The lakes of Door County
The waters of Lake Michigan and Green Bay are wonderful — but sometimes, you can’t beat the pace of a day spent on an inland lake. Kayak and swim the shallow, serene waters of Kangaroo Lake, or spend a lazy day fishing on Europe Lake. And if open water is calling your name, take to Lake Michigan or Green Bay for sailing, a ferry ride, or view from above with parasailing. Learn more about the lakes of Door County.
The Inland Lakes of Door County
At 1,156 acres, Kangaroo Lake is Door County’s largest inland lake and is located in Baileys Harbor. With a maximum depth of 12 feet, it’s an ideal spot for swimming, boating, fishing, kayaking and canoeing. Find Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye.
A causeway was built in the late 1800s and separates the lake into the developed southern portion and the undeveloped northern portion, which consists of extensive wetlands. The entire north end of Kangaroo Lake is ringed by floating sedge mats and surrounded by lowland forest of white cedar, black ash, tamarack, black spruce, and balsam fir. The lake is owned by The Nature Conservancy and the Door County Land Trust. It was designated a State Natural Area in 2002.
The natural beauty of this pristine lake is unparalleled. The lake is located in a basin a half mile from the Lake Michigan shore, which contains a number of water communities such as a shallow, a marl-bottom lake, northern upland forest, northern wet-mesic forest and marsh. It is home to one of just two known reproducing populations of the federally endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly.
Kangaroo Lake is home to diversity of forest and wildflowers, as well as rare and endangered species including the dorcas copper butterfly, the bald eagle, osprey and Caspian terns. It provides a breeding and migratory habitat for black terns, sandhill cranes and other waterfowl.
The second-largest lake in Door County at 865 acres, Clark Lake is located just north of Whitefish Dunes State Park near Jacksonport on the eastern side of the peninsula. Its maximum depth is 25 feet and mean depth is 7 feet.
Clark Lake is very clear, and is a popular fishing spot in Wisconsin. The fish found in Clark Lake include Panfish, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye, Largemouth Bass and Trout.
Clark Lake has one public boat landing, at the end of Town Line Road on the west side of the lake, and can be accessed from three public parks or natural areas: Logan Creek State Natural Area along the north side of the lake, Whitefish Dunes State Park on the east side of the lake, and Whitefish Dunes State Natural Area to the southeast.
This 297-acre lake is located near Gills Rock at the eastern tip of the Door County peninsula near the Lake Michigan shoreline. Europe Lake can be accessed from parks, public lands and a public boat landing at the end of Europe Lake Road. Nearby public lands include Newport State Park to the south, Ferdinand Hotz Park and Europe Bay Woods State Natural Area.
Europe Lake, which has a mean depth of 6 feet and a maximum depth of 10 feet, is mainly a lowland marsh. It’s a popular Wisconsin fishing lake, where anglers can find Panfish, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye.
Europe Lake is the most eastern lake in Wisconsin.
Coming in as the second smallest lake at only 92 acres, Lost Lake is located almost directly between Egg Harbor and Jacksonport, sitting southeast of the Egg Harbor Fun Park. It is 5 feet deep at its maximum. The bottom is 95 percent muck and 5 percent gravel.
Since Lost Lake is a seepage lake, it gets its water from runoff or any precipitation Door County might have. It is part of a watershed with Logan Creek and Clark Lake.
Lost Lake is landlocked and currently has no public access points.
The smallest lake in Door County at 65 acres, Little Lake is located within 250 feet of Lake Michigan on the northwest side of Washington Island.
Little Lake was created thousands of years ago and is currently only 3 feet above Lake Michigan lake level. The northern end of the lake is home to calcareous-loving plants such as buckbean, marsh bellflower, and marsh cinquefoil. It is surrounded by white cedar and hemlock. It is also a nesting habitat for many migratory birds such as red-shouldered hawk and black-throated blue warbler. The lake is also a breeding ground for many types of amphibians including the blue spotted salamander.
The area was once home to a village of Native Americans and has a burial ground. Artifacts as old as 3000 years have been found in the area.
Little Lake is owned by the Door County Land Trust. The lake is accessible via a trailhead located at 2285 Main Rd.
This 347 acre lake is located on the northeast side of Chambers Island. The lake has a maximum depth of 27 feet and mean depth of 6 feet. The bottom is 80% sand, 17% gravel, and 3% muck. The water clarity is low.
Most of Chambers Island is privately owned, but there is a public boat launch at the East Dock on the island. The lake can be accessed via road from there.
The lake is home to a number of fish including Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, and Northern Pike. Within Mackaysee Lake are also two smaller islands.
Head to the lakeshore
There's no shortage of waterfront to explore in Door County. The crystal-clear inland lakes and larger, surrounding waters also provide opportunity for activities like fishing, swimming and boating. Or, let the lapping waters provide a relaxing backdrop for watching the sunset after a full day. Explore the many ways to enjoy Door County's lakes.