11 Facts About Lake Superior

Michigan is known as The Great Lake State, but not all of the Lakes get the same attention. Lake Superior is known for being the largest of the Great Lakes. In fact, it has more water than the other four Great Lakes combined, but what else is there to know about it? Read on to learn more.

1. Lake Superior isn’t just the largest Great Lake.

It is the largest freshwater lake by volume in North America and the third-largest in the world. By surface area, it is the largest freshwater lake in the world. On average, the lake is 483 feet deep, with the maximum depth reaching 1,333 feet.

2. The large volume is fed by over 300 streams and rivers.

The largest river feeding into Lake Superior is the Nipigon River coming from Ontario. The Nipigon River is known for the best brook trout.

3. Lake Superior has over 400 islands.

Of the 400 islands, Isle Royale is the largest, and possibly the most well-known in Lake Superior. Despite being the largest in Lake Superior, Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron is the largest in the Great Lakes.

4. Lake Superior is the cleanest Great Lake.

On average, you can see roughly 8 meters or 27 feet underwater. In some areas, you can see up to 98 feet. The clear water allows you to sometimes see ship wreckage.

5. Speaking of wreckage, there have been 350 shipwrecks reported.

The SS Edmund Fitzgerald is one of the most notable shipwrecks due to the size of the ship. While the SS Edmund Fitzgerald is likely the most famous wreck, Lake Erie has the most wrecks.  

6. Its average temperature is only 40°.

Lake Superior is the coldest of the Great Lakes. It rarely ever fully freezes in the winter and if it does, it is usually for a short period of time. The last time it fully froze was 1996.

7. Lake Superior got its name from the French.

Lac Superieur translates to upper lake. The French explorers first discovered Lake Huron, then traveled north to find Lake Superior, the upper lake.  

8. The largest wave to ever be recorded in Lake Superior is 40 feet.

The roughest months on the Lake are October and November. June and July are the calmest months on Lake Superior.  

9. The world’s longest freshwater sailboat race takes place on Lake Superior each year.

The Trans-Superior International Yacht Race starts by Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and ends near Duluth, Minnesota.

10. While Lake Superior “belongs” to Michigan, the biggest city on the lake is Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The most notable Michigan cities on Lake Superior are Marquette, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.

11. Over 80 species of fish call Lake Superior home.

The fish are hunted by hawks, owls, loons, and eagles that live in the area. It is also home to 58 orchid species.

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