People tend to visit places more when they’re close by, and for many Vermonters, Lake Champlain is not only easily accessible, it’s a mecca of outdoor fun. Whether you enjoy the scenery, boating, beaching or fishing, there is certainly something that everyone can enjoy when they spend time on this beautiful lake. Here are some interesting tidbits about one of our favorite places. Perhaps you already know them, and if so you get an A+ in Vermont geography. For everyone else, let’s take this opportunity to learn something new!
1. Let's start with some basic facts.
Lake Champlain is 120 miles long and 12 miles at its widest point. The amount of shoreline is 587 miles.
2. How deep?
The average depth of Lake Champlain is 64 feet and the deepest point is 400 feet between Charlotte, VT and Essex, NY.
3. How big is that?
Lake Champlain is 435 square miles of surface water. That's roughly 1/3 the size of Rhode Island! (According to
, Rhode Island is 1,241 square miles.)
4. That late?
It wasn't until February 19, 1932 that boats were able to sail on Lake Champlain.
Until then, there were reports of ice on the lake during the winter.
5. Drink up!
Lake Champlain provides drinking water for over 200,000 people.
6. Feathered friends welcome.
There are 318 species of birds in Vermont that live on, near, or depend on Lake Champlain. That's a lot of feathers!
7. Great for fishing.
Lake Champlain has 81 species of fish. It is well known for its bass fishing and according to
, Lake Champlain is listed as number 5 in the United States.
8. Bridging the gap.
There are three bridges that connect Vermont to New York that go over Lake Champlain. The connecting towns are Crown Point, NY to Addison, VT; Rouses Point, NY to Alburgh, VT; and Whitehall, NY to West Haven, VT.
9. Ice age.
Vermont was once covered in glaciers at the peak of the Ice Age.
10. Boat on over!
There are three ferry boats that connect Vermont to New York. You can find them running from Charlotte, VT to Essex, NY, from Burlington, VT to Port Kent, NY and from Grand Isle, VT to Plattsburgh, NY. They run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The oldest known fossil reef in the world is located in Lake Champlain. It is 450-480 million years old.
12. Vermont's Loch Ness Monster.
Many believe Champ, the creature who may or may not live deep in Lake Champlain, is a legend that has been handed down through the generations. However, others have speculated it's possible such a creature does live deep in the lake, possibly a relative of the plesiosaur, an extinct group of aquatic reptiles. True or not, it's fun to try to spot him!
13. What's in a name?
Lake Champlain was named after Samuel de Champlain, a French explorer, in 1609.
14. Vital roles.
Lake Champlain played an important role in the Revolutionary War as it allowed movement from the colonies to Canada, as well as keeping New England a strong force. Again, during the war of 1812, shore towns on Lake Champlain built ships, particularly out of Vergennes.
15. Recreational fun.
Vermont continues to provide recreational fun to residents and tourists.
16. It's not "Great." It's "The Greatest!"
Lake Champlain is part of three states, Vermont, New York and Quebec, and two countries, Canada and United States. Most of the Lake Champlain is in the United States.
17. Map of the Great Lakes with Lat/Lon and basin outline.
In 1993, Lake Champlain briefly became one of the Great Lakes when President Clinton signed Senate Bill 927. This caused a small uproar and the Great Lake status was rescinded. The dates that Lake Champlain was one of the Great Lakes were from March 6 through March 24, 1998.
18. Choo choo!
Four major railroad crossings were built over the lake. Today only one remains.
19. Eighth largest.
Lake Champlain is the eighth largest naturally occurring body of fresh water in the continental United States.