Lake George, nicknamed the Queen of American Lakes, is a long, narrow oligotrophic lake located at the southeast base of the Adirondack Mountains, in the northeastern portion of the U.S. state of New York. It lies within the upper region of the Great Appalachian Valley and drains all the way northward into Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River drainage basin. The lake is situated along the historical natural (Amerindian) path between the valleys of the Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers, and so lies on the direct land route between Albany, New York and Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The lake extends about 32.2 mi (51.8 km) on a north-south axis, is quite deep, and varies from one to three miles (1.6 to 4.8 km) in width, presenting a significant barrier to east-west travel. Although the year-round population of the Lake George region is relatively small, the summertime population can swell to over 50,000 residents, many in the village of Lake George region at the southern end of the lake.
Lake George is located in the eastsouthern Adirondack State Park and is part of the St. Lawrence watershed. Notable landforms include Anthony’s Nose, Deer’s Leap, Diver’s Rock (a 15-foot [4.6 m] jump into the lake), and Double-Diver’s (a 30-foot [9.1 m] jump), the Indian Kettles, and Roger’s Rock.
Some of the surrounding mountains include Black Mountain, Elephant Mountain, Pilot Knob, Prospect Mountain, Shelving Rock, Sleeping Beauty Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, and the Tongue Mountain Range. Some of the lake’s more famous bays are Basin Bay, Kattskill Bay, Northwest Bay, Oneida Bay, and Silver Bay.
The lake is distinguished by “The Narrows”, an island-filled narrow section (approximately five miles [8 km] long) that is bordered on the west by the Tongue Mountain Range and the east by Black Mountain. In all, Lake George is home to over 170 islands, 148 of them state-owned. They range from the car-sized Skipper’s Jib to the larger Vicar’s and Long Islands. Camping permits are attainable for the larger portion of islands.
The lake’s deepest point is 196 feet (60 m), between Dome Island and Buck Mountain in the southern quarter of the lake. The northern end of the lake that is located near Ticonderoga is considered the southern end of the Champlain Valley, which includes Lake Champlain, as well as the cities Plattsburgh, New York and Burlington, Vermont.
The Jefferson Project, a collaboration that began in 2014 between IBM, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the Fund for Lake George, is collecting data from the lake using depth sensors that can monitor currents, pH, salinity, and other data, leading the lake to be called, “[t]he smartest lake in the world.”