Lime Lake, New York, USA
Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Lime Lake.
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Lime Lake visitor and community guide
Lime Lake is nestled in the remote Chautauqua-Allegheny region of southwestern New York. The Chautauqua-Allegheny tourism region is known as the “Wild West” of New York with scenic trails and serene waters. There are thousands of acres for hiking, biking, cross country skiing, horseback riding, and snowmobiling. The picturesque scenery is evident year-round and will make a vacation unforgettable.
Lime Lake used to be called Limestone Lake, getting its name from the shell lime deposits found on the bottom. Located in the quaint town of Machias in Cattaraugus County, Lime Lake spans approximately 154 acres. There is a public boat ramp on the northern shore of the lake that is accessible to small boats. Spend a leisurely summer day boating, canoeing, or kayaking the crystal blue waters of Lime Lake. If angling is your sport, you will be happy to know that Lime Lake is stocked with a variety of catches such as bluegill, largemouth bass, yellow perch, pumpkinseed, black crappie, rock bass, brown bullhead, walleye, and tiger muskie.
In the 1800’s and early 1900’s Lime Lake was a bustling economic area. It was used to supply water power to sawmills and grist mills, as well as a source of ice. The ice industry flourished throughout the early part of the 20th century until electric refrigeration became common. The ice was better than other areas because it came from pure spring water; and at its peak, 145,000 tons of ice were harvested annually.
Robert Ripley, author of “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not,” shone the spotlight on Lime Lake in 1940. Ripley focused on the fact that Lime Lake was the only lake on record that had two outlets but no inlets. The lake receives its water from underground springs that supply a constant flow of 50-degree water from the subsurface water table. At that time Lime Lake had two natural outlets: the northerly outlet to Cattaraugus Creek and the southerly outlet into Ischua Creek. However, the southern outlet was closed off by gravel companies in the 1950s, and this former outlet is now a spring water inlet. A dam at the north outlet regulates the lake’s water levels.
Just south of Lime Lake is Allegany State Park, the largest state park in New York. With over 35 trails and over five miles of paved bikeways, this park is the perfect four-season recreational asset to the area. Ball fields, tennis courts, picnic areas and playgrounds are available as well as horseback riding trails, snowmobile trails and cross-country skiing trails. If action-packed days are not your style, you are more than welcome to fish and boat along the lakes inside the park. The park offers fun events such as art shows, bluegrass festivals, raccoon rallies, and concerts. To the west of Lime Lake is Lake Erie State Park. It sits right along the shore of the Great Lake and offers campsites with beautiful views of the lake. Another interesting park is Rock City Park, located in Cattaraugus County. The park is a prehistoric ocean floor consisting of huge monolithic formations three and four stories high. The rocks are millions of years old and the largest formations of their kind. The park has enchanting views as well as a museum to spark your interest.
Lime Lake experienced a growth in residential development during the last half of the 20th century, both year round and seasonal homes, so visitors will find vacation rentals within the Lime Lake community. Should you decide to plant more permanent roots in the area, real estate is offered for sale. So, spend some time meandering the quaint Main Streets of Cattaraugus County and take home some antiques and souvenirs. Savor the region’s foods and wines that are sure to capture your heart. Spend quiet afternoons on the serene waters of Lime Lake, and you may decide to stay a lifetime.
Custom Lime Lake house decor
Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.
Things to do at Lime Lake
- Vacation Rentals
- Cross-Country Skiing
- Horseback Riding
- State Park
- City Park
Fish species found at Lime Lake
- Black Bass
- Black Crappie
- Brown Bullhead
- Largemouth Bass
- Tiger Muskellunge
- Yellow Perch
Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lime Lake
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Lime Lake photo gallery
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Lime Lake statistics & helpful links
Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed
Water Level Control: Lime Lake Cottage Owners Association
Surface Area: 154 acres
Shoreline Length: 4 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,650 feet
Maximum Depth: 36 feet
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