The 15 Highest Elevation Lakes in the World

Written by Taiwo Victor
Updated: April 1, 2022
Image Credit Afonso Farias/Shutterstock.com
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Lakes are formed in various ways, such as through tectonic plate movements or collapsing of a mountain. Natural lakes are formed by multiple Earthly physical processes, whereas man-made lakes are created by damming rivers or ancient mining craters. The Earth has a collection of lakes that vary in size, length, depth, and salinity. Some of these lakes can lie in very low elevations, while others are high in mountain ranges. Lakes located at high altitudes are called alpine lakes. A lake is considered an alpine lake if it reaches 10,000 feet or 3,000 meters above sea level.

Alpine lakes tend to be clearer than lakes located at lower elevations because the cooler water reduces algae and moss formation. These lakes are also well-known for their aesthetics because they are often surrounded by aspens, pines, and other beautiful trees in high altitudes. This article will explore the 15 highest elevation lakes located across the globe.

The 15 Highest Elevation Lakes in the World

15. Lake Titicaca

Fed by more than 25 rivers, Lake Titicaca is one of the highest lakes in the world.

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Located at an elevation of 12,507 feet or 3,812 meters, Lake Titicaca in the Andean Altiplano is one of the highest lakes in the world. Since most alpine lakes do not have massive surface areas, Lake Titicaca is considered the largest alpine lake globally, measuring 3,232 sq mi or 8,372 sq km. The lake is often mistaken as the world’s highest lake, but it isn’t really. There are plenty of other lakes located at even higher surface elevations than Titicaca, but the South American lake is the highest navigable lake by large vessels. Sitting between Bolivia and Peru, Lake Titicaca is fed by more than 25 rivers and is home to a wide variety of fauna and aquatic life. The lake is home to a wide variety of fish, although the majority of them are killifish and catfish

14. Karda Lake

Located at a surface elevation of 18,438.32 feet or 5,620 meters, Karda lake is an enormous alpine lake situated on the northern slope of Mount Everest in Tibet, China. Karda Lake dwarfs the other pools on this list, covering an area of around 70 hectares. Several lakes have emerged along Himalayan glaciers in the last decade or so due to climate change, and Karda Lake is one of them. 

13. Damavand Pool

Sitting at 18,602 feet above sea level, the Damavand Summit measures around 65 to 131 in diameter.

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The Damavand Summit has a small glacier located in the volcano’s crater, which accumulates snow and ice in the winter and remains frozen for most of the year on average. The volcano is located in Iran and is the highest peak in the country. It’s also the highest volcano in Asia. In the summer, though, the ice would melt and form a little pool or lake that counts as one of the highest lakes in the world. The Damavand Pool sits at approximately 18,602 feet or 5,670 meters above sea level and measures about 65 to 131 feet in diameter.

12. Ridonglabo Lake

The Ridonglabo Lake in Tibet is another Himalayan lake and a must-see destination. It is one of the highest lakes in the world, sitting at an elevation of 19,032 feet or 5,801 meters. It is easy to fall in love with this lake because of its stunning environment. The melted glaciers formed the lake and surrounded it by spectacular mountains. As the lake is about 8.6 miles or 14 kilometers from Mount Everest, it’s an excellent opportunity for travelers to see both the lake and the world-famous mountain.

11. Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes is surrounded by numerous volcanoes.

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The Aguas Calientes Pool is a crater lake at the summit of the Aguas Calientes volcano located in Chile. On the western tip of South America lies Aguas Calientes Pool, a long and narrow lake with a thin coastline. It is one of the world’s highest lakes, located at 19,130 feet or 5,831 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by numerous volcanoes, making it a popular tourist destination during the winter months. People living in the region report that the lake contains a small amount of acidic material. 

10. Bonete Lake

Despite Cerro Bonete’s high altitude of 19,192 feet, it is a wonderful place to spend the holidays.

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Located in the Cerro Bonete mountain peak in Chile, one of the highest peaks in the world, the Bonete Lake makes it to the highest lakes on the planet. It has an altitude of 19,192 feet or 5,850 meters. Based on the sediments found on the slopes of this little basin, the lake can occasionally grow to twice its current size. Despite its high altitude, the lake is also a wonderful place to spend the holidays with your family.

9. Lake Licancabur

Having a salty content, Lake Licancabur is seated at 19,140 feet above sea level.

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Lake Licancabur, located in Chile’s Licancabur volcano, is the world’s ninth-highest lake, at 19,410 feet or 5,916 meters. The water in this lake is known for being exceptionally clear. During the colder months, many people flock around the lake. The climate around it is generally described as arid and chilly. This lake also possesses a high level of ultra-radiation, which has led to comparisons to the Martian environment. The lake has a salty content and may be heated by geothermal processes.

8. Acamarachi Pool

The Acamarachi Pool sits at 19,520 feet above sea level.

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Located in Chile, the Acamarachi Pool ranks as one of the world’s highest lakes, sitting at 19,520 feet or 5,950 meters. Cerro Pili, the stratovolcano that contains the lake, may be extinct. The lake is reported to have its crater pool, which is only 33 to 49 feet or 10 to 15 meters in diameter. The lake is known to be unsafe. Hence, it is not recommended for vacations or visits. 

7. Cerro Walter Penck/Cerro Cazadero/Cerro Tipas

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Located just southwest of Ojos del Salado (more about that later), the Cerro Walter Penck sits at an elevation of 19,652 feet or 5,990 meters. Argentina is known for several things, including football and Cazadero. The Cazadero Lake, located in Argentina, is one of the world’s highest elevation lakes. Since it is located high up in the mountains, it is a rare tourist destination. If you’re looking for a lonely but peaceful and calm spot in Argentina, this is the ideal place to go.

6. East Rongbuk Pool

The famous Rongbuk Monastery stands at the northern end of the Rongbuk Valley.

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The East Rongbuk Pool has a surface elevation of 20,013 feet or 6,100 meters. It is an ephemeral meltwater lake in Tibet, high in the Himalayas. The lake is produced as melting snow meets at the Rongbuk Glacier’s eastern tributary and the Changtse Glacier’s eastern tributary. The pool empties and goes dry at the end of the season. At the northern end of the Rongbuk valley stands the famed Rongbuk Monastery. 

5. Pular Pool

Located at the Pular volcano, the Pular Pool is 20,308 feet above sea level.

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With an elevation of 20,308 feet or 6,190 meters, Pular Pool is one of the world’s highest lakes, located in the Antofagasta area in northern Chile. The place is often arid, but it becomes very beautiful when the snow comes in during winter. As the lake is covered in snow during the winter, the true beauty of this location is revealed. It is located at the Pular volcano, a massive stratovolcano along the Andes mountain range

4. Tres Cruces Norte

Tres Cruces Norte Lake is Chile’s second-highest lake.

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Located in Chile, Tres Cruces Norte Lake is one of the world’s highest lakes, sitting at an altitude of 20,361 feet or 6,206 meters. It’s also worth noting that this is Chile’s second-highest lake. The lake is famous for scuba diving as many people usually flock to scuba dive in this lake. Hiking, trekking, and scuba diving have all been popular activities in the area. The Nevado de Tres Cruces volcano where it sits last erupted 28,000 years ago. 

3. Changtse Pool

One of the world’s most magnificent lakes is the Changtse Pool.

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In Tibet, the Changtse Pool is one of the world’s most magnificent lakes and was developed in the Changste Glacier near Mount Everest. It can be found at 20,394 feet or 6,216 meters above sea level. It’s been shown on tropical maps and is estimated to be 590 ft by 755 ft in size. Changtse Peak, linked to Mount Everest, was initially discovered by George Mallory in 1924.

2. Lhagba Pool

Now considered extinct, the Lhagba Pool sat at 20,892 feet above sea level.

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The Lhagba Pool was once one of the highest elevation lakes in the world, but a review of evidence, including satellite pictures, indicates that it has dried up. It was the highest lake in Tibet and the second-highest lake in the world, after the crater lake of Ojos del Salado. The pool used to sit at 20,892 feet or 6,368 meters above sea level. Located a few miles north of Everest, this lake is now considered extinct.

1. Ojos del Salado

Located in Argentina, Ojos del Salado is the highest lake in the world.

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Located in Argentina, Ojos del Salado ranks as the world’s highest active volcano and the world’s highest lake. It sits at an elevation of 20,965 feet or 6,390 meters and has barely 328 feet or 100 meters in circumference. This tourist destination is well-known for its hiking and sightseeing opportunities. It attracts travelers from all over the world due to its stunning beauty.

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