15 Most Crystal Clear Lakes in the World 

Something about the calm and pristine beauty of clear water attracts us. Although we usually connect crystal or vibrantly colored water with the Caribbean or the South Pacific, such purity is not inclusive to oceans only. 

We may sometimes observe the crystal clear water in lakes and other water bodies. Thanks to nature’s miracles, there are naturally stunning lakes throughout the world.

Many lakes are muddy and murky, but some are so clear that you can see boulders and logs beneath the shimmering surface, and the bottom can appear so close that even a deep lake seems shallow. Fish can also swim near the shore, though clear lakes may not have as many as dark lakes. 

Because murky water contains more organic material and algae, which fish eat, it can support a more significant number of aquatic organisms. However, certain algae forms may be present in a vividly colored lake, giving it lovely coloring. 

The Lake’s location can also affect its water clarity. There is less runoff high up in the mountains, so there’s less dirt and dead plants in the water. 

Glacial lakes, formed by melting glaciers, contain “glacial flour,” a powdery mixture of silt and clay reflecting light in a turquoise hue. The lakes up in the high altitude usually have clear water. 

The appearance of any lake is constantly changing, based on the season, climate, and various other factors. However, some lakes are inherently cleaner than others. 

Low amounts of algae, which occur when the soils surrounding a lake are fast-draining and healthy, are responsible for the Lake’s clarity. 

Algal blooms can be sparked by excessive amounts of plant nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil, further muddying the waters by supporting larger fish populations. 

Let’s look at some crystal clear lakes that appear to be too beautiful to be true. 

1. Crater Lake, America

Crater Lake, America
Crater Lake, America | Image Credit – Flickr

Lake Crater is the deepest Lake in the United States of America. It is recognized for its brilliant blue hue and purity in Oregon. 

The Lake is only fed by rain and snow because there are no inflowing streams. According to the National Park Service, it is the cleanest and most apparent big body of water. Crater Lake National Park surrounds the Lake.

Crater Lake is an ancient caldera, not a crater. Calderas are bowl-shaped depressions formed when a volcano erupts, and most of its lava is ejected. 

According to National Geographic, the Earth around the volcanic vent loses structural support and falls inward, forming a bowl shape without the magma. On the other hand, a crater is formed when the ground around a volcanic vent explodes outward.

The mountains surrounding the crater’s edge are reflected in the Lake’s deep blue waters. The deepest Lake in the United States was created almost 7,000 years ago when a volcano collapsed on itself, creating a “caldera.” 

The National Park Service claims that Crater Lake is one of the purest lakes in the world, with no incoming streams to introduce sediment or minerals. 

It’s water, nourished only by rainfall, snow, and glacial springs. The water is so clear that the visual depth is above 40 meters. 

Wizard Island is home to a crater called the Witches’ Cauldron, a tiny island of sandstone spires called Phantom Ship, and the Old Man, a giant, upright hemlock log that’s been bobbing around the Lake for over a century, are just a few of the mystically named features on this remarkable body of water. Crater Lake is the most stunning place in the United States.

2. Five Flower Lake China

Five Flower Lake, China
Five Flower Lake, China | Image Credit – Flickr

This Lake in southwest China’s Jiuzhaigou National Park often functions as a mirror, reflecting the surrounding scenery, especially beautiful in the fall. 

It’s no surprise that Five Flower Lake has a fabled past. It is told that a goddess lost her mirror, which broke into many pieces, forming the park’s lakes, including this one. 

The Lake also offers a view down to the fallen tree trunks at the bottom of its 5 meters depth, with a rainbow of colors rising from below. This water mass is a sacred lake for the locals, and legend believes numerous flowers would sprout wherever water from the Lake is sprinkled. 

The Jiuzhaigou National Park is a valley on the Tibetan Plateau in southwest China. For a reason, the Jiuzhaigou Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The valley is home to over a dozen lakes, waterfalls with spectacular views. However, Five Flower Lake is the most magnificent of them.

Mountains surround Five Flower Lake. The Lake is 16 feet deep, yet the lakebed is visible beneath the pure water. Its color changes and is fascinating to see. 

The Lake is a variety of colors, ranging from amber yellow to emerald green to dark jade to light turquoise with a hint of coral. However, the water is usually sapphire blue. The location is cloaked in mystery and secrets. 

While the water level in nearby lakes ebbs and flows, the water level in Five Flower Lake remains constant. Locals consider this Lake as a holy place. 

There is, however, a reason for this. Lime, calcium carbonate, and multicolored hydrophytes are found in the water. In addition, a submerged hot spring feeds the Lake, preventing it from freezing.

The Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve strives to protect the environment to the greatest extent feasible. There are well-maintained paths alongside the crystal-clear lakes, rapids, and waterfalls. 

3. Flathead Lake, America

Flathead Lake, America
Flathead Lake, America | Image Credit – Flickr

Glaciers that shaped the breathtaking landscapes of Glacier National Park forced their way down into the modern-day Flathead Valley and sculpted Flathead Lake thousands of years ago.

Flathead Lake, the West’s most significant natural freshwater Lake, is a sprawling blue beauty at the base of the Swan and Mission mountain ranges in northwest Montana. Flathead Lake has 185 miles of shoreline and 370 feet depth, covering roughly 200 square miles.

Flathead Lake is the world’s 79th largest natural freshwater Lake, and it is also one of the cleanest. 

Flathead Lake’s high water quality is due to its watershed consisting primarily of National Park, wilderness, and managed forest lands, a low human population, geology dominated by old, low-nutrient geology, high precipitation (primarily as mountain snow), and rapid flushing of the Lake.

4. Lake Bacalar, Mexico

Lake Bacalar, Mexico
Lake Bacalar, Mexico | Image Credit – Flickr

On Mexico’s east coast, there is some part of the magnificent Caribbean sea, and Lake Bacalar appears like it’s a part of it. With beaches, vegetation, and mangroves, it’s hard to tell the two places apart. 

However, Lake Bacalar is unique in that it is a freshwater lagoon. The Lake is situated on the Yucatan peninsula, close to the Belize border. It is 26 miles long and narrow and stands inland from the sea. 

Its white sand bottom is fed by a system of underground rivers and permits the pure water to change color from turquoise to indigo during the day, garnering it the colorful nickname “lake of seven colors.” 

5. Lake Baikal, Russia

Lake Baikal, Russia
Lake Baikal, Russia | Image Credit – Flickr

This Siberian Lake is the ancientest, biggest, and most in-depth freshwater Lake globally. It bears 20 percent of the world’s freshwater, which melts into the Lake from the Siberian mountains, and is a mile deep. 

But, in addition to its enormous size, Lake Baikal is one of the clearest, with depths visible up to 130 feet. The water of Lake Baikal has the color of turquoise, more transparent than the Black Sea. 

According to CNN Traveler, Lake Baikal is one of the purest lakes in the world. It is occasionally possible to see below 39 meters during the summer when the Lake is full of melted ice from the Siberian mountains. 

The Lake’s excellent cleanliness is due to the purity of the melted ice, plankton that eats floating detritus, and a lack of mineral salts. 

As per the UNESCO World Heritage Commission, Lake Baikal is frequently referred to as the “Galapagos of Russia” because of its unique biodiversity and significance to evolutionary science.

Lake Baikal has one of the world’s richest freshwater ecosystems due to its antiquity, seclusion, and deep oxygenated water.

Referring to the beauty of Baikal, the writer Anton Chekhov stated in a letter, “I’ve seen to such depths, with turquoise-blue rocks and mountains, that it sends shivers up and down my spine… I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life.”

6. Lake Blausee, Switzerland

Lake Blausee, Switzerland
Lake Blausee, Switzerland | Image Credit – Flickr

The magnificent crystal-clear and turquoise blue Lake of Blausee is one of Switzerland’s most well-known mountain lakes. It’s in the middle of a 20-hectare natural park with a landscape shaped by a rock avalanche that resulted in the Lake’s formation.

At an elevation of 887 meters, this beautiful bright blue Lake is located in the Kander Valley. It is a nature reserve (Blausee Naturpark) where trout can be seen swimming in pure water. 

Blausee means “blue lake,” and the name is self-evident when you see the Lake. The water is very blue, and depending on the lighting, it appears much bluer on specific days than it does on others. 

Lake Blausee is a small but beautiful crystal blue lake. The Lake, fed by underground springs, is fully transparent and has a beautiful blue-green tint. Sunken tree trunks and boulders may be seen all the way down to 40 feet. 

According to mythology, a broken-hearted, blue-eyed girl perished in the Lake, and her tears turned the water to azure blue color. Switzerland also contains one of the world’s nine heart-shaped lakes and islands.

7. Lake Malawi, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania

Lake Malawi, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania
Lake Malawi, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania | Image Credit – Flickr

This vast, deep Lake, which runs along much of Malawi’s eastern border and touches Mozambique and Tanzania, is known as “meromictic.” This extent means that the Lake’s layers do not mix; therefore, the silt remains on the bottom while the top seems completely transparent.

Malawi is home to a sizable endemic fish population, with numerous species found nowhere else on the planet. As a result, the Lake is an important conservation site. Not only to preserve the water clarity but also to safeguard the diverse fauna and biodiversity that call it home. 

The incomparable, magnificent Lake Malawi is one of the world’s most diversified and valuable freshwater lakes.

The natural importance of Lake Malawi cannot be overstated. The Lake, the world’s ninth-biggest freshwater reservoir, is home to over 1,000 kinds of fish, with discoveries occurring every week. 

It’s not only the sheer number of species that astonishes: scientists regard the Lake as a goldmine for biodiversity, with the majority of its fish found nowhere else on the Earth.

8. Lake Mashu, Japan

Lake Mashu, Japan
Lake Mashu, Japan | Image Credit – Flickr

This dazzling water body on Japan’s Island of Hokkaido is part of Akan-Mashu National Park, produced thousands of years ago by a volcanic explosion. 

Also popularly known as “The lake of the gods,” it is frequently shrouded in fog and mist, and seeing the water’s surface is believed to bring bad luck from the ghost that dwells beneath its surface. However, the Lake itself is perfectly pure, with water visibility nearing 100 feet, because no rivers run into it, depositing sediment and garbage. 

Nearby, Kaminoko-ike (“child of the gods”) pond acquired its name from underground springs believed to feed itself from Lake Mashu, which explains why the pond’s water also is so clear. 

9. Lake McKenzie, Australia

Lake McKenzie, Australia
Lake McKenzie, Australia | Image Credit – Flickr

This beautifully transparent Lake, located on Fraser Island in Queensland, resembles something from the neighboring coastal coast. 

Sandy beaches surround the Lake, which owes its cleanliness to its location. Fraser’s Island is the globe’s largest “sand island,” with half of the world’s “perched lakes,” dune depressions filled with precipitation, such as Lake McKenzie. 

There are no rivers that pour into the Lake, and it does not drain into the ocean. Because no fish can dwell in the Lake due to its purity, the water is always a brilliant blue. The Lake has stunning beaches with the purest water on the planet.

This ‘perched’ Lake in the Great Sandy National Park comprises rainwater. It lacks groundwater and does not receive contributions from streams or smaller rivers.

At the Lake’s bottom, organic materials and sand form an impermeable layer that stops precipitation from draining away. The same sand gives Lake McKenzie its crystal clear water by acting as a natural water filter.

The Lake is 150 hectares in size and 5 meters deep. It is a swimmer’s paradise, with its crystal clear water showcasing aquamarine and sapphire hues, surrounded by soft, white silica sand and Blackbutt woodland. 

Even in the summer, the shallow water temperature remains at 23°C, making it very appealing for a swim.

10. Lake Tahoe, America

Lake Tahoe, America
Lake Tahoe, America | Image Credit – Flickr

This beautiful Lake boasts some exquisite natural landscapes, like sparkling waters. Lake Tahoe straddles two states and is the second-deepest Lake in the United States after Crater Lake.

It is known for its clear, pristine waters that frequently seem like a dazzling cobalt blue due to its location in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

However, some research has discovered that the Lake’s distinctive color is not related to clarity but rather to the amount of algae present (the lower the algae concentration, the bluer the Lake), which could have repercussions for the Lake’s ecosystem and its attractiveness. 

11. Melissani Lake, Greece

Melissani Lake, Greece
Melissani Lake, Greece | Image Credit – Flickr

Lake Melissani in Greece, which may have the cleanest waters globally, is housed within a cave, a complex configuration that is not unique to Greece. The Melissani Lake and cave are geologically comparable to the cenotes located in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.

Lake Melissani is an aquifer, i.e., the water inside the Lake is seawater that has been absorbed by the cave filters it and makes it even more lovely and translucent. The Greek seas are already magnificent, clear, and blue. This one is no exception. 

Lake Melissani’s physical surface is about 60 feet below the land outside of it. It has noticeable stalactites, which are very frequent in appearance when juxtaposed to the Lake’s wonderfully pure water. 

According to geologists, the cave is roughly 20,000 years old, which is relatively new in geological terms.

12. Moraine Lake, Canada

Moraine Lake, Canada
Moraine Lake, Canada | Image Credit – Flickr

The country’s alpine regions lend themselves to the formation of crystal-clear mountain waters, making Canada famous for its gorgeous lakes. Lake Louise is likely the most prominent and stunning waterbody in Alberta’s Banff National Park. 

Moraine Lake is a stunning glacier-fed body of water with a beautiful blue color located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. The color varies depending on the Lake’s angle, the time of day, and even the season. The summer has the brightest tint. The Lake is so majestic that it is on a $20 bill in Canada in the 1970s. 

Its water has the most incredible color, a bright shade of blue that fluctuates in strength when the glaciers melt in the summer. 

The Moraine Area is surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, and rock heaps in the rocky valley of the Ten Peaks, producing an almost surreal view. It’s an iconically jaw-dropping location that undoubtedly makes an indelible impact.

13. Plitvice Lake, Croatia

Plitvice Lake, Croatia
Plitvice Lake, Croatia | Image Credit – Flickr

Plitvice is a lake with a stunning view in Croatia. This cascading Lake’s water is not only crystal clear, but it also pours over a series of waterfalls, giving the site an even more wonderful quality.

The Lake was formed when layers of tufa, a type of stone comparable to travertine, accumulated along a river, making natural dams. There are sixteen designated lakes, although there are many smaller pools. 

The Plitvice Lakes look like something out of a fairy tale with underground caves, moss-covered cliffs, and lush forests. It’s also one of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Many visitors are captivated by the bright blue pools and cascading waterfalls. The Lake’s bright blue is another aspect of its beauty that people like. The type of algae blooms in Plitvice’s waters emits gases as it grows and decomposes. 

When those gases combine with the water, they produce a beautiful shade of azure. The exact blue changes over time as minerals and gases react to sunlight, so the water seems dark or brilliant in specific photographs.

Everything in this environment is balanced, so swimming is prohibited in this Lake. Splashing around and allowing sunscreen or pollutants to seep in might seriously harm the native flora and wildlife.

In fact, in the early 1990s, local hotels discovered this when they pumped their wastewater in, causing the entire ecology to shift. Since 2006, swimming and all water activities have been prohibited.

14. The Blue Lake, New Zealand

The Blue Lake, New Zealand
The Blue Lake, New Zealand | Image Credit – Flickr

Blue Lake (Rotomairewhenua in Mori) is a small freshwater lake in Nelson Lakes National Park, in New Zealand’s Southern Alps’ northern slopes. According to research, this New Zealand Lake is the purest Lake on the planet.

A study done by scientists from the country’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in 2011 concluded that the Lake’s clarity is only surpassed by exceedingly transparent seawater.

The Blue Lake, also known as Rotomairewhenua, is located in Nelson Lakes National Parks. This body of water is fed by Lake Constance, another glacial lake free of runoff material, keeping the water pristine and calm. 

The Lake is particularly sacred to the area’s indigenous inhabitants because of its purity. These are the world’s most beautiful glaciers. 

The Lake possesses extraordinary visual clarity of up to 80 meters, virtually as transparent as distilled water. The visibility of Blue Lake is even better than that of Golden Bay’s famous Waikoropupu Springs, which boasts a visibility of 63 meters. 

Blue Lake is distinguished by its blue-violet tints in the cleanest natural waters. The Lake receives its water from the nearby glacial Lake Constance.

15. Torch Lake, America

Torch Lake, America
Torch Lake, America | Image Credit – Flickr

Torch Lake is part of a watershed that starts in northern Antrim County with Six Mile Lake and ends at Lake Bellaire via the Intermediate River. The Grass River runs from Lake Bellaire into Clam Lake, which drains into Torch Lake via the Clam River, only a few miles long. 

Torch Lake, along with nearby Lake Michigan, originated towards the end of the Last Glacial Period. The Earth’s surface was cut by receding glaciers, and melting glaciers formed the new basins, known as the Great Lakes. 

The Lake’s name comes from a translation of the Ojibwa name waaswaaganing, which means “Place of Torches” or “Place of Flames.” Local European settlers called it “Torch Light Lake” for a while, but it was subsequently truncated to its current name.

Like other long lakes in the area, Torch Lake, such as Lake Leelanau and Elk Lake, was once a harbor of the juvenile Lake Michigan. But it was divided due to the formation of a sandbar across the Lake’s northwest outlet. 

With nearly 19,000 acres and a maximum depth of 285 feet, the Lake is presently Michigan’s second-largest largest. 

Torch Lake is well-known among Michigan residents as a summer party lake and a vacation destination for the state’s wealthy.

Conclusion

These were some of the topmost lakes that define pristine water in the world. Lakes are one of the most precious and beautiful natural resources on the planet. The lakes must be kept clean and pollution-free in order to continue to deliver the numerous benefits we enjoy today. (Also read – Top 10 Largest Freshwater Lakes in the World)

Suraksha Pal

Suraksha Pal is an Industrial Engineer currently pursuing my master’s degree in Renewable Energy Engineering at the Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk Campus. She has a keen interest in Renewable Energy and is passionate about sustainable development. She loves to express her views on these subjects through articles and blogs.
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