Goshorn Lake, Michigan, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Michigan - Southwest -

An undiscovered gem among Michigan lakes is Goshorn Lake. This tiny 26-acre lake lies nestled behind the dunes in Michigan’s Southwestern Tourism Region between Saugatuck and Holland. Conveniently, Goshorn Lake is located at the end of 65th Street in Saugatuck, adjacent the Blue Star Highway. The private lake jealously guards its beautiful sandy beaches, its excellent sand-bottomed swimming areas and the view of the dunes beginning at the west end of the lake. Goshorn Lake is all about quiet sunsets, fishing with the kids or a campfire near the beach. Private homes and vacation rentals hide among the many trees lining the shore. Half a mile away, mighty Lake Michigan casts its breakers against the beach and adds to the ever-shifting sand dunes. Here everything is quiet. The mute swans do nothing to break the stillness.

Far back in history, a small creek winding across the area was blocked by blowing sand for a time, forming the lake. Core sampling performed by nearby Hope College shows wood over 5000 years old lying in the bottom sediment. The creek and springs provide the water to keep Goshorn Lake alive. The lake has been settled since at least 1838, when an early settler built a small dam across the outlet creek to operate a mill. As Goshorn Creek isn’t large enough to float logs, the mill was soon abandoned in favor of better waterways to transport the products of the booming lumber industry. Goshorn Creek was left to meander crookedly downstream to empty into the Kalamazoo River. At one point in its early history, a floating bridge crossed the narrows of the lake as road building on the unstable dune sand was too difficult. Both the dam and the floating bridge are long gone. What has survived are families that treasure their cottages and permanent homes along the shore. For generations of families, going to the lake has meant a summer cottage at Goshorn Lake, either their own or one rented for the annual vacation. Many families return year after year.

Goshorn Lake is designated a ‘no-wake’ lake, with no high-powered boat motors allowed. The slow speed boating limit protects both the fragile shore habitat and the many swimmers who often swim across the lake from point to point. The Goshorn Lake Property Owners Association monitors both lake ecology and boating speed limits. Fishermen find the hot spots easy to access without large motors and catch bass, crappie, walleye and pan fish regularly. It’s the perfect lake to teach bobber-watching patience to youngsters and experienced anglers enjoy using their skill to outwit the wily game fish in the lake. The kayak fan or canoeist will find the peaceful one-mile shoreline a delight to paddle in the early mornings in search of wildlife and birds.

Less than a mile from Goshorn Lake, Lake Michigan beckons the explorer. The famed Saugatuck Dune Rides amusement has it’s entrance off 65th Street just south of the lake. A bit north, Saugatuck Dunes State Park Day Use Area holds title to two-and-a-half miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and dunes up to 200 feet high. Hiking trails through the area provide plentiful opportunities to explore the delicate dunes’ ecology. In winter, the trails are available for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Adjacent the Saugatuck Dunes State Park, the Felt Estate Mansion is available for tours and culinary events. The 17,000-square foot home was built in 1928 by self-made millionaire Door Felt, inventor of an early adding machine and office equipment. Mr. Felt purchased several hundred acres of Lake Michigan shoreline in 1919 with the idea of building a summer home for his family, including children, grandchildren and spouses. The Great Depression unfortunately destroyed many fortunes, among them that of the Felts. The magnificent mansion and grounds are being restored. Dinner concerts are held in the third-floor ballroom. The mansion and grounds are less than two miles from Goshorn Lake.

Other natural areas in the vicinity of Goshorn Lake are properties under the protection of the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance. The Alliance works to provide habitat for many species of birds, amphibians and plants. Of particular interest to the naturalist are the Interdunal Wetlands or Wetpannes – a globally rare ecological feature. The mixed dunes and wooded areas provide habitat for a wide variety of resident and migrating birds, and protection for several threatened amphibians and plants. The alliance works to protect historic features, including Singapore, the lumber mill-port village (1837) buried by the dunes, the Old Lighthouse on the Old Harbor (destroyed by tornado in 1956) and the the Saugatuck Chain Ferry; America’s only remaining hand-cranked chain ferry.

The short drive south on 65th Street from Goshorn Lake brings the visitor into the renowned resort town of Saugatuck. Often called the Art Coast of Michigan, the towns of Saugatuck and Douglas, immediately to the south, have been a favored artist’s holiday spot for many years. With artists and tourists both present in abundance, there are myriad opportunities for specialty shopping, galleries and the performance arts. From the publicly-funded Saugatuck Center For The Arts to the many private galleries and craft studios, every type of art is available here. The Waterfront Film Festival rates immediately after Cannes and Sundance in importance. Saugatuck is also a favorite in winter for finding the perfect unusual holiday gift while the visitor attends the many holiday festivities, including carriage rides and musical performances. Also immensely popular is the famed Oval Beach on Lake Michigan. Charter fishing arrangements are available from several local captains. The Saugatuck Douglas Historical Society provides tours of several historic buildings, including the oldest multi-room schoolhouse in the Midwest. Yachting aficionados often sail to the Saugatuck harbor, then rent an inland cottage for a few days. The city takes pride in its reputation for tolerance, with some resorts catering especially to GLBT guests.

Goshorn Lake is only a two-and-a-half hour drive from Chicago. The wise visitor will travel at least part of the trip along the Blue Star Highway, which runs along the Lake Michigan bluffs. Many wineries and fruit producers have outlets along the highway. Detroit is only three hours away, making Goshorn Lake easy to get to for a weekend or longer. Holland is less than 10 miles north of Goshorn Lake and holds a variety of unusual and delightful activities for the visitor.

At Goshorn Lake, you can be in the middle of everything and still “get away from it all.” From cottages to condos, there are all sorts of vacation rentals available. Real estate prices are surprisingly reasonable. So, whether you desire a quiet evening on the deck watching the sunset or the cultural stimulation of multiple art galleries and venues, this is the place to be. Come make Goshorn Lake the new family tradition. You’ll be back year after year.

Things to do at Goshorn Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Goshorn Lake

  • Bass
  • Crappie
  • Perch
  • Walleye

Goshorn Lake Photo Gallery

Goshorn Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 26 acres

Shoreline Length: 1 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 618 feet

Average Depth: 14 feet

Maximum Depth: 28 feet

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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