Lac de Joux, Vaud, Switzerland

Lake Locations:

Switzerland - Vaud -

Switzerland’s Lac de Joux is located high up in the Jura Mountains in the Canton of Vaud. Located at an altitude of nearly 3300 feet, Lac du Joux is ideally suited for a mountain holiday. Lying near the high ridge that designates the border with France, Lac de Joux is ideally suited for both mountain and water sports. Only 30 miles from the city of Lausanne, a trip to Lac de Joux is a valued weekend break from work in the canton’s capital city.

Visitors come to Lac de Joux to sail, yacht, windsurf, row, water ski and wakeboard. The wind conditions around the lake are particularly appreciated by windsurfers. Only a few small villages dot the shoreline, but a great many private cottages and homes overlook the beautiful lake. Much of the shoreline is wooded, adding a natural alpine atmosphere against the backdrop of the Jura Mountains. Several natural sandy beaches draw swimmers and sun bathers. A sailing school teaches the art of sailing during the summer months. In winter, Lac de Joux turns into a huge ice skating arena. Walking and cycling paths are numerous in the vicinity, and bicycles and boats can be rented to enhance the holiday-maker’s enjoyment. Lake levels vary according to precipitation.

Less of a tourist attraction than many of the better-known Swiss lakes, Lac de Joux still attracts thousands of visitors every summer. Many come to canoe the shallows, fly-fish for trout and otherwise enjoy the green canopy of the Jura Mountains. In winter, skating, downhill skiing, snowboarding, sledding and snowshoeing draw visitors to the nearby slopes. The entire Vallee de Joux contains many miles of cross-country skiing trails. Excursions for winter snowshoe camping and dog sled tours can be arranged. Anglers enjoy fishing for whitefish, perch, pike, carp, tench, dace, chub, varro, roach and burbot in the lake. Day fishing permits can be obtained at Le Pont. Hot air ballooning tours over the lake can be arranged, and hiking on the many forest trails offers views of conifer forests, stands of hardwood and birch and the occasionally surprising alpine meadow. A golf course is nearby. Boat tours are available from the sole shipping company on the lake. The boat, leaving from Le Pont, makes a round trip every day in July and August, with weekend-only service in June and September. Passenger train service runs along the north side of the lake with many scheduled stops.

There are few hotels and resorts on Lac de Joux’ shoreline, but a variety of guest houses, chateaus, holiday houses and guest inns assure that vacation rentals are always available. There are some limited camping grounds near the shore, and access to the water is always possible at the public beaches at Le Pont and L’Abbaye. Lac de Joux is not a location with a lot of nightlife; more popular are visits to such attractions as the Watch Museum. Vallee de Joux is a watch-making center, and a small museum in Le Sentier near the west end of the lake offers an interesting look at the history of one of Switzerland’s best-known products. The Mont d’Orzeires Juraparc, a short distance from the east end of the lake, offers viewing of bison, wolves, bears, lynx and other wild animals in a semi-natural habitat. Near the Juraparc, the town of Vallorbe holds Vallorbe Forge. The forge and smithy offer visitors the chance to forge their own commemorative medal. The forge also houses the Iron and Railway Museum.

Lac de Joux has one main water source: the Orbe River. Originating in France, the Orbe meanders through the Jura Mountains to Lac de Joux – and disappears. There is no visible outlet to Lac de Joux or its two small companion lakes, Lac Brenet and Lac Ter. Excess water from all three lakes seeps through the lakebed to form an underground river that surfaces a few miles away. In 1961, the entrance to the underground watercourse was discovered. Open to the public since 1974, visitors can tour a series of underground caverns. The underground river course includes waterfalls, siphons, vast halls with surprising shapes, stalactites and stalagmites. The Fairy Treasure Trove section of the two-mile long cavern trail contains a collection of 250 minerals. The river erupts above ground near Vallorbe and continues east to join Lake Neuchatel where it becomes the River Thielle.

If visiting Lausanne, Lac de Joux makes an excellent weekend side trip. For skiing in the Jura, a ski chalet or chateau the Vallee de Joux makes a great home base. Holiday rentals are numerous; real estate for purchase less so. No visit to the great lakes of Switzerland would be complete without a visit to Lac de Joux. Imagine watching the sun come up over the peaks of the Jura and painting the water with streaks of pink and gold. Nowhere can you feel more a part of nature than Lac de Joux.

Things to do at Lac de Joux

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Dog Sledding
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Museum

Fish species found at Lac de Joux

  • Burbot
  • Carp
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Roach
  • Tench
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

Lac de Joux Photo Gallery

Lac de Joux Statistics & Helpful Links

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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".

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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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