Tupper Lake, New York, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - New York - Adirondacks -

Also known as:  Big Tupper Lake

Big Tupper Lake is a perfect specimen of the natural lakes found in the Adirondack region of upstate New York. The 3,850-acre lake formed from a glacial hollow along the course of the Raquette River, with more water contributions from the Bog River. Europeans arrived to the lake area in the late 18th century to harvest timber. The lake was named after surveyor Ansel Norton Tupper who unfortunately gained his immortality by drowning in the lake while fishing. The shoreline Village of Altamont was changed to Tupper also, guaranteeing his loss will never be forgotten.

The lake is sometimes called Big Tupper Lake to delineate it from another much smaller body of water nearby, also called Tupper Lake. Indeed, a great many nearby lakes encourage visitors to the Adirondacks Park to engage in swimming, boating, fishing and nature observation. A full nine miles long, Big Tupper Lake has attached two large bays that are considered in most cases separate lakes: Simons Pond and Raquette Pond. Because some people consider them all one lake, descriptions of its size vary from 3,850 acres to as high as over 10,000 acres. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation considers the two ‘pond’ bays as separate lakes and states Tupper Lake at the lower figure, so we accept their authority.

Tupper Lake is little developed. The lake lies within the roughly defined Adirondack Park with much of the shoreline within the more restrictive Adirondack Park Preserve. Most of the private cottages are located along the southeastern shore not far from the Village of Tupper. Only a few cottages or ‘lodges’ are located on isolated sections elsewhere, and the several large islands on the lake are mostly undeveloped. Access is easy at either of the hard surface boat ramp along scenic Route 30 two miles south of the Village of Tupper in the settlement of Moody and at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park.

The municipal park site is actually on the bay called Raquette Pond and offers several dock slips. Boaters can freely travel to the larger Tupper Lake from both of the ‘ponds’. Rental boats, primarily 14-foot fishing boats and small motors, are available at the marina operated by Blue Jay Campsite farther south on Route 30. Outfitters in the Village of Tupper rent canoes and kayaks, along with fishing gear and camping equipment. Isolated boat-in campsites are available on the islands and along the shore. All information on camping and necessary permits is available in the Village of Tupper. The only swimming beach designated on Tupper Lake appears to be at the same campground, but other swimming beaches are located in the Village of Tupper on Simons Pond and Raquette Pond. Tupper Lake permits water skiing, tubing and other forms of powered water sports, but many visitors are just as happy to enjoy a leisurely pontoon tour or time spent canoeing or kayaking the many large bays, coves and inlets.

Fishing is always a major draw to Big Tupper Lake. The water holds northern pike, muskie, lake trout, landlocked salmon, walleye, rainbow smelt, largemouth bass, perch and a variety of panfish. The abundance of smelt allow plenty of food for the larger sport fish to grow to trophy size. Winter doesn’t stop the fishing; the annual Northern Challenge Ice Fishing Derby occurs every February and brings a large number of anglers to try for a prize and a trophy fish. In fact, Tupper Lake and its environs are likely just as popular in winter as in summer. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are offered at Big Tupper Ski Area, a not-for-profit ski resort near the village. There are a number of cross-country ski trails that are publicly available, along with multiple hiking trails in the warmer months. Groomed snowmobile trails crisscross the area, and a number of snowmobile clubs offer trail maps and services.

Summer brings a lot of visitors who are hiking the Adirondack Trail in this sector. A favorite activity for cyclists is to bicycle the 60-mile section of the Trail between Tupper and Malone. Those who want more luxurious accommodations will find several lodge resorts and inns in the surrounding area, along with several hotels and cottage resorts. A golf course located just south of the Village of Tupper allows golfers to engage in their favorite sport. The course is used for cross-country skiing in winter. Tupper also provides a calendar of interesting activities to engage visitors all summer long. The annual Tupper Lake Woodsmen’s Days competition in July is considered the largest such event in the state. The Tupper Lake Tin Man Triathlon, now celebrating 35 years of continuous annual races, brings many athletes to run, bike and swim their way to the finish line. Five different race categories assure a race for every type of expertise.

One of Big Tupper Lake’s most notable attractions is The Wild Center, also known as the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks. One of the most notable activities at The Wild Center is the Wild Walk-an elevated boardwalk trail 35 feet above the forest floor where nature lovers can get a completely different perspective on what life looks like to the birds and animals living here. The walk is loaded with unusual experiences, such as a large, constructed eagle’s nest rest stop at the highest point along the Walk. Another surprising experience is the huge spider web that you can walk across. And don’t forget the Snag, a giant white pine with a four-story staircase inside. Numerous exhibits and hands-on activities are of interest to children and adults alike. Although parts of the Center are closed in winter, such as the Wild Walk, multiple trails allow for nature walks and hiking year-round.

Lucky vacationers can find private cabin rentals along the shore of Big Tupper Lake. Some of the properties rented by private owners are rustic; what they lack in modern amenities, they make up for in authentic Adirondack Lodge charm. Others are luxurious and offer every amenity, including WiFi and water sports equipment. The Village of Tupper has several choices of lodgings, a variety of restaurants and entertainment possibilities that will please nearly every family member. Come at your leisure-and enjoy your leisure time as never before. Big Tupper awaits.

Things to do at Tupper Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Birding
  • Museum

Fish species found at Tupper Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Lake Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Salmon
  • Smelt
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Tupper Lake Photo Gallery

Tupper Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 3,853 acres

Shoreline Length: 21 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,545 feet

Average Depth: 39 feet

Maximum Depth: 85 feet

Water Residence Time: 1 year

Drainage Area: 691 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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