Just 25 miles south of Rochester, Hemlock Lake offers a unique experience in the Finger Lakes where most lakeshores are developed. The beautifully wooded shorelines and hillsides of Hemlock and smaller Sister lake, Canadice Lake, provide an atmosphere often experienced only in more remote areas.
A boat size/horsepower limitation contributes importantly to the "unspoiled" atmosphere. Because the lake is a water source to Rochester, shore development is restricted and boats can be no longer than 16 feet and outboard motors no larger than 10 horsepower. Swimming is not permitted in the lake.
Public boat access is available only at the northeast corner of the lake, off Rix Road, and at the southeast corner off Route 15A. Both unimproved access points have gravel ramps.
Visitors are asked to respect the very sensitive area as a source of public drinking water.
Visit the Department of Environmental Conservation online to learn more about which activities are subject to rules and regulations in the area.
New York State DEC's Hemlock-Canadice State Forest
This 6,684-acre property is truly unique - two beautiful Finger Lakes with largely undeveloped shorelines. Hemlock and Canadice Lakes have provided drinking water for the City of Rochester for more than 100 years.
Over the decades, the land was reforested, but a few traces of its past, such as stone walls, remain. Today, Hemlock and Canadice Lakes, with their steep forested shorelines guarding the deep clear water, show visitors a glimpse of the past, when all the Finger Lakes were wild lakes. Learn more here.
The Seneca people used the lake and its surrounding area for hunting and fishing near the south end of the lake up until the late 1770s. In September 1779 General John Sullivan and his army drove the natives away from the lake as part of the Sullivan Expedition.
In the 1790s Hemlock Lake received its first white settlers. Most of these settlers were involved in the lumber industry and built their homes out of wooden slabs by the outlet which is located at the north end of the lake. For a time, this place was known as "Slab City". The lake was used to float logs to Slab City in the summer months as well as to haul logs on the ice in the winter time.
Hemlock Lake Facts and FAQs
How Long is Hemlock Lake?
Like Canadice Lake, Hemlock Lake is virtually undeveloped. Its seven miles of length has almost no real-estate, making the lake ideal for fishing, or canoeing.
How Wide is Hemlock Lake?
Hemlock Lake is just a half-mile across. Its shores are relatively straight, meaning the half-mile width is maintained for nearly the whole length.
How Deep is Hemlock Lake?
Like its neighbor Canadice Lake, Hemlock is fairly deep, despite its size. The maximum depth is 91 feet.