cayuga Lake

lake facts

Elevation: 381 feet
Area: 42,956 acres
Water Volume: 2.5 trillion gallons
Length: 38 miles
Maximum width: 3.5 miles
Maximum depth: 435 feet
Thermocline: about 70 feet


  • The Native American name “tiohero” means “clear water.”
  • Like many other Finger Lakes, a steamboat ran aground in Cayuga Lake in 1907. While some of the wreckage was salvaged, 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.
  • 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 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.