Skaneateles Lake

"Long Lake"

Physical Characteristics

  • Length: 16 miles
  • Width: 1 mile
  • Average depth: 145 ft
  • Max depth: 300 ft
  • Volume: 413 billion gallons
  • ​One of the highest Finger Lakes, sitting 863 ft. above sea level


  • In the early 1800s, many settlers were attracted to the land surrounding Skaneateles Lake because they were able to use the lake outlet as a power source for water mills and other types of early industry.
  • The first steamboat to traverse the lake was the Independent, which began transporting passengers up and down the lake in 1831.
  • Large passenger steamboats eventually "lost steam" in the industry and were replaced by smaller vessels.  Many of these smaller boats were used to deliver the mail to homes and cottages that could not be accessed by roads. Residents would put their mailboxes on the end their docks to allow the mail boats easy delivery and pick-up. Today, tourists can still deliver mail the old-fashioned way with the U.S. Mailboat Cruise, a 3-hour water trek up and down the lake.
  • The historic town of Skaneateles includes a handful of homes that were stops on the Underground Railroad

Water Facts

  • Skaneateles Lake provides drinking water to 220,000 people. The lake has been used as a water supply for both the surrounding town of Skaneateles and many Syracuse residents since the 1890's.
  • It is one of only six unfiltered water sources in the country! Because the water from these types of lakes and reservoirs are not pumped through traditional filtration plants, they must maintain and extremely high quality of clarity and cleanliness. The only filtration the lake water needs is a coarse screen, followed by chlorine and fluoride.