12 Interesting Facts About Lake Huron

Did you know that two of the 5 Great Lakes of North America are actually connected?

In this post, you’ll the ultimate list of interesting facts about Lake Huron, one of the most amazing lakes in the world!

1. Lake Huron is located in both Canada and the United States

Lake Huron is a large freshwater lake located in the north of the United States and the south of Canada. It’s shared by the U.S. state of Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario.

The lake covers a bigger area in Canada with 13,904 square miles (36,010 square kilometers), while the lake just covers 9,103 square miles (23,580 square kilometers) in the United States.

facts about Lake Huron

2. It’s the third-largest freshwater lake in the world

One of the most amazing facts about Lake Huron is that it’s the third-largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area as it covers a total area of 23,007 square miles (59,588 square kilometers).

Only Lake Superior (31,700 square miles / 82,100 square kilometers) and Lake Victoria in Africa (26,590 square miles / 68,870 square kilometers) are bigger.

The total catchment area of Lake Huron is 51,700 square miles (134,100 square kilometers), it has a maximum length of 206 miles (332 kilometers), and a maximum width of 183 miles (295 kilometers).

5 Great Lakes of North America
The 5 Great Lakes of North America / Wiki Commons

3. It’s connected to another famous make in the United States

If you look closely, you can see that Lake Huron is actually connected to Lake Michigan. This connection is referred to as the “Strait of Mackinac,” a strait with a length of 5 miles (8 kilometers) and a maximum depth of 120 feet (37 meters).

One of the most amazing bridges in the United States crosses the Strait of Mackinac and is fittingly called the “Mackinac Bridge.”

This also means that if both lakes are considered to be one lake, which is then referred to as “Lake Michigan-Huron,” it actually is the largest freshwater lake in the world covering a total area of 45,300 square miles (117,300 square kilometers).

While the flow of the lake is mostly to the east, this can vary based on the conditions throughout the year.

Mackinac bridge
The Mackinac Bridge / Wiki Commons

4. It’s far from being the largest lake by volume

The lake has one major inlet, which is the St. Marys River, the only outlet of Lake Superior. This River then flows into Lake Huron through a large number of locks referred to as the “Soo Locks,” allowing ships to bypass the rapids of the river.

The only outlet of the lake is the St. Clair River which then drains into Lake St. Clair to continue the so-called “Great lakes Waterway” and into Lake Erie.

One of the most fascinating facts about Lake Huron is that the residence time of the water, the time between the water flowing into the lake from the St. Marys River and flowing out of it through the St. Clair River is only 22 years. To put this in context, the residence time of the water in Lake Superior is 195 years!

That’s because it’s only the third-largest of the 5 Great Lakes by volume with a total volume of 850 cubic miles (3,543 cubic kilometers). That’s significantly less than the largest lake in the world by surface area, Lake Baikal in Siberia which has a total volume of 5,700 cubic miles (23,600 cubic kilometers).

Lake Huron has an average depth of 195 feet (59 meters) and a maximum depth of 750 feet (229 meters).

Lake Huron Interesting facts

5. It has the longest shoreline of all of the 5 Great Lakes

Another one of those amazing facts about Lake Huron is that it has the longest shoreline of all of the 5 Great Lakes, mainly because it has over 30,000 islands!

The shore length of the lake itself is 1,850 miles (2,980 kilometers) while the shoreline of all islands combined is 1,980 miles (3,190 kilometers).

Lake huron in the sun
Shores of the lake / Msoccer29 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.en

6. Lake Huron features the largest lake island in the world

The largest lake island in the world is called Manitoulin Island. It’s located near the northern shore of the lake and on the border of the Canadian province of Ontario and it’s the largest freshwater lake island in the world.

It covers a total area of 1,068 square miles (2,766 square kilometers). What’s really remarkable is that it is home to over 100 lakes itself, with the 3 largest also containing several islands themselves!

Manitoulin Island
Manitoulin Island / Wiki Commons

7. The surface elevation of the lake fluctuates throughout the year

The average surface elevation of the lake is 577 feet (176 meters) above sea level, which is about the same as the surface elevation of Lake Michigan.

This number fluctuates throughout the year though, with the highest levels of water being recorded in October and November, and the lowest levels during the winter months between December and February.

The highest recording happened in the summer of 1986 with the water level rising 5.92 feet (1.80 meters) above the average. The lowest record was set in the winter of 1964 with the height dropping 1.38 feet (42 centimeters) below the average.

Lake Huron seen from Manitoulin Island

8. The lake was formed at the end of the last ice age

Lake Huron was formed in the same manner as all the other 5 Great Lakes, and that was because the continental glaciers retreated at the end of the last Ice Age, which was between 115,000 and 11,700 years ago.

Before that, two main rivers called the Laurentian and Huronian Rivers flowed through the area, but these are now submerged in the lake, as well as the dozens of tributary rivers.

Ice dunes at Lake Huron
Ice dunes at Lake Huron / Source

9. The lake was named after the people who inhabited the area

The area of the lake has been inhabited for thousands of years and remains of a settlement have been found dating back between 4,000 and 6,000 years ago.

The first Europeans to discover the lake were the French, who initially referred to the lake as “La Mer Douce,’ which translates to “the fresh-water sea.”

This was quickly changed to “Lac des Hurons,” which translates to “Lake of the Huron” and which refers to the people who inhabited the area in the 17th century.

Remarkably, there aren’t any large metropolitan areas on the shores of the lake as with just about all of the other 5 Great lakes. The largest city on the lake is Sarnia in Canada which has a population of just over 70,000.

Sarnia in Canada
Sarnia in Canada / P199 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

10. There are over 1,000 shipwrecks in Lake Huron

Ships have been sailing on Lake Huron as soon as it was discovered. This also means that there have been several accidents, resulting in over 1,000 shipwrecks.

The worst catastrophe happened during the Great Storm of 1913 which happened on November 9 of that year. A total of 10 ships sank, 20 were driven ashore, and 235 sailors lost their lives during a storm that lasted 16 hours.

The prospect for ships was never good because the first European ship to ever sail Lake Huron, called “Le Griffon,” disappeared during its maiden voyage in 1679. Until today, the exact location of this ship hasn’t been officially determined.

Despite this, over 120 historic lighthouses are located along the shores of the lake.

Sunset at Lake Huron
Sunset on the lake / Oliver Chapman / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

11. Invasive fish species pretty much destroyed the lake’s fishing industry

Before the 1930s, the lake was heavily populated with the native fish species called the lake trout. This was a perfect environment for fishing until invasive species were introduced such as the sea lamprey, alewife, and rainbow smelt.

A combination of overfishing and the invasive species completely eradicated the lake trout population by the 1950s, and up until today, none of the attempts to repopulate Lake Huron with this type of fish have been unsuccessful.

Lake Huron Rocks
Shore of the lake / NarparMI / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

12. An island in the lake has been designated as a National Historic Landmark

One of the most popular spots in Lake Huron is Mackinac Island, located at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac. It’s located in the U.S. state of Michigan and covers an area of 4.35 square miles (11.3 square kilometers).

The island was the site of two major battles during the Revolutionary Wars in the year 1812 and has now become a popular tourist destination. It is home to multiple resorts including the iconic Victorian-style Grand Hotel.

One of the most fascinating facts about Lake Huron is that the entire Mackinac Island has been designated as a National Historic Landmark because of its historic significance.

Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island
Grand Hotel / Dehk / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en