Discover the Deepest Lake in Florida

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: July 27, 2023
© Hawkeye Aerial Imaging/
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Key Points:
  • The aptly named Deep Lake is the deepest lake in Florida at 90 feet deep.
  • Located in the Big Cypress National Preserve, Deep Lake is not suitable for swimming, fishing, or boating because it contains alligators and does not have a boat ramp.
  • Deep Lake was formed by a sinkhole around 6,000 years ago and has a unique ecosystem as the top half is freshwater and the lower half is saltwater.

You may be familiar with some of the largest lakes in Florida such as Lake Okeechobee or Lake George, but what is the deepest lake in Florida? Some of the deepest lakes in the world are at the top of collapsed volcanoes. Others were formed thousands of years ago by melting glaciers. What caused the formation of the deepest lake in Florida? Read on to discover all about the deepest lake in Florida.

Infographic of Deep Lake
Deep Lake and the surrounding swampland are the perfect habitats for alligators.

What Is the Deepest Lake in Florida?

The deepest lake in the southeastern state of Florida is Deep Lake. Deep Lake is located in the Big Cypress National Preserve in southern Florida and the deepest lake south of Lake Okeechobee. The lake itself is right off Hwy 29 in the far western portion of the Preserve. To get to the edge of the lake, travelers can hike through a half-mile trail in the hardwood hammock and pass the old hunting lodge Barron Collier used to run.

Deep Lake in Florida
Deep Lake, the deepest lake in Florida, is located in the Big Cypress National Preserve.

©National Park Service / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – License

How Deep Is the Deepest Lake in Florida?

Deep Lake is 90 feet deep. In comparison, if you were standing at the top of a nine-story hotel and looked down, you would be about 97 feet above the ground. However, Deep Lake is not very big when it comes to size or volume. In fact, Deep Lake is only 300 feet wide, or the same length as a football field.

How Was Deep Lake Formed?

Deep Lake was formed by a sinkhole around 6,000 years ago. Sinkholes are the result of the land naturally collapsing, causing the surrounding land and rock to sink into the ground. Drought conditions often contribute to the conditions that are ripe for sinkholes to occur. Another interesting fact about Deep Lake is that the top half is freshwater, and the lower half is saltwater. That makes for a unique ecosystem!

Where Is Deep Lake Located on a Map?

Deep Lake is situated within Big Cypress National Preserve. It is about about 14 miles from Everglades City and in Collier County, which houses part of the Everglades National Park. The uninhabited unincorporated area named after the lake is located along State Route 29.

Can You Fish in Deep Lake?

Deep Lake is not suitable for fishing due to its size, and there is no boat ramp or fishing dock. Although there are a variety of fish species that live in Deep Lake, it is not a common fishing hole.

Can You Swim in Deep Lake?

There is no swimming beach at Deep Lake. Plus, some alligators frequent the lake and surrounding swampland.

Are Boats Allowed on Deep Lake?

There is no boat ramp at Deep Lake. It is not a recreational lake.

Are There Alligators in Deep Lake?

Deep Lake and the surrounding swampland are the perfect habitats for alligators. American alligators live throughout the Cypress National Preserve, and they also inhabit Deep Lake. If you are visiting the lake during the dry season, you will see several alligators basking on the shores!

American Alligator
Deep Lake is home to the American alligator.

©Steve Byland/

What Other Animals Live Around Deep Lake?

Deep Lake is home to a variety of unique and interesting wildlife. Animals that live around the lake and use it as their water source include white-tail deer, black bears, alligators, and occasionally Florida panthers.

Other animals that live in the area are frogs, birds, snakes, wild turkeys, coyotes, bobcats, armadillos, raccoons, opossums, and foxes.

Birdwatchers will also have plenty to see here, with more than 150 species of birds having been recorded in the area, including bald eagles and sandhill cranes. Other smaller mammals, such as squirrels, rabbits, and rats, are also present, along with numerous reptiles, such as snakes and turtles. Deep Lake truly offers something for everyone, from animal lovers to nature enthusiasts alike!

Near-threatened red-cockaded woodpeckers can be found in Florida.


What Kinds of Fish Are in Deep Lake?

The kinds of fish that are present in the Big Cypress National Preserve are the kind that you could find in Deep Lake. The long torpedo-shaped Florida gar can get to be almost 3 feet long. Typically, only big lakes have big fish, but it is possible an older gar could get close to 3 feet, even in a lake as small as Deep Lake. Bowfins are another fish that might be in this Lake. They prefer warm waters and live around vegetation. These fish can get pretty big as well, with some reaching 2.5 feet. At the other end of the spectrum is the eastern mosquito fish, which only reaches 2-3 inches. The little mosquito fish eats small insects and plant material and is one of the most common freshwater fish in Florida.

Bowfin swimming just above riverbed
Bowfins are common in Deep Lake, Florida, though it is not commonly fished.

©Miroslav Halama/

What Is the Deepest Lake in the U.S.?

A collapsed volcano caused Crater Lake in Oregon, the deepest lake in the U.S. It is in the Cascade Mountains in southern Oregon, about 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean. In comparison to Deep Lake, it is 1,853 feet deeper at 1,943 feet deep. That is about 6.5 football fields deep! Around 7,700 years ago, Mount Mazama was a 12,000-foot-tall volcano that erupted and then collapsed. After the collapse, water filled in to create what is now Crater Lake.

Crater Lake form the top of Watchman's Peak
Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States.


What Is the Deepest Lake in the World?

If that doesn’t blow you away, the deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal in Russia. It is more than twice as deep as Crater Lake in Oregon. Lake Baikal is 5,314 feet deep! That is just a hair deeper than a mile! Lake Baikal is thought to have been formed more than a million years ago as a result of being on a “divergent plate boundary,” which simply means that the earth split apart directly at this point. Lake Baikal is a huge deep lake that contains 20% of the world’s freshwater. It is the biggest lake in the world by volume.

Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world at 5,314 feet deep!

©Julia Kuzenkova/

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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