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Torch Lake, Michigan
Destinations Torch Lake Michigan

Renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes in the United States, Torch Lake located in northwest lower Michigan is s often compared to the Caribbean, thanks to its incredibly clear, blue-green waters.

Torch Lake is Michigan's longest inland lake (18 miles) and its second largest inland lake (18,770 acres). Reaching depths of 300-feet, the water stays quite cold late into the summer and often does not freeze in the winter.


The name of the lake is not due to its shape, instead, is derived from translation from the Ojibwa name Was-wa-gon-ong meaning "Place of the Torches," referring to the practice of the local Native American population who once used torches at night to attract fish for harvesting with spears and nets. For a time it was referred to by local European settlers as "Torch Light Lake," which eventually was shortened to its current name.

For watersports like waterskiing and wakeboarding, Torch Lake is nearly perfect. This finger of a lake provides an almost straight shot for miles and miles.

Torch Lake is part of a watershed that begins in northern Antrim County with Six Mile Lake, which is connected by the Intermediate River with Lake Bellaire. The Grass River flows from Lake Bellaire into Clam Lake, which in turn drains into Torch Lake via the short Clam River.

Torch Lake itself is drained by the Torch River, which flows into Lake Skegemog, which opens into Elk Lake. Elk Lake flows into the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay at Elk Rapids. This watershed is popularly known as the Chain of Lakes.