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24 Interestingly Amazing Facts About the Eleven 'Finger Lakes'

24 Interesting Facts About the Eleven 'Finger Lakes'
The eleven Finger Lakes are a beautiful marvel of nature. The reason why these were named as 'Finger Lakes' lies in their distinct geographical shape, seeming like human fingers from an aerial view. The name Cayuga may sound quite familiar, as it is not very far away from Cornell University and the city of Ithaca. The longest of the eleven, it has a length of around 38.1 miles.
UStravelia Staff
Last Updated: Mar 1, 2018
The Great Lakes
Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario form the Great Lakes on the borders of USA and Canada. They are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth.
The Finger Lakes are a popular tourist destination for recreational purposes, often a favorite of the locals. You must be wondering about the location of these lakes, and also why are they named so! These lakes were named precisely that, because they appeared to old map-makers like human fingers.

In all, there are eleven Finger Lakes, which are located in the northwestern region, or what is called Upstate New York. Lying at the foot of Lake Ontario of the Great Lakes, these eleven fingers are spread along a north-south direction, bestowing upon mankind a place of pristine natural beauty.
Interesting Facts About the Finger Lakes
- The region of the Finger Lakes is an ecologically and geographically defined zone, thus a 'bioregion'.
- The eleven lakes are: Otisco Lake, Skaneateles Lake, Owasco Lake, Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake, Canandaigua Lake, Honeoye Lake, Canadice Lake, Hemlock Lake, and Conesus Lake.
- The Conesus, Hemlock, Canadice, Honeoye, and Otisco are believed to be the minor Finger Lakes.
Lake Skanealteles
Lake Skanealteles
Skaneateles lake is longer than the Otisco and Owasco lakes between which it is placed. The village of Skaneateles is a very popular vacation spot, visited by famous celebrities and even by former presidents.
- This region is known for its vast vineyards. It is also said to be the largest wine producing region in the United States, only after California.
- It is a frequently visited area for various activities, including those like fishing, boating, swimming, biking, hiking, and camping.
- The Bluff Point Stoneworks: These are prehistoric structures built before the period of Iroquois habitation on the Keuka Lake. Who built them is still not known, despite several attempts of research.
The eleven lakes are glacial lakes. They were formed when the Laurentide Ice Sheet moved down southwards from the Hudson Bay. It was approximately two million years ago that the glaciers began sliding, which initiated the current Ice Age or the Pliestoscene glaciation. River valleys widened due to glacial abrasion, as it carried glacial debris. This debris formed the boundaries like a dam, which led to the formation of the lakes in this region.
Lake Seneca
Lake Seneca
- Lake Seneca is known to be the middle finger. It is also promoted to be the 'Lake Trout Capital of the World'.
- The Seneca and Cayuga lakes are named after two local tribes residing there.
Lake Seneca in Winter
- Seneca lake is the deepest of all, as its depth goes down to around 618 feet (188.366 meters). This middle finger also marks the largest area amongst the finger lakes.
- This region is home to other Iroquois (native American) tribes, including the Tuscarora, Onondaga, Mohawk, and Oneida.
- The Oneida lake, on the extreme east of these eleven, is not a part of the finger lakes. Still, it is known as the 'thumb', at times, because of its peculiar wider shape.
- Natural reserves like the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale lie underneath the lakes. This marine sedimentary rock has a huge potential of natural resources, pulling in many big industries from the energy sector to this area.
- The recent fracking technology has brought up some environmental concerns. The locals have especially opposed the extraction of reserves, as it allegedly pollutes the groundwater.
- Glenn Curtiss, the aviation pioneer who established the U.S. aircraft industry, lived in Hammondsport, which is nestled at the southern end of Lake Keuka.
- Otisco lake is the easternmost of the eleven. The length of this lake is around 6 miles only.
Lake Canandaigua
Lake Canandaigua
Canandaigua lake, named from the original Seneca reference, means 'the chosen spot or town'. Coming from the west, it is the first lake in the Ontario and Yates counties. Humphrey Bogart, American screen actor, is known to have lived here during his childhood, especially during the summers.
- At the northern end of the Owasco lake lies the city of Auburn. Being smaller in expanse, its waters warm up quicker, turning it into a location just perfect for swimming and boating.
- Honeoye lake is known for not being so deep, with the maximum depth being around just 30 feet.
Lake Canadice
Lake Canadice
Canadice Lake or 'ska-ne-a-dice', from where the name originates, translates into 'long lake'.
- Hemlock is a minor lake located to the south of Rochester. The initial Seneca version of the name sounds something like 'O-neh-da Te-car-ne-o-di'.
- Conesus Lake: The western end of the Finger Lakes is marked by the Conesus lake.
Village Of Seneca Falls
Two Mature Adults Kayaking
Man fishing on a lake
Sunrise Over The Lake
Lake Constance