Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - Maryland - Western -

Deep Creek Lake is the largest inland body of water in Maryland, covering about 3,900 acres in the Allegheny Mountains of western Maryland. Since its creation in the 1920s, the reservoir has grown into a four-season recreation destination with boating, water sports, swimming, fishing, hiking and whitewater rafting in summer; snow skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, dog sledding, ice skating and ice fishing in winter.

In 1925 the Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec) built a dam on the Youghiogheny River for a hydroelectric project. By 1929, the lake filled to capacity and performed its purpose of small-scale electric generation. Today, the State of Maryland owns the lake bed and buffer zone properties around the lake; Brookfield Renewable Power Company owns and operates the dam, tunnel and power plant. Over the decades since its creation, Deep Creek Lake slowly evolved into a major tourist destination.

Visitors spend much of their time at Deep Creek Lake State Park, which hosts classic activities such as campfires, cultural talks, and guided hikes of the area. The park’s Discovery Center features please-touch exhibits that educate visitors both young and old on local flora, fauna, history, culture, and the lake’s habitat. If camping is your pleasure, the park offers over 100 campsites, all with access to hot showers and some with electric hookups and dump stations for self-contained units. Two mini-camper cabins and a rustic Yurt are also available for rental. The park operates a boat launch ramp, swimming area with sandy beach, and waterfront picnicking facilities.

Deep Creek Lake is a land of outdoor activity, and hiking is a favorite. Walk through history, walking the same paths as Native American hunters and drinking in the same sights as early settlers. Investigate the historic Brant Coal Mine and homestead, which operated for three years between 1923 and 1926. As you meander over the park’s trails, lost in the past, come back to the present every once in awhile to catch glimpses of the park’s vast wildlife, especially the awe-inspiring red-tailed hawk and great horned owl. Squirrels, chipmunks, raccoon, skunk, and opossum are frequent forest inhabitants; black bear, wild turkey, and bobcats are an exciting, but not-as-common sighting.

Trails range from easy to difficult with distances ranging from 0.2 miles to 5.5 miles, so whatever your hiking abilities and time constraints, there is a trail for you. Take your camera along, as several trails will provide you with amazing photo ops and great wildlife shots, as well as beautiful lake vistas. In the winter, many local trails convert to snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobile trails, so you’ll find your day occupied no matter what the weather. Autumn leaf-peeping is spectacular.

Deep Creek Lake is a great place to drop in your fishing line. Smallmouth bass are the most common fish species, but are joined by bluegill, chain pickerel, largemouth bass, northern pike, pumpkinseed sunfish, walleye, and yellow perch. In fact, the current Maryland records for bluegill (3 lbs 7 oz) and northern pike (24 lbs 12 oz) were caught at Deep Creek Lake.

Getting out onto the lake should be a priority, and the best way to do so is in a boat. Renting a motorboat, canoe or kayak will open up your exploration opportunities, and give you a look at Deep Creek Lake from the inside out. Take a slow, quiet ride in your canoe along the lake’s shores, stopping to watch a deer drink from the reservoir. Drink in the tranquility around you, appreciating how the area was before development. Or pick up the pace by speedboat, exploring the lake in a day, investigating your favorite coves. And when the warm sun has gotten a little too strong, drop anchor and dive into the cool, inviting Deep Creek Lake waters.

The largest Maryland reservoir has much to offer, from summer waterskiing and hiking to winter snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. An outdoor paradise in the middle of the Maryland mountains, a vacation here is custom-made just the way you like it.

Things to do at Deep Creek Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Dog Sledding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park

Fish species found at Deep Creek Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Deep Creek Lake Photo Gallery

Deep Creek Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Brookfield Renewable Power Company

Surface Area: 3,900 acres

Shoreline Length: 65 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,461 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 2,454 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 2,462 feet

Average Depth: 25 feet

Maximum Depth: 75 feet

Water Volume: 106,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1925

Water Residence Time: 300 days

Lake Area-Population: 3,845

Drainage Area: 65 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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