Nestled in the heart of Finger Lakes Wine Country lies Keuka Lake – its pristine, glacial waters glistening as it catches rays of sun. Deriving its name from the Iroquois word meaning "Canoe Landing," Keuka Lake has unique qualities that separate it from the other Finger Lakes.
Keuka Lake's western and southern branches were once a single, north-to-south flowing watershed. Over time, glaciers carved out a major tributary to the main river, transforming it into what is now the East branch of the lake. This glacial action also created a reverse flow of drainage, South-to-North. To this day, Keuka Lake is the only lake in the country, and one of few in the world, that flows both North and South. Pretty cool right?
While early settlers dubbed it "the Crooked Lake" because of its unique "Y" shape, its natural beauty quickly earned it the nickname "Lady of the Lakes." Keuka Lake is 19.6 miles long, 1.9 miles wide, and reaches a maximum depth of 183 feet. The third largest Finger Lake, it is surrounded by the communities of Hammondsport, Branchport, and Penn Yan.
Things to do on Keuka Lake
Surrounded by rolling, vineyard-covered hills, the shores of Keuka Lake provide the perfect place to relax and recharge. Sail its waters, lounge along its shores, and discover the other-worldly peace about Keuka that seems to make time slow down and everything become more beautiful.
Named "the world's most beautiful wine region," by readers of Budget Travel magazine, there are many outstanding, world-class Finger Lakes wineries located in the hills along Keuka Lake. Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars has been rated the "#1 Winery in the Northeast" by Wine Report for five years and, for more than 40 years, has been New York State's most award-winning winery.
Pleasant Valley Wine Company & Great Western Winery is one of the oldest in the Finger Lakes, U.S. Travel & Leisure magazine named Heron Hill Winery as one of the 10 most spectacular tasting rooms in the world, and the eclectic Bully Hill Vineyards offers tastings that follow a "wine with laughter" philosophy.
Visit Hammondsport, the "Cradle of Aviation," located on the southern branch of Keuka Lake. Hammondsport was home to aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss, known as the "Father of Naval Aviation," who designed, built, and flew seaplanes off the waters of Keuka in the early 1900s. Curtiss took to the sky over Keuka Lake in the first pre-announced flight in America on July 4, 1908 before a crowd of more than 1,000. Today, the Curtiss Museum is one of Hammondsport's biggest draws.
Keuka Lake itself offers a wealth of entertainment. Its shallow depths means it stays warmer than deeper Finger Lakes, making it an ideal summer destination for swimming and watersports of all kinds. The lake also boasts excellent fishing. Whether you're taking the kids out for their first cast or looking for your next big catch, Brown Trout, Smallmouth Bass and Landlocked Salmon provide the perfect challenge for anglers of all levels.
The best way to experience Keuka Lake is to book a place to stay right on the water. Whether you book a unique getaway at a private Finger Lakes vacation rental, or continue the day's adventure camping under the stars, you will love waking up to a Keuka Lake sunrise.
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