Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake

Top 10 Largest Artificial Lake in USA

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In the United States, there are several very big constructed lakes. However, where do you start? This list will provide an overview of the biggest man-made lakes. However, it does not end there. There are further, lesser-known reservoirs that merit your consideration. Lake Mead, Lake Powell, Lake Sakakawea, and even Lake Oahe are worth seeing. Ultimately, you should select the finest one for your vacation depending on your desired destination.

1. Lake Mead

Located in: Arizona

Lake type: Reservoir

Primary inflows: Colorado river

Primary outflows: Colorado rive

lake mead

Lake Mead’s water supply came from the Colorado River, and the lake began to fill in the 1930s. By the end of the 1940s, the lake was around 1,045 feet above sea level. The water level continued to rise, varying between 1,045 and 1,010 feet. The Nevada Division of Wildlife planted rainbow trout into Lake Mead in the early 1960s, and they currently populate the lake.


Lake Mead, one of the biggest lakes created by humans in the United States, is situated in southern Arizona and was created by the Hoover Dam. Due to dryness, despite being the biggest man-made lake in the United States, it is only filled to capacity once every two years. Since then, it has been used for hydroelectric power, leisure, and as a home for a variety of fauna.

2. Lake Powell

Located in: Utah and Arizona

Lake type: Reservoir

Primary inflows: Escalante River, San Juan River, Green River, Colorado river

Primary outflows: Colorado river

Lake Powell

Lake Powell, located at the boundary between Utah and Arizona, is supplied by springtime snowmelt. It is a popular tourist destination and a significant hydropower source. Additionally, the dam maintains consistent water supply in the Lower Basin. In fact, it encompasses more area than the western United States coastline. It also has 96 notable canyons, some of which are 15 miles long.


To make the lake seem as natural as possible, silt from the Colorado and San Juan rivers were used to fill it. Currently, the lake’s storage capacity is diminishing owing to natural and human influences. This enormous lake is a Colorado River reservoir that straddles the state lines of Arizona and Utah. The development of the lake was made possible by the Glen Canyon Dam, which is located on the Colorado River where Arizona and Utah meet.

3. Sakakawea

Located in: North Dakota

Lake type: Reservoir

Primary inflows: Missouri river, Milk river, Yellowstone river

Primary outflows: Missouri river

Lake Sakakawea Shoreline Commerce Aerials
Lake Sakakawea Shoreline Commerce Aerials

North Dakota’s Lake Sakakawea is an immense reservoir. It is one of the biggest man-made lakes in the United States, with more than 1,300 miles of coastline. Several wildlife management zones and state parks border the lake. It is the location of the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge and one of the state’s major parks. Numerous national parks and a variety of water activities, including fishing, boating, and camping, are located around Lake Sakakawea. This lake is an important source of hydroelectric power as well as a popular leisure area.

4. Oahe

Located in: South Dakota and North Dakota
Lake type: Reservoir
Primary inflows: Missouri river, Cheyenne river, Moreau River, Grand river
Primary outflows: Missouri river

Lake Oahe, SD, winter
Lake Oahe

South Dakota, where the Oahe Dam is situated, has one of the largest lakes in the United States. This earthen dam produces the fourth-largest manmade reservoir in the United States, with a surface area of 374,000 acres. In addition to providing irrigation, hydroelectric electricity, and navigational advantages, Lake Oahe offers extensive recreational opportunities for locals and tourists. Additionally, the dam provides power to a number of Midwestern states. However, climate change and large-scale mining activities have emerged as significant issues for Lake Oahe.

5. Fort Peck

Located in: Montana

Lake type: Reservoir

Primary inflows: Missouri river, Musselshell river, Fourchette Creek, Dry Creek

Primary outflows: Missouri river

fort peck Lake montana boondocking
fort peck lake

Fort Peck Lake is a man-made reservoir in central Montana with a length of 1,520 kilometers and a depth of 200 feet. The reservoir is produced by damming the Missouri River. It has 27 approved recreational areas along its shores. Fort Peck Lake is a prominent tourist destination. The lake offers flood control and water quality management and serves as a habitat for a variety of fish and game. The dam helps supply irrigation water to local farmers and controls floods along Missouri River tributaries. Moreover, it serves as a reservoir during high floods.

6. Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake

Located in: Washington

Lake type: Reservoir

Primary inflows: Columbia river, Spokane river, San Poil River

Primary outflows: Columbia river

Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake
Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake

Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, sometimes known as Lake Roosevelt, is an artificial lake in Washington. It was constructed by the Grand Coulee Dam and is the sixth-largest artificial lake in the United States. The lake is 150 miles long and 125 square miles in area. It has a maximum depth of 46 feet and serves several purposes, such as hydroelectric power and water supply. The lake offers several recreational activities and also acts as a refuge for animals.

7. Kentucky

Located in: Kentucky
Lake type: Reservoir
Primary inflows: N/A,
Primary outflows: N/A

Lake Kentucky
Kentucky Lake

The location of Kentucky Lake is in the state of Kentucky. This lake is one of the country’s biggest freshwater lakes, with 85 meters of water. The lake is located between the mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky and is included in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. It is a popular location for water-based leisure. It is situated in Kentucky and boasts water of a brilliant blue color. There are state wildlife areas, dozens of group campers, approximately 100 commercial and recreational places, and three minor wildlife areas in addition to watercraft.

During the summer, the water temperature of Kentucky Lake changes by around five feet every day and is acceptable for swimming. Despite the chilly temperature, the water is often suitable for swimming. The TVA drains the lake throughout the winter to maintain the water level in the reservoir. Consequently, it is one of the biggest man-made lakes in the United States and the largest reservoir in the TVA’s system.

8. Cumberlan

  • Located in: Kentucky
    Lake type: Reservoir
    Primary inflows: Cumberland river
    Primary outflows: Cumberland river
Lake Cumberland

If you have ever visited the eastern United States, you have definitely seen Lake Cumberland’s splendor. This artificial lake is more than 100 miles long and was formed by the Wolf Creek Dam. The lake is surrounded by the Tennessee and Kentucky state boundary, and its coastline is over a thousand miles long. Thus, it is one of the biggest man-made lakes in the United States.

On Lake Cumberland, several activities are available to visitors. There are houseboat rentals and a gorgeous, forested coastline in this location. In addition to boating, fishing, boating, water skiing, and hiking are popular activities. The lake is an excellent daytime destination.


9. Koocanusa

Located in: Montana

Lake type: Reservoir

Primary inflows: Kootenay river

Primary outflows: Kootenay river

Lake Koocanusa

The Libby Dam produced Lake Koocanusa, the sixth largest manmade lake in the United States. The lake in Montana is over 90 miles long and has a maximum depth of 310 feet. It generates hydroelectric electricity, protects against flooding, and serves as a haven for wildlife, benefiting both humans and animals. Lake Koocanusa is an ideal site to enjoy lake life and explore the myriad outdoor activities available in the region, since it provides a variety of recreational opportunities throughout the year.

10. Bull Shoals

Located in: Missouri
Lake type: Reservoir
Primary inflows: White River
Primary outflows: White River

Bull Shoals
Bull Shoals Lake

The lake is 183 square kilometers in size, or 45,150 acres. It is 64 meters deep at its deepest point and runs into and out of the White River. Aside from its natural beauty, the lake has been designated as a state park. This lake has several leisure options, such as fishing, boating, swimming, and camping.

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