Home > Basics > Lakes

Otter Lake

Coordinates: 43.139°N 76.533°W

Elevation: 396 feet/120.7 meters


Otter Lake is a small lake in the Town of Cato in Cayuga County in the Finger Lakes, New York USA.

Otter is a small, quiet, peaceful lake in the Town of Cato, Cayuga County. Covering about 277 acres, it is only about 1.5 mi./2.4 km. long and 10 ft./3 m. deep.


Like most glacial lakes in the region, Otter runs south to north. It drains into nearby Parker Pond via an unnamed creek through a wetland at its northern end. In fact, Otter Lake is almost entirely surrounded by wetlands. From Parker Pond, the water drains via Muskrat Creek into the Seneca River 7 mi./11.2 km. to the south.


The land around the lake is private. Access to the lake can be made at Leisure Acres Mobile Home Park (315-626-6560) on Otter Lane off Bonta Bridge Road, which runs along the east side of the lake. There is a small parking area there next to the home of the owner of the access point, who charges a launch fee on the honor system. (You'll see a box with instructions.) This is easy paddling for canoers and kayakers. The distance around the lake is about 3.4 mi./5.5 km. and should take about 2-3 hours. There are no facilities of any kind at the launch site or in the area. The nearest village is Meridian to the north.


It is not possible to kayak or canoe from Otter Lake to Parker Pond as the waterway is too narrow and too shallow. In fact, during the summer, it often dries up. However, you can access Parker Pond from the Parker's Pond Gun Shop on Shortcut Road (315-626-2605). A fee is charged. This is an easy paddle and good for beginners. The distance around the pond is about 2.3 mi./3.7 km. and should take you about 2 hours. Keep in mind that the depth of the pond is only about 6 ft./1.8 m. There are no restroom facilities.


Paddling both Otter Lake and Parker Pond are described (with a map) in Take a Paddle by Rich and Sue Freeman. See the Bookstore below.


Although there are no otters in Otter Lake, the Otter Lake/Parker Pond ecosystem offers a wide variety of wildlife. Beavers, muskrats, turtles, waterflowl, and a number of fish species live in or around the lake and pond. Much of the land around the lake and pond is cultivated farmland--the home of deer, foxes, opossum, skunks, owls, and other animals.


In addition, Cayuga County owns a small parcel of land on the west shore of Parker Pond where an old railroad bed serves as a hiking trail. This creates the Cato-Fair Haven Trail (about 14.5 mi./23.3 km. one way) that runs north to the Village of Fair Haven on Lake Ontario. (trail map) Hiking, biking, horses, and snowmobiles or allowed on the trail.


There are no accommodations around the lake or pond or nearby. Check the Accommodations section for bed and breakfasts and campgrounds in the county.








Your ad could go here!


Your ad could go here!