Michigan’s Torch Lake Looks Exactly Like The Caribbean Sea

Michigan’s Torch Lake Looks Exactly Like The Caribbean Sea

Torch Lake at 19 miles (31 km) long is Michigan’s longest inland lake and at approximately 18,770 acres is Michigan’s second largest inland lake.

Surrounding it are several townships including Torch Lake Township, Central Lake Township, Forest Home Township, Helena Township, and Milton Township in Antrim County and Clearwater Township in Kalkaska County, Michigan.

Several villages and hamlets lie along its shore, including Alden, Eastport, Clam River, and Torch Lake. The lake is about 17 miles (27 km) northeast of Traverse City and is separated by narrow strips of land from both Grand Traverse Bay on the northwest and Elk Lake at the southwest end.

The lake is about two miles (3.2 km) wide and is centered at 44°59′00″N 85°18′30″W. It has a maximum depth of 285 feet (87 m) just off the east end of Campbell Rd. (Milton Twp.) and an average depth of 111 feet (34 m), making it Michigan’s deepest inland lake, as well as the state’s largest by volume.

It is a popular lake for fishing, featuring lake trout, rock bass, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, muskellunge, Pike, ciscoes, brown trout, steelhead, rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon and whitefish.

Michigan’s Torch Lake Looks Exactly Like The Caribbean Sea

Looking for your own piece of paradise? You can skip the flight to the Caribbean and head to Michigan’s tropical Torch Lake. Torch Lake will remind you of the Caribbean with its crystal clear turquoise waters, white sandbars, and raucous summer parties.

The lake was once part of the much larger Lake Michigan but was separated into its own lake by the formation of a sandbar across the northwest mouth of the lake. The lake is now the second largest in the state of Michigan, nearly 19,000 acres and a maximum depth of 285 feet. Torch Lake is known to Michiganders as both a summer party lake and a vacation destination for the rich and famous of Michigan.

The crystal clear turquoise waters of Torch Lake, Michigan.

Its famous sandbar is the location of summer parties, with boats anchoring alongside the sandbars.  The water depth steeply drops off from the sandbar, turning the water from a tropical turquoise to a deep blue. The lake is perfect for water skiing, boating, and fishing and is a popular tourist destination for Michiganders.

Several famous Michiganders call Torch Lake their home, including Kid Rock, Michael Moore, and Eminem. The lake is named after a local Native American tradition where tribes would use torches to attract fishes at night.

You may be wondering what causes Torch Lake to have such beautiful crystal clear turquoise waters. The answer lies largely in the underlying geology. The lake is a fjord-like bay that was carved by glaciers during the last glaciation (ice age). As glaciers retreated during the end of the glaciation, they carved lakes and glacial till. Under great pressures, ice can behave similarly to a viscous liquid.

Over time, a glacier picks up gravel, rocks, and sometimes boulders in the ice. As the glacier flows and moves it acts as sandpaper, carving out glacial lakes and pulverizing the underlying rock into fine glacial till.

#TorchLake photos like this are perfect for that #FridayFeeling (via Dewitt Marine at https://t.co/wzUYSnIDzp) pic.twitter.com/7Vwj2dgLTM

— Torch Lake, Michigan (@4torch) October 23, 2015

The sediments at the bottom of Torch Lake are primarily calcium carbonate (limestone), pulverized when glaciers once sat where the lake now lies. The combination of fine calcium carbonate white sediment and very low organic content means there’s nothing to darken or discolor the lake’s water. Coincidently, much of the Caribbean is also limestone with low organic content. This is why both Torch Lake and the Caribbean sea look so similar.

So next time you’re looking for a white sandy beach to dig your toes into and crystal clear water, take a look north at Michigan’s Torch Lake.

Can you swim in Torch Lake?

Torch Lake is a particularly beautiful lake, with unusually clear waters that appear bright turquoise and resemble Caribbean waters. This is one of only a few public swimming areas on the lake. Officially, the water is tested for recreational standards from May 1 to October 31.

Is Torch Lake Worth Visiting?

You don’t need to travel far to experience crystal waters, Torch Lake offers a piece of Caribbean paradise. Imagine pristine and deep waters, amazing sandbars, delicious meals by the dock, and other exciting activities to enjoy. All these and more make Torch Lake a perfect weekend getaway with family and friends!

Is Torch Lake warm enough to swim in?

May average water temperature in Torch Lake is 43.7°F, the minimum temperature is 34.7°F, and the maximum is 54.5°F. The swimming season in Torch Lake lasts from July to September. During those months, Torch Lake water temperature does not drop below 68°F and therefore suitable for comfortable swimming.

What part of Torch Lake is the best?

One of the best places to enjoy Torch Lake is the two-mile sandbar. With inviting white sand that wouldn’t look out of place on the shores of a Caribbean vacation resort either, this sandbar is a great gathering place for locals and tourists alike. Here you can enjoy all kinds of activities, such as swimming, sunbathing, kayaking and fishing.

Fishing is especially popular in Lake Torch, MI, where the lake is home to huge populations of popular fish such as lake trout, bass, rainbow trout, brown trout, Atlantic salmon, smallmouth bass, and many more.

Is Torch Lake Family Friendly?

It’s truly the perfect place to take your family for a night close to the beach and surrounding harbors. Near Torch Lake is the cherry capital of the United States, Traverse City. Any direction you drive will take you through miles upon miles of cherry orchards, where the air is fresh and breezy.

Is Torch Lake salt water?

These stones are a remnant of the once shallow, saltwater sea that covered ancient Northern Michigan, housing coral reefs and plenty of other organic material. 5. Michigan’s DNR named the Chain of Lakes one of the first eight state-designated water trails.

Does Torch Lake freeze over?

Torch Lake is one of the most extraordinary lakes in Michigan. As a result, Torch Lake has the longest flushing rate of any lake in the Elk River Chain of Lakes. Often, it does not freeze because of the large amount of heat stored in its vast volume.


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