Lake Tappan, New Jersey & New York, USA
Also known as: Tappan Lake, Lake Tappan Reservoir, Tappan Reservoir
Lake Tappan is one of a series of reservoirs that was created to deliver drinking water to the huge population of the New York City metro area. The lake contains about 1250 acres of water, and nearly 12 million gallons are released daily to the downstream Oradell Reservoir. It straddles the border of New Jersey and New York. The water level is controlled by United Water, a…
Keep scrolling to read more.
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Tappan! Article topics include:
- All About Lake Tappan
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Things to Do
- Known Fish Species
- Lake Tappan Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Lake Tappan Gifts
Looking for Lake Tappan cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.
All About Lake Tappan, NJ/NY
Lake Tappan is one of a series of reservoirs that was created to deliver drinking water to the huge population of the New York City metro area. The lake contains about 1250 acres of water, and nearly 12 million gallons are released daily to the downstream Oradell Reservoir. It straddles the border of New Jersey and New York. The water level is controlled by United Water, a privately owned Utility Company who provides drinking water to over 7 million people. United Water was originally the Hackensack Water Company, and was formed in 1869.
Lake Tappan was formed in 1966 when the Tappan Dam was built on the Hackensack River. It was one of three additional reservoirs that were created when the original, the Oradell Reservoir (created in 1921), could no longer meet the demands of the local population.
The reservoir has caused several problems for the countryside upstream of it. Back-flooding has become a huge problem since the Tappan Dam was constructed. The effects are seen for about 100 miles – all the way to the Lake Deforest Dam.
Because the Lake is a Category One Protected body of water, there is no boating, swimming or wading allowed in the lake. Lake Tappan is listed as Category One because it supplies drinking water to the metro area. There can be nothing allowed on the lake that can harm the environmental status of the lake.
Recreation is allowed in the lake area, but a permit from United Water must be obtained first. The permit allows access to all of the reservoirs in the area – Oradell, Tappan, Lake DeForest and Woodcliff Lake. Lake Tappan has special wheelchair accessible docks, handicap parking and on-site services available for the comfort of those who need the services.
Fishing is allowed from the shore ONLY. A permit is required for anyone older than 16. Permits are checked regularly. You will find several species of fish in Lake Tappan: yellow and white perch, small and largemouth bass, catfish, sunfish and carp.
Lake Tappan is also a great place for avid ornithologists. Multiple types of birds have been spotted, including the Bald Eagle. The Tufted Titmouse, Red-tailed Hawk, Mute Swan and the Pied-Billed Grieb are among others that make their home around the reservoir.
A couple of important notes are that the reservoir is only open to visitors from the beginning of April to the end of November. Access to the lake area will not be permitted if the terror threat level is orange or higher. No one is permitted to take pictures on United Water Property.
The Tappan Reservoir is certainly an important part of daily life in the NYC Metro area, whether the residents there realize it or not. It is part of the gargantuan machine necessary to keep fresh drinkable water flowing through their pipes. Though it is vital to their existence, it is still a problem because the dams on the Hackensack have wreaked havoc on the natural ecosystem that has existed for centuries. Local watersheds are still trying to mend this issue, and will do so until they have a solution.
Things to Do at Lake Tappan
These are some activities in the Lake Tappan, NJ/NY area visitors can enjoy:
- Vacation Rentals
What Kind of Fish Are in Lake Tappan?
Lake Tappan has been known to have the following fish species:
- Black Bass
- Largemouth Bass
- White Perch
Find Places to Stay at Lake Tappan
If you’re considering a Lake Tappan lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission if you click and make a purchase. Read our full disclosure policy here.
More Sites to Book a Lake Tappan Vacation
Our interactive Lake Tappan lodging map above is an easy tool for comparing VRBO rental homes and nearby hotels with Booking.com, but there could be times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodations. Here are some other lake lodging partners we recommend:
Lake Tappan Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed
Water Level Control: United Water
Surface Area: 1,255 acres
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 44 feet
Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 39 feet
Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 55 feet
Average Depth: 21 feet
Maximum Depth: 43 feet
Water Volume: 10,741 acre-feet
Completion Year: 1968
Lake Area-Population: 32,000
Drainage Area: 49 sq. miles
Trophic State: Eutrophic
More local lakes to explore in this area:
We strive to keep information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. If you’ve found something here that needs updating, please touch base by filling out our Content Correction form.
Shop Lake Tappan Gifts
More Lake Tappan news from LakeLubbers.com
- Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
- The Lake Tappan forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
- New Lake Tappan photos coming soon!
- You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
- Share this Lake Tappan article with your fellow LakeLubbers: