Electric Lake, Utah, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Utah - Castle Country - Panoramaland -

Also known as:  Electric Reservoir

Electric Lake lies like a high-altitude jewel amid one of Utah’s most spectacular recreational playgrounds. Bordering both the Panoramaland and Castle Country tourism regions, the reservoir was created in 1974 when a dam was constructed to collect the waters of Upper Huntington Creek, Boulger Creek, Coal Creek and a number of seasonal streams. The water serves irrigation needs, provides cooling water for a Rocky Mountain Power generating plant, and loads of water-based recreation in the Manti-La Sal National Forest. The steep-banked reservoir is deeper than many in the area, with depths to 217 feet found within its 425 acres. It is one of the few lakes in the area that allows waterskiing, but only to those who don’t mind cold water. Located at 8,575 feet in elevation, Electric Lake has only 40 to 60 frost-free days each summer, leaving the water quite chilly year round. That same feature makes it excellent for trout fishing, and anglers appear here frequently to try their luck.

There is no private property along the shoreline of Electric lake, but access is easy. All-season Utah Highway 31, the Skyline Highway, passes along the shoreline for over three miles at the south end, and Utah 264 skirts the shoreline at the north for several miles. Both highways are regularly plowed in winter, although heavy snow may make the trip difficult. A concrete boat ramp off U-264 allows for boat launching, although there are no marinas or guest facilities.

Several dispersed campsites are marked by the US Forest Service, and visitors who obtain the appropriate Access Pass are allowed to camp in the rugged surroundings of Electric Lake. Two organized Forest Service campgrounds are located near the lake and allow camping on a fee basis. The area is open year-round and popular for cross-county skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in winter. The terrain around Electric Lake varies from forested areas with pine aspen, oak, maple and spruce-fir to sagebrush and pinyon, making an autumn trek both colorful and refreshingly cool. The lake is not heavily visited, so a hike takes on the air of wilderness, replete with a scenic lake surrounded by distant peaks.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources manages Electric Lake as a catch-and-release fishery. Cutthroat trout fingerlings are planted regularly, although some fishermen report tiger trout also present. There are few native fish in the waters. The long, narrow reservoir with many arms is a great place to explore with canoe or kayak or to reach some of the more remote campsites via paddling. All appropriate fishing regulations must be followed, including possession of a Utah fishing license.

Few visitors to Electric Lake realize that a coal-mining and coke-smelting ghost town lies beneath its waters. The tiny town of Connellsville only existed from 1874-1878, an off-shoot of the first commercial coal mining operation on the Wasatch Plateau. When the reservoir was constructed, only a few ruins of cabins and coke-smelters still remained. An archeological excavation performed by Utah Power and Light (now Rocky Mountain Power) resulted in one of the remaining coke-smelting ovens being dismantled and rebuilt overlooking the reservoir where it can stands today as a monument to those long-ago miners.

Because there are no facilities for lodgings at Electric Lake, visiting here is usually part of a vacation to Utah’s Castle Country or Lake Canyon Recreation Area, both nearby. Lake Canyon Recreation Area is popular with ORV (Off-Road Vehicle) enthusiasts and contains miles of trails for enjoying the sport. The designated recreation area is located between Huntington and Cleveland Reservoirs, south of Electric Lake.

An even larger area of interest is the entire region called ‘Castle Country’ by Utah visitor guidebooks. This area spans thousands of acres just outside of the Manti-La Sal National Forest, with Price City as the unofficial headquarters of a geologic adventure. The ‘castles’ are the exotically-eroded rock formations of the San Raphael Swell, an expanse of stunningly-beautiful spires above narrow, deep canyons created by eons of wind and water. The area is rich in fossil deposits, including the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry. Here is found the largest known deposit of dinosaur fossils, with guided tours to see some of them still in place. The Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum in Price offers an excellent museum focusing on archaeology and the fossilized treasures found in eastern Utah. The collections and exhibits will enthrall young and old alike.

The rugged canyons and maze of trails within the ancient reef of the San Rafael Swell offer miles of hiking opportunities and legends of robbers and outlaws, miners and early pioneers. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid pulled off some of their most daring robberies in the area, hiding out in these canyons. Mining towns grew and fell to ruins, leaving ghost towns and numerous small town museums detailing particularly interesting historical events in the area. Several state parks, including Huntington State Park, Scofield State Park and Goblin Valley State Park offer camping facilities. These are joined by several private campgrounds, RV parks, guest cabins and guest ranches in the area. Both Price City and the City of Huntington provide other forms of lodgings such as hotels and motels. Bed-and breakfasts can be found, along with antique shopping and artisan shops. There is plenty here near Electric Lake to keep the entire family happy and wishing they could stay for more than a week or two.

Real estate can be found outside of the national forest and protected areas. Both existing homes and cabins are available as well as vacant building lots and acreage for ranching or roaming. What better place to put down roots than this, where the scenery always changes but is ever spectacular? Where mountain lakes and reservoirs vie with desert landscapes and rugged canyonlands? And where thousands of pristine acres of public lands await the hiking boots, fly rod and kayak? Come visit Electric Lake and Castle Country; you may never want to leave.

Things to do at Electric Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • National Forest
  • Museum
  • Ruins
  • Playground
  • Antiquing
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Electric Lake

  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Tiger Trout
  • Trout

Electric Lake Photo Gallery

Electric Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp

Surface Area: 425 acres

Shoreline Length: 11 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 8,575 feet

Average Depth: 84 feet

Maximum Depth: 217 feet

Water Volume: 35,500 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1974

Water Residence Time: 1.8 years

Drainage Area: 30 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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