A sailboat embarks for a day of adventuring on Cayuga LakeCayuga Lake

"Boat Landing"

Physical Characteristics

  • Length: 40 miles - the longest Finger Lake!
  • ​Width: 3.5 miles at the widest point, 1.7 miles average
  • Maximum Depth: 435 ft
  • Average Depth: 178 ft
  • Volume: 2.5 trillion gallons
  • ​Home to Frontenac Island, one of only two small islands in the Finger Lakes


  • Like many of the other Finger Lakes, Cayuga Lake was once used for commercial transportation. Freights and horse-powered ferries (think a horse in a hamster wheel) carried people up and down the lake to their destinations.
  • In 1907, a steamboat ran aground in the lake.  Some of the wreck was salvaged, but the majority of it remained underwater until WWII, when it was excavated and used as scrap iron.
  • Between 1905 and 1918, the Seneca River Canal was created to connect the northern tips of Seneca and Cayuga Lakes. This canal connects to the Erie Canal system, which gave the rest of New York State access to the two large lakes.
  • Near Cayuga Lake lies the town of Seneca Falls, which is home to the Women's Suffrage movement.

Water Facts

  • A large marshland lies at the northern tip of the lake, and acts as a natural filter and a breeding ground for waterfowl.
  • The town of Ithaca lies at the southern end of the lake. Ithaca is home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, as well as many natural gorges and waterfalls.
  • The water from Cayuga Lake is used for both drinking and natural cooling. Many of Cornell's industries pump in the cold lake water and use it to cool machinery.
  • Cayuga Lake holds many fishing derbies, and is filled with brown and rainbow trout, largemouth bass, Pike, and landlocked Atlantic salmon.

Did You Know?

Rod Serling owned a house on Cayuga Lake, and spent many summers there with his family. He named his production company Cayuga Productions, which later created The Twilight Zone. Ithaca, home to Ithaca College and Cornell University sit at the southern end of Cayuga Lake.