There are two very special - but virtually unknown - lakes hiding in New York, and you can visit them this weekend.

There's no shortage of natural wonders in the Empire State, and from Niagara Falls to the Catskill mountains, tourists from far and wide flock to see their special beauty. These lakes, however, often escape "must-visit" lists despite being some of the rarest bodies of water in the country.

NY State Parks via Instagram
Cindy P. Bishop/NY State Parks via Instagram

Green Lake State Park in Fayetteville, NY

Welcome to Green Lake State Park in Fayetteville, NY, home to both Green Lake and Round Lake. Similarly to Lake Mohonk, Green and Round Lakes were carved by ancient glaciers; something else, however, separates these lakes from most others in the country.

Meromictic lakes like Green Lake have great "potential for evidence of ancient plant and animal life" (Google)
Meromictic lakes like Green Lake have great "potential for evidence of ancient plant and animal life" (Google)

Meromictic Lakes in New York State

Green Lake and Round Lake are both meromictic lakes, a phenomenon that leads to some unusual characteristics. Meromictic refers to lakes with water that doesn't always mix, specifically the lower and upper levels of the water.


Meromictic lakes are unusual bodies of water that fascinate scientists from many disciplines. Most deep lakes follow a seasonal cycle of stratification and complete mixing, but meromixis is a condition in which a lake does not mix completely

What Makes Green Lake Special

That means Green Lake and Round Lake contain distinct layers of water (called stratification), with colder, denser water separated from the warmer water above. The bottom layer is often deprived of oxygen, making it harder for aquatic species to survive, but these environments are also rich with "potential for evidence of ancient plant and animal life", according to New York State State Parks Department. They are also extremely rare.

Aerial view of Green Lake State Park (Google)
Aerial view of Green Lake State Park (Google)

The parks department reports a total of only 14 natural meromictic lakes in the entire county, with two of them located in Green Lake State Park. Visitors can rent a rowboat to see the phenomenon up close, and camping, day use, and even a golf course are also available. Learn more here, and check out more awesome New York parks below.

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