Geneva Lake

Geneva Lake is a body of freshwater in Walworth County in southeastern Wisconsin.[1] On its shores are the city of Lake Geneva, and the villages of Fontana-on-Geneva-Lake, and Williams Bay.

Geneva Lake
LocationWalworth County, Wisconsin,
United States
Coordinates42°35′24″N 88°26′06″W
Primary outflowsWhite River
Basin countriesUnited States
Max. length12 km (7.6 mi)
Surface area5,401 acres (8.439 sq mi; 21.86 km2)
Average depth61 feet (19 m)
Max. depth135 feet (41 m)
SettlementsLake Geneva, Fontana-on-Geneva-Lake, Williams Bay

The lake covers an area of approximately 5,401 acres (8.439 sq mi; 21.86 km2),[1] has a maximum length of 7.6 miles (12.2 km),[1] mean depth of 61 feet (19 m)[1] and a maximum depth of 135 feet (41 m).[1] Geologists believe that it is a filled-in kettle formed from a receding glacier.


The lake and the community of Lake Geneva were named for the town of Geneva, New York, located on Seneca Lake, which government surveyor John Brink thought it resembled.[2] To avoid confusion with the nearby town of Geneva, Illinois, the city was renamed Lake Geneva; later the lake was renamed Geneva Lake.

Lakeshore attractions include Big Foot Beach State Park, Lake Geneva Yacht Club, the George Williams College campus of Aurora University, and Yerkes Observatory. The observatory is owned by the University of Chicago, which has established a study group to plan a regional center for science education at the observatory.[3]

Public access to the lake is allowed as the result of a decision by early European settlers that "20 feet of land leading up to the shoreline should be public domain."[4][5][6] A shorepath, which is open to the public, completely surrounds the lake.[4][5][6] Between 21[5][6] and 26[4] miles long, it follows the route taken by Potawatomi Indians.[4] The path crosses the estates of the Schwinns, Swifts, Wackers, and Wrigleys.[4]


  1. "Geneva Lake, Walworth County, 5401 Acres". Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Archived from the original on 2017-09-16. Retrieved 2017-09-16. Name: Geneva Lake, Area: 5401 acres, Maximum Depth: 135 feet, Mean Depth: 61 feet
  2. "A short history of Geneva Lake". University of Lake Geneva. 2003. Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
  3. "Yerkes Study Group formed to consider observatory's future". University of Chicago. 2007. Archived from the original on 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
  4. Timothy J. Tuomey and Magdalene Wise Tuomey (August 28, 1988). "A Hike Around Lake Geneva Is A Walk For All Seasons". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on August 1, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
  5. "Geneva Lake Shorepath Walk". Lake Geneva Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-08-06. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
  6. "Walk, Hike, or Run on the Lake Geneva Lake Shore Path". The Downtown Lake Geneva Business Improvement District. Archived from the original on 2013-07-31. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
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