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Black Lake

Coordinates: 42.96784°N 76.76218°W

Elevation: 380 feet/115.8 meters


Google Earth View (Black Lake (left) and Main Pool (right)



Black Lake is located at the northern end of Cayuga Lake at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in Seneca County.

Physical Features

Irregularly shaped and rather low in elevation compared to a lot of the lakes in the region, Black Lake is thought to have been at one time attached to Cayuga Lake. It sits in the organically rich muck marshlands of the Savannah plain--a region known for its potatoes and the Montezuma Mosquito Fest. Of considerable biological and geological significance, the Montezuma Marshes have been designated a National Natural Landmark.


The 91-acre Black Lake is fed by two underground salt springs, which add enough salt to the lake water that portions of it don't freeze in the winter. (For more information on salt, see salt mines.


The level of much of the water at the refuge is regulated by dikes, which are opened at certain times of the year to flood the area for migrating birds. When this happens, a wet area to the east of the lake called the Main Pool joins the lake. When flooded in this manner, the area becomes a 1,600-acre wetland.


Human access to the lake is prohibited, however, there is a parking lot and an overlook on a rise just to the west of the lake on State Route 89, which runs through the refuge. You can observe the lake and its activity from that point. Using a spotting scope is helpful.

Wildlife Watching

The refuge is considered one of the best wildlife-watching spots in the Finger Lakes region. At the lake, you should be able to see muskrats, beaver, river otter, and an extensive list of birds, including mallards, black ducks, canvasbacks, ring-necked ducks, and Canada and snow geese. Both bald eagles and osprey nest at the refuge.

Parks, Forests and Wildlife Management Areas

Cayuga Lake State Park

Nearby Places of Interest

Erie Canal

Montezuma Audubon Center

Montezuma Winery

Women's Rights National Historical Park

Accommodations--Bed & Breakfasts

Barrister's Bed & Breakfast

56 Cayuga St.

Seneca Falls, NY 13148


The Guion House Bed & Breakfast

32 Cayuga St.

Seneca Falls, NY 13148


Hubbell House on VanCleef Lake

42 Cayuga St.

Seneca Falls, NY 13148


John Morris Manor Bed & Breakfast

2138 State Route 89

Seneca Falls, NY 13148


Locustwood Inn

3563 State Route 89

Seneca Falls, NY 13148


VanCleef Homestead Bed & Breakfast

86 Cayuga St.

Seneca Falls, NY 13148



Oak Orchard Marina & Campground

State Rt. 89 at May's Point

Savannah, NY 13148



Eagle View Cabin

2850 Armitage Rd.

Savannah, NY 13146



Created 10 August 2011








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