Crystal Lake, Vermont, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Vermont - Northeast Kingdom -

Crystal Lake is an outstanding jewel in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. For those who are not native to Vermont, hearing that there is a Northeast Kingdom in the state is a surprise. Located in the northeast corner of the state near New Hampshire and the Canadian border, Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is a vacation wonderland. Crystal Lake was originally called Belle Lac or Belle Pond by early French settlers, which is a very descriptive term for its sparkling clear water.

Crystal Lake is a 778-acre glacial lake located near the Town of Barton, just a few miles from Interstate 91. The Crystal Lake area was settled sooner than many parts farther west in the state, and industry began in Barton before 1800. Although Crystal Lake has several small inflows, the main outflow-the Barton River-heads down into Barton in a series of beautiful waterfalls that were utilized very early to drive the belts and gears of industry. At one time, Barton was a thriving industrial center, with several mills, clothing factories, a piano parts factory and other heavy industry all powered by the Barton River and the Falls of Crystal Lake.

Crystal Lake is about 3 miles long and a mile wide. The original dam, built in 1860, acted as water storage for down-river hydro power purposes. Now, the dam acts only as an unregulated spillway, the use of waterfall power downstream a distant memory. The clear, deep lake has been home to summer visitors for well over a century. The sand beaches and lovely scenery made the lake a favored vacation spot to generations of visitors. Crystal Lake is surrounded with small cottages and homes. Hardy souls arrive for the winter sports season, which includes ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ice sailing, ice climbing, ice skating, sled dog tours, and sleigh rides. In the early spring, maple sugaring activities can be observed, and there is always a jug of Vermont’s finest maple syrup for sale nearby. Fall brings the majestic color parade of leaves as the hills and mountains become a sea of gold, red and orange.

But, it is summer when Crystal Lake really shines. The sandy beaches make swimming a joy. The lake is large enough to afford plenty of room for boating, sailing, water skiing, jet skiing, windsurfing, canoeing, scuba diving and kayaking. Hiking and bicycling trails are numerous in the surrounding area. Wildlife and bird watching are popular pastimes. Ospreys and Bald Eagles are often observed around the lake. Horseback riding, hayrides, rock climbing and golf assure that every member of the family can find something of interest to do.

Two parks on Crystal Lake provide access for the day visitor. Crystal Lake State Park provides over a mile of sandy beach and boasts a bath house of local granite that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Pageant Park also provides swimming and a boat launch. The cold water fishery is a fisherman’s dream, providing rainbow trout, yellow perch, lake trout, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, and pumpkinseed. Several campgrounds are located convenient to the lake.

For those occasional rainy days, a visit to the museums of Barton and the surrounding area is a change-of-pace treat. The Old Stone House Museum, six miles downstream in Orleans, is a 55-acre complex with restored buildings and a historical walk back in time to the early 1800s. An interesting historical perspective is presented by the Crystal Lake Historical Society in Barton, who offers a walking tour through the ruins of the once bustling industrial complex along the river. The power of hydro is on exhibit here as the force that allowed the development of industry in the Northeast well before the common use of electricity.

Barton also provides all the necessities to make either camping or cottage dwelling comfortable and convenient. Whether you prefer a quick sandwich or a candlelit dinner in an old country inn, Barton and the surrounding area offer a wide range of restaurant choices. And, as nights can get cool this far north, going back to a roaring campfire or fireplace can be a fitting end to a fun-filled day. Come to Crystal Lake and see for yourself. You’ll love it here.

Things to do at Crystal Lake VT

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Rock Climbing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Ruins

Fish species found at Crystal Lake VT

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Lake Trout
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Yellow Perch

Crystal Lake VT Photo Gallery

  • Double Rainbow at Crystal Lake

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Crystal Lake VT Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife

Surface Area: 778 acres

Shoreline Length: 5 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 945 feet

Average Depth: 71 feet

Maximum Depth: 115 feet

Drainage Area: 23 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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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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