Lake Whitingham, Vermont, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Vermont - Southern Vermont -

Also known as:  Harriman Reservoir

Lake Whitingham is located near Vermont Route 100, which was highly praised by National Geographic as one of ten most scenic highways in America. Nestled in Southern Vermont, Lake Whitingham, also known as Harriman Reservoir, provides a stunning setting any time of year– from the lush greenery of spring and summer, to the vibrant colors of autumn, and the snowy white of winter. Although built as a hydroelectric lake, Lake Whitingham also serves as an excellent recreational getaway.

The Deer River winds its way across Vermont’s landscape and provided the perfect location for New England Power Company’s hydroelectric dam. Built in 1923, the Harriman Dam was named after Henry I. Harriman who was the engineer for the power company. Three cemeteries had to be moved and many homes and villages were vacated prior to the reservoir being filled. The waters of Lake Whitingham reach a depth of 185 feet, and when the water is clear a mill and other buildings can be seen beneath the surface. A unique feature of Harriman Dam is the “Glory Hole,” a morning glory-shaped spillway located at the southern end of the reservoir.

Lake Whitingham stretches nearly eight miles long through the town that shares its name. In 1770, the Town of Whitingham was granted to Nathan Whiting and some other men who served as soldiers of the King. The town consists of two villages, Jacksonville and Whitingham.

The unspoiled beauty of Southern Vermont is a year round treat, and Lake Whitingham offers the additional benefit of recreational activities. Wildlife is abundant and observant naturalists might spot an American Bald Eagle soar across the sky or watch a common loon glide across the water. Open to the public, Lake Whitingham is an excellent place to swim, boat, or enjoy a relaxing picnic. Boat launching areas can be found on the eastern shore, and anglers can take pleasure in the peaceful atmosphere as they cast in their lines for walleye, pike, bass and lake trout.

Many old homes and historic places have been preserved near Lake Whitingham. A museum in Whitingham called Green Mountain Hall is home to important artifacts that tell the history of Whitingham. The museum is run by the Whitingham Historical Society. The original site of the village of Whitingham is now the Town Hills Commons. A memorial to Brigham Young, the leader of the Mormon Church who was born in Whitingham, is located on the commons. The Town Hills Commons also provide picnic tables so visitors can take in the breathtaking view of the Green Mountains while having a picnic lunch. Another place of interest is the Sadawga Pond, located just south of Lake Whitingham. Sadawga Pond is another great place for canoeing and fishing, but it is best known for its floating island, which is a very rare natural feature.

The Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) resides on the western side of Lake Whitingham and forms the largest contiguous public land in Vermont. Three national trails wind through Green Mountain National Forest: the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Robert Frost National Recreation Trail, and Long National Recreation Trail. The National Forest is also home to several alpine and Nordic ski areas. Hundreds of miles of multiple-use trails can be used for hiking, cross country skiing, bicycling, horseback riding and snowmobiling.

Although the Lake Whitingham lakefront is undeveloped, vacation rentals and real estate can be found in the villages of Whitingham and Jacksonville. Whether you travel to Vermont in the spring to sample some freshly tapped maple syrup or in the autumn to take in the vibrant colors, you are sure to find a peaceful retreat on the shores of Lake Whitingham.

Things to do at Lake Whitingham

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest
  • Museum

Fish species found at Lake Whitingham

  • Bass
  • Lake Trout
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Lake Whitingham Photo Gallery

    Lake Whitingham Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: New England Power Company

    Surface Area: 2,039 acres

    Shoreline Length: 28 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,490 feet

    Maximum Depth: 180 feet

    Water Volume: 103,375 acre-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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