Lake Carnegie, New Jersey, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - New Jersey - Delaware River -

Also known as:  Carnegie Lake

Although steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie is remembered for his library donations, one of his lesser-known gifts to society is Lake Carnegie, also known as Carnegie Lake. Constructed in the Delaware River area on Princeton University’s southern end, Lake Carnegie was built to provide a practice lake for the famed Princeton rowing team.

A dam constructed on the Millstone River at the confluence of Stony Brook created Lake Carnegie in the low-lying swampy area of the Millstone Valley. This provided a fine body of water perfect for competitive rowing. Not only did this give the university a home practice area, it removed the teams from having to maneuver away from freight barges on the adjacent Delaware and Raritan (D&R) Canal. In the process, the City of Princeton gained a lovely lake, replete with fish, waterfowl and boating enjoyment. Since 1906, the lake has been enjoyed by all.

The western shoreline holds a number of historic features such as the picturesque Princeton Boat House. Also located on the western shoreline are luxury homes on large wooded lots that are in high demand when they come up for sale. A membership-only club, the Carnegie Lake Rowing Association, offers sculling lessons and boat access to its membership. The club hosts several rowing events during the year including the annual Carnegie Lake regatta. Small sailboats are often seen sailing the three-mile-long lake. And surprisingly, bald eagles have been sighted here regularly in recent years. The lake itself is a part of the Lake Carnegie Historic District and has been used in past years for Olympic rowing trials.

Privately owned, Carnegie Lake is open to public assess for fishing, boating and enjoying the picturesque views. Private gasoline-powered boats are prohibited on the lake, as is swimming. Only the old D & R Towpath separates the lake from the D & R Canal. The lake is only 800 feet across at its widest point, so fishing from the bank is attractive to many who combine their fishing expedition with a hike along the towpath to reach a favored spot. Most of the eastern shore nearly lies within the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park that meanders along 70 miles of the main canal and the feeder canal. The 68-mile towpath trail welcomes walkers, horseback riders, mountain bikers and the wheelchair-bound to enjoy the shaded pathway along the inviting watercourse. Mountain bikes may be rented in the area, and some of the parking lots have room for horse trailers. Camping is available only at Bull’s Island on the feeder canal next to the Delaware River close to Washington Crossing State Park.

Several authorized boat launch sites are available at Lake Carnegie, some with picnic facilities and restrooms. Although private boats are welcome, many take advantage of canoe and kayak rentals located at Princeton Turning Basin Park. The short portage from the Canal to the lake is easily accomplished. Paddlers must remember that rowing team craft always have the right-of-way and that these fast-moving boats cannot easily maneuver to avoid other water-users. Many fishermen take advantage of the rental canoes and kayaks to fish for largemouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie, yellow perch, chain pickerel, sunfish, northern pike and carp. Occasionally anglers may be rewarded with a rainbow trout or a brown trout that makes its way into the lake from Stony Brook. A New Jersey fishing license is required, and all fishing regulations apply.

Due to the shallow depths of Lake Carnegie and the growth of cities upstream, the lake’s water has been found to be impaired in years past. Several community groups have taken on the chore of cleaning up areas around the lakeshore and monitoring water quality. The lake has been dredged three times in its 100-year history. The last dredging in 1971 gave the lake a uniform depth of 9 feet at 35 feet out from shore. Efforts were put in place to minimize silting coming from the Stony Brook watershed, and upstream cities have upgraded their treatment facilities. The lake is now cleaner than it has been in many years and also more easily navigated. There is still a mercury hazard warning on over-consumption of fish from the lake, but most other concerns have been alleviated.

The Carnegie Lake area is an excellent spot for history buffs to take a break from their historic touring of the area. Just south of the lake is the site of the Battle of Princeton and one of General Washington’s great successes. The Princeton Battlefield State Park includes the Clarke House Museum and a stone patio commemorating the graves of 21 British and 15 American soldiers killed here. The Clarke House Museum is a restored farmhouse that played a part in the battle and is furnished in Revolutionary-era artifacts and military exhibits. The park contains many walking trails and self-guided tours.

A few miles away from Lake Carnegie, Washington Crossing State Park is the location where Washington’s troops crossed the Delaware on Christmas night, 1776. The famous crossing, depicted in a painting seen on most classroom walls in years past, occurred during a major winter storm when the enemy didn’t expect any movement. The ragged troops surprised the Hessian troops left to defend Trenton and 900 of them surrendered, invigorating the dispirited Colonial militias.

The historic park is well-known for the many walking trails and abundance of wildlife found there. A wide variety of migrating birds join the resident fox, whitetail deer, raccoon, red-tailed hawk, screech owl, great-horned owl and red-shouldered hawk that live here. In winter the trails are popular for cross-country skiing. The Visitor’s Center is open year-round and holds many exhibits depicting Washington’s military campaign in the area. The Swan Historical Foundation’s collections at the Visitors Center are considered some of the best of their type. In summer the Washington Crossing Open Air Theatre presents performances, often of a historical nature. Johnson Ferry House offers living history demonstrations on weekends.

Both Princeton and nearby Trenton hold a number of excellent museums and performing arts venues. Trenton in particular is caretaker to many Revolutionary War sites of importance, including the Old Barracks Museum. The capital city of New Jersey, Trenton holds many major offices and an exciting array of nightlife and fine dining. Princeton contains several famed venues for the performing arts and the scenic campus of Princeton University. Major hotel chains in the area provide lodgings, as do numerous bed & breakfasts, small inns and guest houses. Real estate is always available, although perhaps not with direct access to Carnegie Lake. Easy rail access to both New York and Philadelphia make Princeton and Trenton the ideal spots for East Coast living and vacations. So bring the kids, the hiking boots and the history maps and partake of the scenic pathways along Carnegie Lake and its historic surroundings. Make your own memories here as so many famous historical figures have done.

Things to do at Lake Carnegie

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Lake Carnegie

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Brown Trout
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Carnegie Photo Gallery

Lake Carnegie Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Surface Area: 237 acres

Shoreline Length: 7 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 104 feet

Average Depth: 5 feet

Maximum Depth: 9 feet

Water Volume: 1,906 acre-feet

Spread the word! Share our Lake Carnegie article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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."


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.