Top 10 Clearest Lakes in the U.S. You Have to See to Believe

Dana Pitchford
Take a dive into the clearest, cleanest, and most refreshing lakes in the United States

America the beautiful has a wide array of natural wonders inside its borders, but these ten stunning lakes offers views into some of the cleanest, clearest waters in the country. From alpine lakes in the mountains to the large lakes formed from glacial movements, these shimmering bodies of water offer you some of the best aquatic views.

Lakes provide tons of fun to travelers, whether you want to go fishing, boating, or swimming. Visit these bodies of water to experience the clearest, most sparkling lakes in the entire country! From Lake Tahoe to Lake George, plenty of great scenery and fun awaits. 


1. Lake Tahoe[1]


Nestled in the Lake Tahoe Basin in the Sierra Nevadas, this beautiful body of water is the largest alpine lake in North America. Stretching all the way down to 1,645 feet deep, Lake Tahoe has beautiful crystal-clear waters at an elevation of 6,225 feet above sea level. Known for its phenomenal clarity, this ancient lake has the purest waters in North America, making this The Clearest Lake in the United States. It offers visitors many options for exploring the gorgeous area as well. You can take in the sights on a cruise or explore them firsthand with hiking trails, bike paths, or ski slopes in the winter. This stunning lake is visited by approximately 3 million people every year.


2. Crater Lake[2]


Located in the caldera of the once-towering volcano Mount Mazama, Crater Lake was formed after the violent eruption of this now-sleeping volcano, approximately 7,700 years ago. Known for its deep blue color and clear water, this lake is the deepest lake in the country. Since it is fed only by rain and snow, and therefore absorbs little pollution, it is extremely clear. With beautiful and interesting features like the “Old Man of the Lake,” a 30-foot tree stump that has bobbed vertically in the waters for over a century, and Wizard Island, which was formed from a cinder cone after the eruption, Crater Lake offers visitors a unique experiences, beautiful views, and fantastic outdoor opportunities in Oregon.


3. Lake Coeur d’Alene


The Coeur d’Alene area of Idaho is covered with more than 55 lakes that were left behind by the glaciers of the ancient Ice Ages. But, none are more beautiful or pristine than Lake Coeur d’Alene itself whose waters span 25 miles. Here, visitors can experience the spectacular beaches and gorgeous views, catch glimpses of bald eagles, and see beautiful Idaho sunsets. Visitors can explore the North Idaho Centennial Trail, a multi-use recreational trail that follows the Idaho and Washington state line, traveling along the lake’s shoreline to beautiful Higgens Point. 


4. Lake Chelan[3]


As the largest natural lake in the state of Washington, Lake Chelan offers visitors 50.5 miles of stunning natural beauty, and is the gateway to the North Cascades National Park. As the third deepest lake in America, this striking lake reaches a depth of 1,486 feet in the deepest part of the Wapato and Lucerne Basins, which were formed by glaciers during the Ice Ages. Visitors can take in the sights along the water or check out the beautiful vineyards, mountains, and small towns that surround the lake.


5. Lake George[4]

New York

Known as the Queen of American Lakes, this 32-mile-long lake is one of the most beautiful in the United States. Located in the southeastern Adirondack State Park, Lake George gathers more than 50,000 summer visitors who seek the beautiful views of the deep blue water. Guests to the area can also enjoy a number of water-based activities ranging from water-skiing and jet-skiing to rafting and kayaking. Lake George RV Park[5] is located only minutes away from the lake and features plenty of on-site attractions, amenities, and a complimentary trolley.


6. Flathead Lake[6]


Flathead Lake was first described by explorer David Thompson as “a fine sheet of water,” and it is indeed the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Reaching a length of 28 miles and a width of 15, the lake offers visitors 188 square miles of sparkling waters and unlimited recreational opportunities. Visitors can take in the sights of the Swan and Mission Mountains as well as enjoy sites for picnics, boating, sailing, fishing, and more at Glacier National Park. This stunning area also has beautiful cherry orchards, spectacular golf courses, and a wildlife refuge on Wild Horse Island that houses more than 75 species of birds, plus deer, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and bears. After a day on the lake, visitors can hit up the unique shops, try some delicious wine, and explore the art museum at Kalispell, MT[7], which is just off the lake.


7. Hanging Lake[8]


Suspended on the edge of Glenwood Canyon’s cliffs, Hanging Lake is known for its awe-inspiring beauty and clear turquoise water. Named a National Natural Landmark in 2011, Hanging Lake is a rare example of a lake formed and secured by limestone deposits after an acre and a half of the valley floor sheared off from the fault line. The sparkling waters can only be reached by the Hanging Lake Trail, one of the most popular hikes in Colorado. Despite the fact that the hike can be a grueling two to three hour trip, this geological beauty is well worth the effort.


8. Newfound Lake[9]

New Hampshire

Surrounded by the natural beauty of woods and mountains, Newfound Lake can be found in the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire. This gorgeous lake is home to the purest fresh water in the state and is refreshed twice a year by eight underground springs. About 2.5 miles wide and 6 miles long, the lake reaches a depth of 183 feet, providing visitors with ample opportunity to explore and experience Newfound Lake. On the west shore, Wellington State Park offers visitors the chance to take a dip in the water at the largest freshwater swimming beach in New Hampshire.


9. Torch Lake


Torch Lake has unparalleled beauty that is often attributed to its unique turquoise color. Originally called the Lake of the Torches by the Ojibwa Tribe, after the torches they lit to attract fish at night, these beautiful waters are Michigan’s longest inland lake and its second largest. Torch Lake is also part of what is known as the Chain of Lakes, a series of 14 lakes and connecting rivers in Michigan. Visitors who come to see the lake can also expand their trip to include the other five Lower Chain lakes, which provides 100 miles of boating adventures. Swimming, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, and more are available for those who want to get out on these clear shimmering waters.


10. Deer Lake[10]


A mere twelve miles north of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Deer Lake receives much of its water from rainfall and both surface and underground springs, which makes these waters very clear. Spanning approximately 4,097 acres, this lake is roughly 5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. Although it reaches a maximum depth of 121 feet, there are many reefs and rock piles that can present a challenge to boaters. As the lake contains minerals that change its water to a brilliant blue-green on bright summer days, Deer Lake is also known as the Lake of the Changing Colors and is one of northern Minnesota’s treasures.

Which of these beautiful lakes have you visited? And, more importantly, which one is on your list to visit on your next vacation? Tell us more in the comments, and Like and Share with your friends! 


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