Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - Pennsylvania - Northeastern Mountains -

For over 150 years people have been making their way to the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania to enjoy the beautiful waters of Lake Ariel. Originally known as Jones Lake or Jones Pond, Lake Ariel is a natural, deep, spring-fed lake with a long rich history as a resort area.

In 1803 the Jones family settled the south end of Lake Ariel, in a settlement that eventually became known as Jonestown. A dam constructed at the outlet at Five Mile Creek, which flows into Wallenpaupack Creek, raised the lakes levels and flooded the surrounding glacial bog. The influx of water adversely affected the bog, but there are still endangered and threatened species in the area including a type of sedge wren and butterfly. Settlers also built a sawmill at the outlet.

By the mid 1800’s vacationers were traveling to Lake Ariel to fish, picnic and relax. The Pennsylvania Coal Company Gravity Railroad delivered guests to the north end of the lake. The railroad made its last run to Lake Ariel in 1885, but the Erie & Wyoming Valley Railroad continued its run until 1910, carrying thousands of passengers a day to the lake area during the summer.

In addition to the deep mountain waters of Lake Ariel, visitors were drawn to the Lake Ariel Amusement Park. The park had games and rides including a merry-go-round with wooden horses. In the summer gypsies moved into the area and told fortunes in the park. There was a picnic and band pavilion, and in 1929 a new roller coaster. Across the road from the park, a swimming beach on the shores of Lake Ariel provided a bathhouse, refreshment stand, and a water slide. The Lake Ariel Hotel, built in 1880 next to the park, is still standing but abandoned today.

During its peak up to 10,000 people a weekend visited Lake Ariel Park. The park’s popularity continued through the 1930’s, but it shut down during World War II and never completely recovered after the war. It closed for good in the mid 1950’s after passing through several owners.

Lake Ariel is less than twenty miles from Scranton, and the lake was the location of summer homes for Scranton’s leaders. In 1964 residents bought the lake and lakefront. Lake Ariel remains a private lake today with no public access. It has evolved from a resort community to a private residential community. For residents who are avid anglers, there are healthy populations of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, and walleye.

The Pocono region is dotted with lakes. Nearby is Lake Wallenpaupack with almost 6000 acres of water for boating, waterskiing and fishing. The region has downhill ski resorts, National Forests to explore, and the NASCAR Pocono Raceway. Although there aren’t rentals around Lake Ariel, the town of Lake Ariel has restaurants, shopping, and various accommodations.

Surviving the Great Depression and two world wars, Lake Ariel has evolved from a very public recreation community to a private residential community. It will be interesting to see what the next 150 years bring.

Things to do at Lake Ariel

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Water Skiing
  • Picnicking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • National Forest
  • Amusement Park
  • NASCAR
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Ariel

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Walleye

Lake Ariel Photo Gallery

    Lake Ariel Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Surface Area: 325 acres

    Shoreline Length: 5 miles

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,427 feet

    Maximum Depth: 100 feet

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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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