75 Deepest Lakes in the US

The United States have their fair share of deep lakes both natural and man-made. Using a cut-off of 300 feet (91.5 meters) there are at least 75 lakes and reservoirs that meet or exceed that depth. Three of the US lakes are among the top 25 deepest in the world.

There is quite a variety of lakes on this list and we’re sure you’ll find many that you’ve never heard of. We learned a lot by putting this list together. Here are a few tidbits.

Interesting things about this list

  • The list is a mix of natural and man-made lakes but all of the top 10 are natural (although their depths may have been increased slightly by dams).
  • Over half of the 50 states are not represented on this list as they don’t have a lake deeper than 300 feet.
  • Alaska has the most lakes on this list (and all are natural).
  • The Great Lakes are huge, and even though they are the five largest lakes in the US for surface area, none make the top three for depth. All but Lake Erie made this list however.
  • There are two water filled volcanic craters (Crater Lake in Oregon and Katmai Crater Lake in Alaska).
  • Most of the deepest man-made lakes are reservoirs, but several are mine pits that have filled with water including the deepest lake in Minnesota (Embarrass Mine) and Wisconsin (Wazee Lake).
  • One of the 50 state’s deepest lake is just 7 feet deep (see the bottom of the list).

The reservoirs on this list are all based on their full capacity depth, but sometimes they are not full and remain so, especially those in the Southwestern US which is facing a drought right now. All lake levels fluctuate as do their measured depths depending on when they were last verified, the time of year it was measured, and the sophistication of the instruments taking the depth soundings. We’ve found conflicting reports of lake depths including those from government sources.

10 Deepest Lakes in the US

1. Crater Lake OR, 1949 feet (594 meters)

The deepest lake in the United States is Oregon’s Crater Lake (pictured above). This natural lake is such a spectacular place that a national park was created for it in 1902. Crater Lake was formed by the collapse of a dormant volcano (Mt. Mazama) after its eruption around 7700 years ago. Crater Lake is the 9th deepest lake in the world, which is impressive, but it’s 4th deepest in the world by average (mean) depth. The deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal in Siberia Russia at 5380 feet deep (1640 meters). The photo above is a wide angle view of Crater Lake form the top of Watchman’s Peak beautiful landscape in Oregon.

2. Lake Tahoe CA NV, 1645 feet (501 meters)

Lake Tahoe, the second deepest lake in the US, is a natural lake on the border of California and Nevada in the Sierra Nevada Range. Tahoe is considered the largest alpine lake (high elevation lake) in all of North America. Since the forested land around Lake Tahoe is predominantly public land the area is a mecca for outdoor recreation in addition to water-based activities. Lake Tahoe ranks 5th in the world for mean depth right after Crater Lake.

3. Lake Chelan WA, 1486 feet (453 meters)

Lake Chelan in Washington state is natural glacier-carved lake but a dam raised the depth by about 21 feet in 1927. It’s over 50 miles long with the deepest portion near the town of Chelan. Despite being located in Washington’s Cascade Mountains, the bottom of the lake is still about 285 feet below sea level.

4. Lake Superior, 1332 feet (406 meters)

Lake Superior is truly superior to them all. It is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. However it’s just 36th in the world by depth. Superior is the fourth deepest lake in the US with borders on Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ontario Canada.

5. Lake Pend Oreille ID, 1150 feet (351 meters)

Lake Pend Oreille is located in the Idaho Panhandle and was dug out by glaciers a few years ago (quite a few). The resort town of Sandpoint is on the northern lakeshore

6. Lake Clark AK, 1056 feet (322 meters)

Lake Clark and its namesake national park and preserve are located in the southern part of Alaska near the Kenai Peninsula. It’s a natural lake that was created by glaciers making their way down the Chokotonk River valley.

7. Iliamna Lake AK, 988 feet (301 meters)

Iliamna Lake is the second largest freshwater lake that is wholly contained inside the US (after Lake Michigan). It’s the largest lake in Alaska by surface area, but Lake Clark is a little deeper.

8. Tustumena Lake AK, 950 feet (290 meters)

Despite being one of Alaska’s largest lakes and one of America’s deepest, Tustumena is a seldom visited lake with no roads leading directly to its shores. It’s located about 60 miles from Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula. Locals get to the lake by boating upriver from the nearby town of Kasilof.

9. Lake Michigan, 923 feet (281 meters)

Four states share the border of Lake Michigan, the largest freshwater lake (by surface area) that is entirely inside the USA. The states of Michigan and Wisconsin have the lion’s share of the shoreline, but Chicago Illinois and part of Indiana have pieces of the south shore too. Lake Michigan is the largest lake in the world that is located entirely in one country.

10. Lake Ontario NY, 802 feet (244 meters)

The third Great Lake to make the top 10 for depth is Lake Ontario between the state of New York and Canada’s Ontario Province. It’s the 13th largest lake in the world by surface area but the smallest of the Great lakes.

The Rest of the Deepest Lakes in the US

Katmai Crater Lake AK, 800 feet

Lake Huron MI, 750 feet

Lake Oroville CA, 695 feet

Dworshak Reservoir ID, 650 feet

Lake Crescent WA, 624 feet

Seneca Lake NY, 618 feet

Fremont Lake WY, 610 feet

Becharof Lake AK, 600 feet

Lake Powell AZ UT, 580 feet

New Melones Lake CA, 565 feet

Kenai Lake AK, 541 feet

Lake Mead AZ NV, 530 feet

Skilak Lake AK, 528 feet

Shasta Lake CA, 517 feet

Hungry Horse Reservoir MT, 490 feet

Upper Waterton Lake MT, 490 feet

Lake McDonald MT, 472 feet

Blue Lake AK, 468 feet

Trinity Lake CA, 465 feet

Embarrass Mine Pit Lake MN, 465 feet

Portsmouth Mine Pit Lake MN, 450 feet

Carters Lake GA, 450 feet

Tally Lake MT, 445 feet

Detroit Lake OR, 440 feet

Fontana Lake NC, 440 feet

Jackson Lake WY, 438 feet

Flaming Gorge Reservoir UT WY, 436 feet

Cayuga Lake NY, 435 feet

Lake Ore Be Gone MN, 433 feet

Lake Kachess WA, 430 feet

Waldo Lake OR, 420 feet

Fallen Leaf Lake CA, 415 feet

Lake Roosevelt WA, 400 feet

Ross Lake WA, 400 feet

Morrow Point Reservoir CO, 400 feet

Lake Champlain VT NY, 400 feet

Navajo Lake Reservoir CO NM, 395 feet

Yellowstone Lake WY, 394 feet

St. James Mine Pit Lake MN, 380 feet

Rock Lake WA, 375 feet

Flathead Lake MT, 371 feet

Lake Koocanusa MT, 370 feet

Priest Lake ID, 369 feet

Pyramid Lake NV, 356 feet

Lake Memphremagog VT, 351 feet

Wazee Lake WI, 350 feet

Roosevelt Lake AZ, 349

Blue Mesa Reservoir CO, 342 feet

Rabbit Lake MN, 337 feet

Cle Elum Lake WA, 333 feet

Ozette Lake WA, 331 feet

Whatcom Lake WA, 330 feet

Castaic Lake CA, 330 feet

Lake Willoughby VT, 328 feet

Summersville Lake WV, 327 feet

Lake Jocassee NC SC, 326 feet

Sebago Lake ME, 316 feet

Anderson Ranch Reservoir ID, 315 feet

Skaneateles Lake NY, 315 feet

Sullivan Lake WA, 312 feet

Canisteo Mine Pit Lake MN, 312 feet

Hiwassee Lake NC, 309 feet

Watauga Lake TN, 305 feet

Payette Lake ID, 304 feet

Brownlee Reservoir ID OR, 300 feet

Saint Mary Lake MT, 300 feet

Lakes that are not so deep

The Bottomless Lakes in New Mexico have a bottom and the deepest point is just 90 feet deep!

Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans is huge but just 65 feet deep!

Salton Sea in California is drying up and its 40 feet depth is getting lower!

Great Salt Lake in Utah is great but just 33 feet deep!

Lake Okeechobee is the largest lake in Florida, but just 12 feet deep!

Lake Waiau at 7 feet deep is the deepest (and only) lake in Hawaii!

Related Places

Mountain State
Crater Lake OR
Lake Tahoe CA
Lake Chelan WA
Lake Superior MI
Lake Pend Oreille ID
Lake Clark AK
Iliamna Lake AK
Tustumena Lake AK
Lake Michigan MI
Lake Ontario NY
Katmai Crater Lake AK
Lake Huron MI
Lake Oroville CA
Dworshak Reservoir ID
Lake Crescent WA
Seneca Lake NY
Fremont Lake WY
Becharof Lake AK
Lake Powell UT
New Melones Lake CA
Kenai Lake AK
Lake Mead NV
Skilak Lake AK
Shasta Lake CA
Hungry Horse Lake MT
Upper Waterton Lake MT
Lake McDonald MT
Blue Lake AK
Trinity Lake CA
Embarrass Mine Pit Lake MN
Portsmouth Mine Pit Lake MN
Carters Lake GA
Tally Lake MT
Detroit Lake OR
Fontana Lake NC
Jackson Lake WY
Flaming Gorge Reservoir WY
Cayuga Lake NY
Lake Ore Be Gone MN
Kachess Lake WA
Waldo Lake OR
Fallen Leaf Lake CA
Lake Roosevelt WA
Ross Lake WA
Morrow Point Reservoir CO
Lake Champlain VT
Navajo Lake CO
Yellowstone Lake WY
St. James Mine Pit Lake MN
Rock Lake WA
Flathead Lake MT
Lake Koocanusa MT
Priest Lake ID
Pyramid Lake NV
Lake Memphremagog VT
Wazee Lake WI
Roosevelt Lake AZ
Blue Mesa Reservoir CO
Rabbit Lake MN
Cle Elum Lake WA
Ozette Lake WA
Lake Whatcom WA
Castaic Lake CA
Lake Willoughby VT
Summersville Lake WV
Lake Jocassee SC
Sebago Lake ME
Anderson Ranch Reservoir ID
Skaneateles Lake NY
Canisteo Mine Pit Lake MN
Hiwassee Lake NC
Watauga Lake TN
Payette Lake ID
Brownlee Reservoir ID
Saint Mary Lake MT
Bottomless Lakes NM
Lake Pontchartrain LA
Salton Sea CA
Great Salt Lake UT
Lake Okeechobee FL
Lake Waiau HI
Sullivan Lake Campground WA