Walnut Lake, Michigan, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Michigan - Southeast -

Also known as:  Black Walnut Lake

Walnut Lake is a suburban secret. Sometimes, the best lakes are found in the most unexpected places. Walnut Lake, in the Southeast Region of Michigan is one of them. Located in busy Oakland County just outside of Pontiac, private Walnut Lake is surrounded by fine homes. Nearly enclosed by upscale Herndon’s Walnut Lake Estates, the lake is encircled by spectacular homes with extraordinary views. A part of West Bloomfield Township, the Walnut Lake area has been the desirable address of middle management and executives for nearly 50 years. Here, both frontage and canal owners and back lot inhabitants gain access to private club houses, swimming beaches and boat slips. Walnut Lake is the ideal spot to raise a family close to both work and play.

The area around Walnut Lake (originally called Black Walnut Lake) was the home of Native Americans when the French constructed fortifications at Detroit 25 miles to the southeast. Relationships between the tribes and the French were for the most part friendly, but degraded after the British took over the territory. Oakland County, with over 320 lakes, would have been prime hunting territory and likely considered worth defending by the local tribes. Warriors led by the great Chief Pontiac were unsuccessful in dislodging the British from the area and many reports say Chief Pontiac, forced from the area by the British, later died near either St Louis or Peoria, IL. Local legend has always held that Pontiac returned, died in the area and is buried on an island in nearby Orchard Lake. The city of Pontiac was named for him, as was the famed General Motors brand of cars.

Once the area was considered safe for settlement, farming began on the fertile plains between the lakes and wetlands. A village was formed at the site of the future Pontiac and by 1837, business was thriving. Electric train lines ran from Detroit to Pontiac, making transportation to the future Oakland County feasible. Few records of the time discuss Walnut Lake but scholar Thomas Leroy Hankinson published a biological study of the lake in 1908 for the Michigan State Normal College – later to become Michigan State University. In the study, Mr Hankinson makes note of the fact that the area around the lakeshore was quite marshy and that few had made their homes there. Mr Hankinson also notes that local residents stated there was no natural outlet from the lake until a short canal was dug along a shallow valley to connect the lake to Franklin Creek, a tributary stream of the Rogue River. Locals stated that the completed ditch lowered lake levels by several feet. Even in 1908, the report remarks that the water is exceptionally clear and the marl/sand perimeter made for a solid bottom for several hundred feet from shore until the lake bottom dropped off more steeply.

Recent reports from West Bloomfield Township show that Walnut Lake may now be giving shelter to zebra mussels – an invasive species that causes eventual degradation of lake quality due to voracious consumption of the plankton needed by small fish to survive. In the short run, however, zebra mussels actually improve water clarity. The township will be working with the State DNR to remove these tiny crustaceans from the lake before they can do any damage. The lake is still exceptionally clear and clean. Although the State has not published any mapping of the lake or any fish census, nearby Orchard Lake of similar depth and water quality supports an excellent population of game fish, including northern pike, bluegill, crappie, rock bass, perch,walleye, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. There is every reason to believe Walnut Lake is an equally good fishery. As usual, those intending to eat caught fish should check with State fish consumption guidelines. Ice skating and ice fishing can be enjoyed here in the winter months.

Walnut Lake is an all-sports lake, with water skiing, tubing, pontooning, power boating, kayaking and canoeing all enjoyed. Swimming is popular at the small community beach areas, most of which contain a clubhouse, playgrounds and picnic areas. Golf courses, groceries, shopping, banks and schools are all located within a two-mile radius of the lake, although there are no commercial enterprises on the lake itself. Schools in the area are considered excellent. High-end shopping is locate just a few miles away in Bloomfield Hills, Farmington, Auburn Hills and West Bloomfield. The Township of West Bloomfield maintains several public parks and the 162-acre West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve only a mile west of the lake. A local Ski and Snowboarding club gives skiing lessons and arranges club skiing events. There is even one of southeast Michigan’s largest ski areas less than 15 miles from Walnut Lake. The West Bloomfield Trail, a ‘rails to trails project’, meanders for over 4 miles through West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake, Keego Harbor and Sylvan Lake. With interpretive sites along the route the Trail is a favorite for cross-country skiing, hiking and mountain biking.

Few vacation rentals are to be found along Walnut Lake itself, but month-to-month leases often can be found in the area. Nearby lakes have more vacation lodging possibilities: bed-and breakfasts, hotels and vacation resort cottages are available. Real estate is usually available around Walnut Lake. Although there is little space for new development, exiting homes are can be found, some with lakefront and personal beach. If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy exclusive lakefront living, now is the time to check out Walnut Lake.

Things to do at Walnut Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Hunting
  • Playground
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Walnut Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Walnut Lake Photo Gallery

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Walnut Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 232 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 881 feet

Maximum Depth: 101 feet

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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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