Lake Champlain, New York, Vermont & Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Quebec - USA - Mid-Atlantic - New York - Adirondacks - New England - Vermont - Lake Champlain Valley -

Lake Champlain, straddling New York and Vermont in the USA, and Quebec in Canada, is a natural freshwater lake seated 96 feet above sea level. Briefly designated a Great Lake by President Bill Clinton in 1998, Lake Champlain reaches a maximum depth of 400 feet, covers an impressive 435 square miles, stretches more than 100 miles in length, and boasts a width of 12 miles at its widest point. Collectively, Lake Champlain comprises 271,000 acres, with a relatively modest 587-mile shoreline. The lake is accented by 71 islands, including an entire Vermont county.

Lake Champlain’s great expanse flows north from Whitehall, New York to the Richelieu River in Quebec. Due to its irregular shape, Lake Champlain consists of five segments with unique physical characteristics:

– The Main (or Broad) section of Lake Champlain is the deepest and widest area, holding most of the lake’s water volume.

– South Lake Champlain is narrow and shallow, similar to a river.

– The Inland Sea (or Northeast Arm) of Lake Champlain lies east of the Champlain Islands.

– Missisquoi Bay at the northernmost section of Lake Champlain extends into Quebec. The bay’s water flows south to the Inland Sea.

– Mallet’s Bay, on the east side of Lake Champlain, is separated from the Main Lake by a railroad causeway.

The Lake Champlain Region of Burlington, Vermont is a year-round living and vacation destination that caters to all types of vacation and residential diversions. Voted by USA Weekday Magazine as “One of Four Outstanding Get-Away Locations in the Northeast,” by Outdoor Explorer Magazine as the “Number One Place for Families that Love Outdoor Sports,” by Reader’s Digest as the “Sixth Best Family Friendly Place in the Nation,” and by Zero Population Growth as the “Number One Child Friendly City in America,” Burlington and the surrounding Champlain Lake valley have much to offer.

The Vermont part of Lake Champlain is dotted with excellent state parks. Start at Kamp Kill Kare State Park in St. Albans Bay, a 17-acre day park that boasts a picnic area, two public swimming areas (one with a beach and a sandy lake bottom), and a convenient access point to the Burton Island Ferry.

For a small fee, the ferry will take you on a scenic tour across the lake as you keep your eyes open for a glance at Lake Champlain’s legendary lake monster, named “Champ.” Before the arrival of Europeans, Iroquois Nation legends described a horned serpent lurking beneath the deep, cold waters of Lake Champlain. Since then, there have been more than 300 sightings of Champ, dating back to Samuel de Champlain in 1609. Champ is a friendly monster, reportedly shy and easily scared off by disturbances in the water. A 1977 photo, featured in Time Magazine and the New York Times, is the best evidence of Champ’s existence.

North Hero State Park is another must-see, which some consider the crown jewel of the area’s state parks. Clocking in at over 399 acres, North Hero State Park offers private campsites, picnic areas, hot showers, a rocky beach, and a public boat launch.

The summer months beckon visitors to drive and bike the evergreen mountains, explore the rivers, and hike the forests. Anglers, prepare yourselves: The EPA estimates that there are 90 species of fish in the lake and its tributaries. Lake Champlain’s crystal blue waters teem with smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, lake trout, Atlantic salmon, pike, walleye, crappie, perch, catfish, and panfish. Tournaments target world-class bass. Boating along the beautiful waters is another summer pastime; you will enjoy plenty of space for that.

Lake Champlain will delight those who love wildlife viewing. There are bald eagles, migrating snow geese, nesting loons, map turtles and spiny softshell turtles, snowy owls, moose, 21 species of amphibians and 17 of reptiles, 300 species of birds, and more.

Winter months at Lake Champlain are packed with downhill skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, ice climbing, and, of course, snowball fights. Locals recommend that all winter activities be immediately followed up by a cup of hot chocolate, preferably in front of the orange flames of a freshly-built fire in a fireplace near the lakefront.

Vacation rentals are plentiful in the Lake Champlain Valley, whether you prefer the privacy of a lakefront home, the convenience of a condominium, or the coziness of a cottage or cabin. So, book your family vacation or romantic weekend getaway today to experience the majesty of Lake Champlain.

Things to do at Lake Champlain

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Ice Climbing
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park

Fish species found at Lake Champlain

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Lake Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Lake Champlain Photo Gallery

Lake Champlain Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 271,000 acres

Shoreline Length: 587 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 96 feet

Average Depth: 64 feet

Maximum Depth: 400 feet

Water Volume: 20,916,400 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 3.3 years

Drainage Area: 8,232 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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