Deepest Lakes in the United States

There are at least 250 fresh-water lakes that are known to have surface areas of 10 square miles or more in the United States. However, there are thousands of lakes of varying sizes throughout the country. Michigan alone has more than 11,000 inland lakes. In this article, we’ll show you 10 of the deepest lakes in the United States, ranked by depth starting with the deepest.

The 10 Deepest Lakes in the United States

1. Crater Lake

crater lake
Crater Lake | Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

The deepest lake in America, by nearly 300 feet (91 m) is Crater Lake in Oregon. It is 1949 feet (594 m) deep at its deepest point. The depth of the lake was first measured in 1886 when the Dutton expedition visited the lake and did research into it.

Crater Lake, pictured above, covers an area of 20 square miles (52 square kilometers). It has a diameter of 6 miles (10 km) and a circumference is about 20 miles (32 km). The lake has no inlet or outlet.

As its name suggests, Crater Lake is the result of a volcanic eruption over 7000 years ago. It is one of the clearest and cleanest lakes in the world, with visibility up to about 49 meters. Fish were first introduced into the lake in 1888.

2. Lake Tahoe

lake tahoe
Lake Tahoe | Image by Jody Summers from Pixabay

Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California is the 2nd-deepest lake in the United States, at 1645 feet (501 m) deep. It has a surface area of 191 square feet (500 square kilometers). It is 22 miles (35 kilometers) long and 12 miles (19 km) wide.

To the southwest of Lake Tahoe, is Emerald Bay State Park, which features Vikingsholm, a magnificent 1929 Nordic-style home that was part of a private holiday estate. To the northeast of the lake is the Nevada State Park, There is a large population of fish in the lake, including Lahontan cutthroat trout and Sockeye salmon.

3. Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan | Photo by Zac Gudakov on Unsplash

Lake Chelan, in Washington State, is the 3rd-deepest lake in America. It is 1486 feet (453 m) deep at its deepest point. The lake is long and thin: 55 miles (89 km) long and just about a mile (1.6 km) wide. It covers an area of 134 square miles (347 square kilometers).

Lake Chelan is stocked with a variety of fish, including Sockeye Salmon, Burbot, and Lake Trout. The outflow is into the Chelan River and the inflow is from the Stehekin River and Railroad Creek.

4. Lake Superior

lake superior
Lake Superior | Photo by Lucas Ludwig on Unsplash

Not only is Lake Superior the 4th-deepest lake in America, but it is also the largest. At its deepest, the lake is 1333 feet (406 m) deep. It covers a surface area of 31,700 square miles (82,103 square kilometers), making it the world’s largest freshwater lake by area and the second-biggest by volume.

More than 300 streams and rivers run into Lake Superior and about 200 flow out. The water is clear, with vision up to 88 feet (27 m) and the circumference is about 1300 miles (2092 km).

Lake Superior is home to a number of varieties of fish, including carp, trout, and perch. The water temperature varies from 33° F (0.5 C° ) in winter to 66 °F (18 °C) in summer.

5. Lake Pend Oreille

lake pend orielle
Lake Pend Oreille | image by U.S Department of the Interior via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

The 5th-deepest lake in America is Lake Pend Oreille, in Idaho, with a depth of 1150 ft (351 m) at its deepest. The lake is long and narrow: 40 miles 65km) long and only 4 miles (6.5 km) wide. It covers an area of 148 square miles (383 km).

The lake’s outflow is the Pend Oreille River and the outflow is into Clark Fork and the Pack River. Lake Pend Oreille is stocked with a variety of fish, which include Lake Trout, Smallmouth Bass, and Largemouth Bass.

6. Lake Clark

lake clark
credit: Lake Clark National Park & Preserve via Flickr

Lake Clark is the deepest lake in Alaska and the 6th deepest in the United States. It is 1056 feet (322 m) deep at its deepest point. It is 43 miles (69 km) long and 5 miles (8 km) wide It covers an area of  6172 square miles (16000 square kilometers).

The inflow into Lake Clark is from the Kvichak watershed, while the lake itself has an outflow into Lake Iliamna, which flows out into Bristol Bay via the Kvichak River.

7. Lake Iliamna

Lake Iliamna in Alaska is not only the 7th deepest lake on this list but is also the third-largest in size, with a surface area of 1012 square miles (2622 square kilometers). At its deepest point, it is 988 feet (301 meters). The lake is 80 miles (130 km) long and 25 miles (40 km) wide.

The lake is well known for its fishing and there are a number of varieties of fish, including Sockeye, Dolly Varden trout, and Chinook Salmon.

The inflow into Lake Iliamna is Newhalen and the outflow is the Kvichak River, through Bristol Bay into the Bering Sea.

8. Tustumena Lake

Tustumena Lake is the third of the deepest lakes in Alaska and the 8th deepest in the United States. It is 950 feet (290 m) deep. It is quite a small lake, with an area of 94 square miles (243 square kilometers). The lake is 25 miles (40 km) long and 6 miles (10 km) wide.

The main inflow into Lake Tustumena is Glacier Creek and the main outflow is the Kasilof River.

The varieties of fish in the river include Char, Dolly Varden Trout, and Salmon.

9. Lake Michigan

lake michigan
Photo by stephan cassara on Unsplash

Lake Michigan boasts the ‘title’ of being the largest freshwater lake completely inside the borders of America, although it is smaller than Lake Superior. It covers an area of 22393 square miles (58000 square kilometers), with a length of 306 miles (494 km) and a width of 118 miles (190 km).

Lake Michigan is also the 9th deepest lake in America, with a depth of 923 feet (281 m) at its deepest point.

There are a number of rivers that flow into Lake Michigan, including the Grand River, Milwaukee River, and Saint Joseph River. The main outflows are the Chicago River, Calumet River, and Straits of Mackinac.

10. Lake Ontario

lake ontario
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Lake Ontario is 802 feet (244 m) deep, making it the 10th deepest lake in America. It covers an area of 58,030 square miles (18,960 square kilometers). The lake is 307 miles (494 km) long and 118 miles (190 km) wide.

The great Niagara River is the inflow to Lake Ontario bringing the water from Lake Erie, while the outflow is into the Saint Lawrence River.