Raquette Lake, New York, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - New York - Adirondacks -

Also known as:  Racquette Lake

Raquette Lake lies in the center of Adirondacks Park – a natural, unspoiled gem that draws nature enthusiasts from around the world. Raquette Lake (sometimes spelled Racquette Lake) is the largest natural lake in the Adirondacks, with nearly a hundred irregular miles of shoreline, 80% of which is owned by the State of New York. Conservation officials’ commitment to keeping the lake in its natural state make the rugged shoreline a desirable destination for canoeing and kayaking. Strategically-placed rustic campsites, often with lean-tos along the shore, allow paddle-sport enthusiasts the opportunity to spend a week or more on the lake enjoying the solitude and native wildlife. Trout abound in these waters, making fly fishing an additional incentive for accessing the coves and inlets via canoe or kayak.

Raquette Lake is not only rugged shoreline and solitary paddling, however. Several state campgrounds offer camping, swimming, fishing, RV sites and all sorts of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. The relatively few private properties on the lake value the pristine shoreline and the abundant wildlife with equal vigor, making real estate offerings scarce and highly-valued. These qualities are what made Raquette Lake the centerpiece around which the Great Camps of the early 1900s were built. A few of these still exist, taking visitors back a hundred years or more to gain a glimpse of the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous of yesteryear.

Accessing Raquette Lake other than from private property is usually accomplished either from the marina, which also rents canoes, kayaks, row boats, pontoons and motorized boats, or from Golden Beach State Park. Golden Beach is by far the preferred swimming beach on Raquette Lake. A small boat ramp will accommodate smaller boats, canoes and kayaks. Many lake adventurers make Golden Beach campground their headquarters for days spent on the water. Raquette Lake does allow water skiing, a rarity among New England lakes. Fishermen are attracted to the lake for its variety of game fish, including lake trout, brook trout, white fish, smelt, smallmouth bass, sunfish, and yellow perch. Rumors of landlocked salmon exist, and the state fisheries authority does allow their taking, even in winter through the ice. The wise angler will always check current fishing regulations as these are prone to change on specific lakes without much warning.

The entire Adirondack Park around Raquette Lake provides a wealth of hiking opportunities. The Adirondack Park Visitors Interpretive Center is a short drive east on Route 28 and a good place to start any Park vacation. The Center can direct visitors to the best areas for hiking, local points of interest and trail guides. One of the favorite hiking destinations is the Blue Mountain fire tower with its wide views of the surrounding area. Grassy and Wilson Pond trails are well-worn by trout fishermen who believe that the excellent trout waters are worth the extra effort. Another rewarding hike is to view Buttermilk Falls near the village of Long Lake. One of the best ways to see parts of scenic Adirondack Park is by cycling the Central Adirondack Trail that touches Raquette Lake. Other trails are maintained for snowmobile riding and cross-country skiing in the immediate area. And the Raquette River Blueways Corridor is being developed to serve the needs of serious paddlers. The beautiful and somewhat rugged Raquette River, the longest in the State, begins at the lake and eventually empties into the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The Adirondack Mountain Museum at Blue Mountain Lake is not to be missed, while a summer concert series is available right on Raquette Lake. Saint Williams on Long Point is accessible by boat only and is a lovely setting for concerts and cultural events at this not-for-profit, non-denominational, lakeside retreat and cultural center. There are a few golf courses nearby, but who has time for a round of golf while visiting this beautiful lake?

Raquette Lake is in the town of Long Lake, with the local village of Raquette Lake providing most needs for visitors. And sharing that Raquette Lake address is the famed Great Camp Sagamore, formerly owned by the Vanderbilt family. Sagamore, on nearby Sagamore Lake, was one of the most elaborate of the ‘camps’ built by the wealthy owners of railroads, shipping lines and banking empires around 1900. Invited guests included heads of state, presidents and wealthy friends and business partners. Meticulously maintained by Margaret Vanderbilt until her death, Sagamore fell into disrepair until saved by the efforts of several foundations that repaired what was salvageable, and now offer tours and reserved lodgings for educational conferences and learning experiences to pay for its preservation.

Raquette Lake’s history begins early, with the first rough hotel being built in 1857. The lake’s history as a resort paradise was brought about in large part by a book, titled “Adventures in the Wilderness or Camp-Life in the Adirondacks”, written in 1869 by Rev. William H. H. Murray. His popular book, requiring eight printings in the first year, held stories based around Long Lake and Raquette Lake. Some editions of the book even printed maps and train schedules, leading to the booming tourism trade that built the economy at Raquette Lake and likely led to the building of the Great Camps. Because of the book, a number of hotels were built to accommodate the large number of visitors and contributed heavily to its current continued popularity. Resort hotels still exist in the area and have been joined by bed-and-breakfast facilities, commercial hotels, resort cabins, and private rentals.

Visitors to Raquette Lake will find it far easier to get here than did train travelers of the early 1900s. Less than three hours from Albany, Syracuse and Montreal and under six hours from New York City, Raquette Lake is ideal for a long week-end or a summer stay. Reservations should be secured early as many of the campgrounds fill up quickly on popular week-ends. A vacation at Raquette Lake will leave you both rejuvenated and well-exercised from walking, climbing and paddling. In fact, you may decide to start looking for that rare real estate opportunity to move your family here permanently. None of this will happen, however, unless you come to Raquette Lake for the first visit of many. See you soon!

Things to do at Raquette Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Raquette Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brook Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Perch
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Smelt
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Yellow Perch

Raquette Lake Photo Gallery

Raquette Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 5,935 acres

Shoreline Length: 99 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,762 feet

Average Depth: 44 feet

Maximum Depth: 95 feet

Water Volume: 231,572 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 1.1 years

Drainage Area: 126 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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