Ballston Lake was originally formed by the melting of the Laurentide Glacier that revealed the Mohawk River. Eventually, when the glacier receded and the river settled into its new banks, the peaceful waters of the lake were left behind. This quiet lake is believed to be more than 12,000 years old. The Native Americans called it Shenantaha, but it was later named Long Lake due to its long, narrow footprint. Ultimately, it was renamed Ballston Lake after Reverend Eliphalet Ball, and is located mostly in the Town of Ballston with a small portion in the Town of Clifton Park. At three and a half miles long, it is a very narrow body of water with some interesting scientific properties. Ballston Lake is meromictic, which means that the deeper waters never mix with the surface layer, and at up to 110 feet deep at the south end, it provides excellent conditions for geological study. In the early 2000's, Union College researchers studied the lake floor as part of a broader project called the Ballston Lake Initiative. The Saratogian newspaper published an article at the time on Union College's study of the Lake's unusual properties. In addition to their scientific findings, they found evidence of a car that, according to local stories, rolled into the lake's south end in 1923 and sank with a diamond ring in the glove box. At that time (from 1904-1927 to be exact) there was an amusement park and recreation area at the south end of the lake called Forest Park Amusement Park. A trolley, run by the Schenectady Railway Company from the late 1800's to the 1940's, would bring passengers to the amusement park for a day of fun by the lake, and continue on to Saratoga Springs for those looking for other adventures. The portion of the trolley path next to Ballston Lake has since been converted to the Veterans Bike Path.
The Ballston Lake Fishing Access Site, located on Outlet Road at the north end of the lake and known locally as the Fishing Pier, is free and open to the public. It also has two launch bays for canoes or kayaks; one is ADA accessible. The Fishing Pier page includes a list of the lake's fish species as well as driving directions and parking information.
The Town of Ballston does not own a public boat launch. The boat launch at Finnegan's Tavern & Grill on the Lake (formerly Villago), at 175 Lake Road, is a private boat launch. Please call 518-376-2987 for questions and rates.
Ballston Lake Improvement Association (BLIA)
The Ballston Lake Improvement Association (BLIA) is a non-profit, independent organization whose mission is to preserve the legacy and quality of Ballston Lake and its watershed. Every member of the association is a volunteer, with all funds directly supporting the health and wellbeing of the lake and those who enjoy it. Read what BLIA does. For information on how to join the association, view the BLIA Membership page.