Little Seneca Lake, Maryland, USA
Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Little Seneca Lake.
If you’re considering Little Seneca Lake vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Little Seneca Lake guide!
Little Seneca Lake visitor and community guide
Little Seneca Lake, located near Boyds, Maryland, is the focal point of the Black Hill Regional Park and covers nearly 1/3 of its acreage. It lies in the Piedmont ecoregion, which is located between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Black Hill Regional Park is under the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC), which created Little Seneca Lake in 1985 after a drought struck the Washington, D.C. area. The lake is jointly owned by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), the Washington Aquaduct, and the Fairfax County Water Authority.
Inflow to Little Seneca Lake comes from three major river channels: Tenmile Creek, Cabin Branch Creek, and Little Seneca Creek. The Little Seneca Creek watershed is a large sub-basin of the Great Seneca watershed and drains a significant portion of the western part of Montgomery County in Maryland. The stream system originates slightly south of Damascus and drains into Great Seneca Creek. The lake serves as an emergency water supply source for Metropolitan Washington D.C., yet the watershed has a mixed character of land uses, from rural areas to agricultural reserves and even commercial uses. Though the lake serves many environmental purposes, it is most well known for its boating, fishing and birding opportunities.
Little Seneca Lake is a angler’s paradise. It is stocked with Tiger Muskie, Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, and Channel Catfish. Little Seneca Creek, upstream of the lake, has been designated “recreational trout waters” by the state, due to water conditions which make it suitable for an adult trout “put-and-take” population. Downstream of the Little Seneca Lake Dam, cold water discharges from the deeper part of the lake enable a “natural trout waters” designation at the confluence with the Bucklodge Branch of the lake. Rainbow and Brown Trout are found in this section, as well as a diverse cold-water community.
As far as wildlife goes, there is much to see around Little Seneca Lake. The lake is known by locals as a premiere spot to view and photograph winter waterfowl. The Ten Mile Creek watershed has a much more diverse community of macroinvertebrates than you’re likely to find elsewhere, boasting many varieties of stoneflies and mayflies. In late February, if the temperatures are not too cold, winter stoneflies can be found in large numbers, flying against the banks of snow. Areas below the lake contain beaver in large quantites. Their dams can sometimes be seen reaching a height of 5 to 6 feet. Bear are a usual occurrence within the park, specifically in the Field Crest Spur Trail area. Although the wintertime highs at Little Seneca Lake are typically in the 30s, with lows in the 20s overnight, the lake is nearly as popular in winter as it is in summer.
If you’re into hiking, the Little Seneca Lake area has both paved and unpaved trails and a rich history to explore. All trails are open to hikers, horseback riders and mountain cyclists. Inside the park boundaries are the sites of an old gold mine and Waters Mill. The gold mine is located near the park offices, and though it didn’t produce much gold, it was used from the 1850s to the 1950s. Waters Mill dates back to 1810 and is located just off the Black Mill Trail near Little Seneca Creek, just above the lake. Other popular trails include Paw Paw Passage and Cabin Branch.
Portions of Upper Little Seneca Creek and Ten Mile Creek have been shaped by geological forces unique to this part of the County, which make it a remarkable hiking experience. A fault line runs through these creeks and the adjacent Little Bennett watershed, which has dramatically influenced the geology of the area. Summertime highs at Little Seneca Lake reach into the 80s and cool down to the 60s, extremely comfortable weather for outdoor activities. Camping is not allowed in Black Hill Regional Park; however, a short five-mile drive will take you to Little Bennett Regional Park campground, where you can enjoy a peaceful camping experience in a wooded setting.
With more than 1,800 acres to enjoy, Black Hill Regional Park and Little Seneca Lake offer such a wide variety of outdoor activities that it’s impossible to experience it all in a single visit. The park hosts a variety of special events and programs throughout the year, such as twilight concerts, summer programs, canoe and kayak classes and other special events. With the region’s mild summer weather and winter wildlife, the possibility of year-round enjoyment makes Little Seneca Lake an unbelievable experience for the lake lover!
Custom Little Seneca Lake house decor
Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.
Things to do at Little Seneca Lake
- Cabin Rentals
- Horseback Riding
- Wildlife Viewing
Fish species found at Little Seneca Lake
- Black Bass
- Brown Trout
- Channel Catfish
- Largemouth Bass
- Tiger Muskellunge
Best hotels and vacation rentals at Little Seneca Lake
The Little Seneca Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.
Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.
Little Seneca Lake photo gallery
New photos coming soon!
Little Seneca Lake statistics & helpful links
Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed
Water Level Control: Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission
Surface Area: 505 acres
Shoreline Length: 16 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 320 feet
Average Depth: 25 feet
Maximum Depth: 68 feet
Water Volume: 13,402 acre-feet
Completion Year: 1985
We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.
Advertise your Little Seneca Lake vacation rental
LakeLubbers will soon offer homeowners and property managers the opportunity to to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily for accommodations. If you’d like additional details, please contact our advertising team here.
Looking for the Little Seneca Lake forum?
LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.
Spread the word! Share our Little Seneca Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!