Cayuga 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 most 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, creating a navigable water route from New York City and the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.
  • Near Cayuga lake lies the town of Seneca Falls, where the first women’s rights convention was held in 1848, eventually leading to women’s right to vote. 

Water Facts

  • A large marshland, the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, lies at the northern tip of the lake, acting as a natural filter and provides resting, feeding and nesting habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds.
  • The small city of Ithaca, home to Cornell University and Ithaca College, lies at the southern end of the lake. It is well known for its stunning 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 is a popular spot for fishing derbies, and is filled with brown and rainbow trout, largemouth bass, Pike, and landlocked Atlantic salmon.

Fun Fact 
Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone TV show, owned a house in Interlaken on Cayuga Lake, spent many summers there with his family, and is laid to rest there. He named his production company Cayuga Productions after his beloved lake.