Highland Lake, Illinois, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Illinois - Chicagoland -

If you’ve ever dreamed of leaving the city on Friday night and quickly arriving at a lakefront piece of heaven, then Highland Lake is just the place for you. Part of the Illinois Chain of Lakes in the Chicagoland Region, Highland Lake is only 50 miles from downtown Chicago and 55 miles from Milwaukee. The small, 110-acre lake is private, pleasant and a community all its own. Although referred to as part of a chain of lakes, Highland Lake isn’t connected to any of the others. The group of small lakes are all glacial pothole lakes between Lake Michigan and the Fox River.

Highland Lake was originally called Taylor Lake after the earliest settler to the region; records show a Mr. Taylor built a cabin on the north shore in 1836 and departed within a couple of months for parts unknown. The lake was called Taylor Lake for many years. The area around the lakes was settled early and small villages grew up within what became Avon Township. An amusing anecdote found among old histories tells of the old hall built in the area where religious meetings were held. During the winter of 1848, an especially cold winter, someone produced a hen egg with the words, “Time ends, March 3, 1848” in raised lettering on the shell. The lettering was obviously part of the shell itself and many took it for an omen of the end of the world. In the ensuing panic, one miserly person who had cheated many in the community decided he needed to make his peace with the Maker he would soon be meeting and negotiated to make right all the wrongs he can committed. Unfortunately for those standing to gain, before the date came to pay his debts, another citizen with a more scholarly bent found that he could produce raised lettering on an eggshell by writing the words in oil, then submersing the egg in strong vinegar. The acid ate away layers of the shell, except where he had written in oil. Needless to say, the crooked businessman was extremely angry and refused to pay off his agreements. No doubt many neighbors were just as pleased to see him be made the fool.

There appears to be no record of when the name was changed to Highland Lake. Neighborhoods grew up in the surrounding area and more homes were built. Summer cottages have given way to primarily year-round homes. Four private parks around the lake provide access to second-tier homes without water frontage. The Highland Lake Property Owners Association monitors water quality diligently. Several events on the water, which tend to bond the neighborhood together, are planned each year for residents and their guests. The lake is strictly a no-wake lake, and no power boats are allowed — only 35 hp trolling motors are made an exception. There is nothing to disturb the quiet on the lake except the laughter of children swimming to the swim dock.

Fishing is a favorite activity at Highland Lake. Northern pike, rock bass, common carp, largemouth bass, muskellunge, bluegill, walleye and panfish are caught. Canoeing and kayaking are favorite sports here; the lake is small enough that one can get where he wants to go by rowing and that’s how residents want to keep it. The lack of powerboat sports has no doubt kept much residential pressure from over-running the one-and-a-half mile shoreline. It is still relatively uncrowded, unhurried and unspoiled.

For the visitor lucky enough to arrange for one of the vacation rentals on Highland Lake, there are plenty of off-lake activities in the surrounding suburban area to keep one exploring. Several of Lake County’s Forest Preserves are located within a 10-mile radius of the lake. Rollins Savannah Forest Preserve features a multi-use trail open for hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and nature and wildlife observation. This preserve also offers a native seed nursery. Duck Farm Forest Preserve has an off-leash dog park. McDonald Woods Forest Preserve has a 3.8-mile loop around the woods and wetlands — a perfect place to hike, bicycle and cross-country ski. Sun Lake Forest Preserve has three miles of trails designed for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and nature and wildlife observation. Spurs lead to Lake Villa Baseball Park and Longwood Centre Park, home to the historic Lehmann Mansion.

If sand dunes and swimming in Lake Michigan are what you’re looking for, Illinois Beach State Park is only 13 miles to the east of Highland Lake. The six-and-a-half-mile long park encompasses some of the few remaining dune areas left in Illinois and includes unique vegetation and ecology remaining only in this small area. A short distance south along the shore, Waukegan Harbor area is home to marinas where sailors can dock their bigger boats. At Gurnee, just west of Waukegan, Gurnee Mills Mall invites the shopper to investigate hard to find shops and specialty stores. Also at Gurnee, Six Flags Great America thrills amusement park aficionados with a great selection of roller coasters.

Only 15 miles west of Highland Lake, the Chain O’ Lakes State Park offers full aprk accommodations including camping and rent-a-cabins. Sprawling along the Fox River, the park is a popular day-trip destination for Chicago and Milwaukee residents. Back at Highland Lake, the nearby towns of Grayslake and Round Lake Beach offer the supermarket, hardware, golf, playgrounds and the municipal services lakelubbers need regularly. And, if you need to head back to Chicago on Monday morning, public transportation is nearby to get you there in record time — without traffic jams and parking hassles.

Real estate deals can be found for these unique lakefront properties. Often those who once take advantage of the vacation rentals decide they want to spend more time on Highland Lake and call it home. Plan a trip to Highland Lake and see what the fuss is about. The irresistible lure of the lake may make it impossible for you to leave.

Things to do at Highland Lake IL

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Playground
  • Amusement Park

Fish species found at Highland Lake IL

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Highland Lake IL Photo Gallery

Highland Lake IL Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 110 acres

Shoreline Length: 2 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 778 feet

Average Depth: 10 feet

Maximum Depth: 35 feet

Drainage Area: 700 sq. miles

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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