbling brooks and bypassing jungles of woodland ferns to provide spectacular views of the lake between the trees. The area is considered day-use only, so no camping along the trails is permitted. A small rustic camping area is located near Leffert’s Pond. Canoes and kayaks can be rented near the lake.

The entire area around Chittenden Reservoir is the kind of natural paradise the city-dwelling nature lover can only dream about. Within a very few miles of Chittenden Reservoir Rutland City Forest, Calvin Coolidge State Forest, Calvin Coolidge State Park, Pymsbury Wildlife Management Area, Brandon Town Forest and Branbury State Park all preserve natural Green Mountain habitat for the benefit of wildlife and visitors alike. Within these areas hiking and cycling trails abound. The famous Long Trail, which traverses Vermont from Massachusetts to Canada, also runs close by. Built by the Green Mountain Club between 1910 and 1930, Long Trail is the oldest long-distance trail in the United States. Trail usage is not limited to warmer months; many are accessible in winter for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding and winter hiking. Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) maintains an intricate system of snowmobile trails throughout Vermont. Sections of this trail system travel through the Green Mountain National Forest and can be accessed near Chittenden Reservoir. Local snowmobile clubs can help visitors access proper licensing and provide them with trail maps.

Downhill skiers will find the Killington ski area only 25 miles away by car. The resort overlooking the reservoir also offers downhill skiing and sleigh rides. Rutland County produces a number of festivals and special interest events throughout the year, including winter carnivals, craft shows and music festivals. In Hubbardton, located west of Rutland, the only battle of the American Revolution which took place entirely on Vermont soil was fought at Hubbardton Battlefield. A variety of organic farm markets, wineries, golf courses and theatre groups, combined with an eclectic collection of dining establishments and quaint shops, will keep visitors busy whenever they are not plying the quiet waters of Chittenden Reservoir.

Chittenden Reservoir is rare in that there doesn’t appear to have been a dammed pond before the reservoir dam was constructed. Locals say when the reservoir was drained for major dam repair, an old ‘corduroy road’ leading across a small stream could still be seen on the now-dry lakebed. Power is not generated directly from the Chittenden Dam, but rather water travels through a penstock to the East Pittsford Station where power is generated and the water returned to East Creek to be used twice more for generating purposes before ultimately flowing into Otter Creek.

Vacation rentals on Chittenden Reservoir itself are quite rare; the occasional private residence may become available for seasonal rental or sale. Vacancies at the nearby resort, bed-and-breakfasts and inns in the area are often found, many with lovely views of the mountains with Chittenden Reservoir in the distance. Real estate on Chittenden Reservoir is likewise a rare find, although other properties may be found in the area. Such solitude and natural loveliness comes at a price of few lodging choices, unless you are willing to look diligently. Those lucky visitors who have done so certainly guard their precious find with secrecy. Once you visit, you will too. Come and sneak a peek today – you’ll be glad you found it!

Things to do at Chittenden Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Dog Sledding
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • State Forest
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Chittenden Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Chittenden Reservoir Photo Gallery

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Chittenden Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Central Vermont Public Service

Surface Area: 741 acres

Shoreline Length: 7 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,495 feet

Maximum Depth: 40 feet

Water Volume: 17,200 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 16 sq. miles

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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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