Lake Groton, Vermont, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Vermont - Northeast Kingdom -

Also known as:  Groton Pond

Nestled snugly among heavily forested mountains, Lake Groton has been a favorite summer getaway for generations of ‘camp’ owners. Over 400 acres of water enclosed within nearly six miles of rocky shoreline make Groton Pond, as it is also known, the ideal hideaway for a summer cottage or hunting camp. The historic pond grew naturally into its reputation as one of Central Vermont’s best places to enjoy lakeside living. The area has a long history of logging, followed by railway access and even a few small steamships, mostly built to facilitate logging but soon carrying ‘campers’-summer residents who could access their cottages by water only.

Lake Groton is a fine body of water for swimming, boating, fishing and nature observation. Residents waterski, enjoy tubing, sailing, jet-skiing, pontooning, canoeing and kayaking. Few visitors can access the lake with larger boats, however, as only two small public boat launches exist-both on state land. Boulder Beach State Park, a day-use-only facility, allows carry-in boats to launch. A small boat ramp at Stillwater State Park on the west shore permits boat launching by registered campground visitors. The state parks close in September, so there is no general public access the rest of the year. Visitors who utilize Lake Groton regularly for canoeing and kayaking often purchase a Green Mountain Passport which allows for annual park access. Both of these state parks offer a swim area-the only public swim beaches on Lake Groton. The Lake Groton Association works with volunteers to monitor water quality and to educate lake users about invasive species and pollution prevention. The Association also produces an annual 4th of July Boat Parade. (2015 update: The Association is monitoring the spread of the invasive Purple Bladderwort plant around the lake’s shoreline. The Association is considering harvesting and chemical treatment to control the plant.)

Fishermen prize Lake Groton for the several species of panfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel and yellow perch. About half of the lakeshore is located within Groton State Forest, so many campers arrive at the four state parks which have campgrounds within the forest to take advantage of fishing on Lake Groton and other lakes, including Ricker Pond just downstream along the Wells River, and several inflowing brooks that hold numerous brook trout. The 25,000+-acre Groton State Forest holds white-tailed deer, black bear, fox, moose, wild turkey, snowshoe hare, coyote, bobcat, porcupine and a variety of small mammals. At the south end of Lake Groton near the dam, a wetland area holds a loon nesting ground, and the loons with their young chicks are often seen on the water. Groton State Forest has a wealth of trails for accessing some of the best areas for nature watching.

Access to trails for hiking and mountain biking around Lake Groton is easy, with many trails beginning near the Nature Center at the north end of the pond. Trail maps can be obtained here with the center showcasing exhibits of mounted birds and animals, pictorial history of the area and the logging era, geology exhibits and informative displays about the Peacham Bog nearby. The trails at the Nature Center are open for cross-country skiing, and the parking lots are open and cleared in winter. The trek to Owls Head, a local rocky outcropping, is an easy hike for those with average endurance. The views over the forest and Groton Pond are spectacular, particularly when autumn colors paint the landscape with scarlet and gold.

Although road access is now available to nearly all areas of the lakeshore, the traditional ‘camps’ in the area carry two different addresses: the street address and the ‘camp’ address-a number posted on the waterside using an old numbering system that begins at the dam on the south end of the lake. Early summer residents arrived by rail to ‘flag stops’ located along the lakeshore and had to carry their provisions to their cabins if they couldn’t take advantage of the few small steamboats that carried residents and logging crews to locations on the lake. The old railroad bed is now part of the Cross Vermont Trail system. Most long-term residents refer to their homes by the camp number and proudly assert they own Camp 37 or some other number.

Lake Groton has been known by several names, beginning with Big Lund, named for early property owner Silas Lund. It later became Long Pond, and eventually Wells River Pond. Finally it was called Groton Pond, named for the town along its southern shore that was incorporated in the late 18th century. The dam was rebuilt in 1968 but was preceded by earlier dams which seem to have left little record. The outflow forms the headwaters of the Wells River that eventually empties into the Connecticut River. The river and nearby lakes were used, with many portages, as a partial water route across the state by early Native Americans, fur trappers and explorers.

Lake Groton was the site of heavy logging and sawmill industry beginning soon after the first permanent settlers arrived after the Revolutionary War. Although a few settlers from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire had arrived years earlier-and brought the name Groton with them from their old towns-the land here was steep and rocky, less than perfect for farming. Further, land ownership was in dispute between wealthy speculators in New York who were given land grants by the British king and those who wished to carve out a second colony from neighboring New Hampshire. Few know that famed Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys were originally formed to dispute land ownership claims (the extended Allen family had large New Hampshire land claims on the area). The Green Mountain militia was fighting a guerrilla war long before war against England was declared; the militia slid naturally into a key role in Revolutionary fighting. Many old land deeds in the area show the original properties being purchased from Ethan or Ira Allen, and Vermont is still known as the Green Mountain State. Vermonters are understandably proud of their independent spirit, demonstrated early by the fact that the ‘Vermont Republic’ resisted joining the new United States for 14 years after independence was declared.

Those who crave the kind of wild and scenic mountain backdrop against a freshwater lake can often find a vacation rental among the private camps along the shoreline. Several campgrounds in the area offer access to either Lake Groton or one of the other large ponds. Groton Pond is only about 30 miles from St. Johnsbury and Montpelier, both of which hold a number of major hotels and a variety of dining and entertainment fare. Local bed & breakfasts, small inns, farm markets and unique shops can be found in the surrounding area. Come and enjoy the independent spirit of Vermont and the scenic surroundings of Lake Groton.

Things to do at Lake Groton

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • State Forest

Fish species found at Lake Groton

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brook Trout
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Groton Photo Gallery

Lake Groton Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Surface Area: 422 acres

Shoreline Length: 6 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,077 feet

Average Depth: 13 feet

Maximum Depth: 35 feet

Water Volume: 5,486 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 19 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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