Walloon Lake, Michigan, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Michigan - Northwest -

Walloon Lake – Hemingway’s Michigan. Ernest Hemingway was born here, spent 22 youthful summers here and came back to the lake for his honeymoon. The Hemingway family still owns the family cottage. That’s the kind of place Walloon Lake is, a family place, a summer place for the generations. The Hemingways first came here in the 1890’s. Since then, Walloon Lake has hosted summer properties for many of the rich and famous. Currently, the Hilton Garner family and Michael Moore have homes here. The oldest continually-inhabited property, Cavell’s “Breezes Over” was first occupied in the 1860’s. Clearly there is something about Walloon Lake that causes people to be drawn here year after year.

Originally named Talcott Lake, an early businessman renamed it Walloon Lake after a place name on an old railroad map of the area. There has never been any trace of the Belgian family it was named for, however. The only town, the small settlement of Walloon Lake Village, occupies a spot at the “v” of the two arms of the lake, on the south-east shore. Glaciers re-shaped and deepened a river valley into one of the largest lakes in Michigan. Spring fed, Walloon Lake is about 100 feet above Little Traverse Bay, a short distance away.

Walloon Lake water depth varies from 28 feet to 100 feet, deep enough to support a good population of lake trout. In one letter, Hemingway stated Walloon Lake was “the best rainbow trout fishing in America”, a sentiment shared by the many anglers suffering from his passion for fishing. The lake also sports brown trout, smallmouth bass, bluegill, perch, walleye and rock bass. Fishing, however, is not the only water sport Walloon Lake is noted for; it also boasts excellent swimming, boating and sailing.

Once dotted with rustic cabins, Walloon Lake now sports many large homes. Vacant shoreline is seldom available, but realtors in the area are more than willing to “keep an eye out” for just the right property for anyone wishing to buy. Several developments and upscale condos are under construction and are in high demand even in the current real estate market. It’s worth the trip to window-shop some of the most expensive waterfront property in Michigan. The homes are expansive and lovely; all show the same love of the water, with outdoor spaces just as important as the amenities inside. The Walloon Lake Trust and Conservancy has put nearly 1800 acres under protection, and a wide group of volunteers monitor water quality scientifically on a regular schedule. “Wallooners” claim the water is just as clear now as it was 100 years ago. The lake association boasts nearly a thousand members. Clearly, this is a much-loved lake.

For the vacation visitor, several bed and breakfasts, lodges and rental cottages provide comfortable lodging at a surprisingly reasonable price. Most cottages and resorts have boat landings and swimming areas. The marina located in Walloon Lake Village is a great spot to put the boat in the water, and there are several impromptu road-end boat launches. The ramp off Sumner Road, the one Ernest used, is still there on the west side of the west arm of Walloon Lake. Plans are in the works for a large public boat launch by the Department of Natural Resources, but extensive public comment and efforts by the Walloon Lake Association and the Walloon Lake Trust and Conservancy to protect a stand of old growth forest in the area has slowed its development.

The attraction of Walloon Lake isn’t simply the lake, however beautiful it may be. The entire area is one of the most visited areas of Michigan. Several public and private golf courses are within a very short distance of the lake. The three largest and best-known ski resorts in Michigan are within 20 miles, and attractions such as skydiving, casinos and a municipal ski resort are located nearby in Petoskey, Boyne City, Boyne Falls and Charlevoix. Hiking, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, ice skating, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and ATV trails can keep the entire family occupied in all seasons.

A short trip away by car, the sands and dunes of Lake Michigan provide beautiful views over Michigan’s sunset coast. Find Petoskey stones (a form of fossilized coral) and shells on the beach; visit the Charlevoix Lighthouse, built in 1911. And for family members who are not quite sure about spending their vacation in the wilderness, this tourist mecca sports several art galleries, farmers markets and upscale dining. Two of the better dining establishments in the area offer gourmet cooking courses for their guests, featuring such skills as menu selection and wine choice. Specialty crafts and farmers markets provide the ultimate shopping experience for the discerning buyer. Petoskey’s Gaslight District is especially favored for holiday shopping.

Walloon Lake is 390 miles from Chicago and 330 miles from Detroit. In Hemingway’s day, it was possible to take the train, then a steamer to the family home. Sadly, the train no longer runs that far and must be connected with bus service at Kalamazoo. The route by car is scenic, with interstate-quality highway up US 131, changing to a well-maintained two-lane road for the last 45 miles alongside the old railroad bed. Most local roads around Walloon Lake are secondary, either paved or unpaved, and provide for some beautiful views of autumn colors. Nearest air service is approximately 35 miles away at Pellston or 50 miles away at Traverse City.

So, come to Walloon Lake for a visit. You may find, like Hemingway, you’re called to come back again and again.

Things to do at Walloon Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Golf
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Shopping
  • Casino Gambling

Fish species found at Walloon Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Walloon Lake Photo Gallery

Walloon Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 4,320 acres

Shoreline Length: 30 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 686 feet

Average Depth: 28 feet

Maximum Depth: 100 feet

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

At LakeLubbers.com, we strive to keep our information as accurate and up-to-date as possible, but if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you!
Please let us know about it on our Content Correction form.

Spread the word! Share our Walloon Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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."


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.