Little Seneca Lake, Maryland, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Little Seneca Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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All About Little Seneca Lake

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!

Things to Do at Little Seneca Lake

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding

Fish Species Found at Little Seneca Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Trout
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Tiger Muskellunge
  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Little Seneca Lake

If you’re considering a Little Seneca Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Little Seneca Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Little Seneca Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

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 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.

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