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Griffy Lake is a 1,200 acre nature preserve located just a few minutes from downtown Bloomington. The lake has an average depth of about 10 feet and covers 109 acres. Griffy Lake was originally designed as a source for city drinking water but was later deemed insufficient. Built on a landscape without natural lakes or sufficient rivers and streams, reservoirs have been instrumental in the history of Bloomington.

During the early 20th century, Indiana University Bloomington was growing rapidly. In order to meet the needs of the growing university, the city of Bloomington built a number of dams, but due to the Mitchell Limestone subsoils in the area, the reservoirs constantly leaked and were not able to supply the water the university needed. In 1923, the Bloomington Water Company was formed in order to construct a 40’ concrete dam on Griffy Creek. It was erected in 1924 and created what we now know as Griffy Lake. In 1934 the dam was expanded to 44’ tall and 900’ wide. The lake has not been used as a routine source for drinking water since the 1950s, but is still considered an emergency water supply for the city.

During the summer of 2012, the lake was completely drained in order to make some repairs on the dam. It was refilled and restocked with fish in 2014. Today Griffy Lake provides an excellent place for fishing, kayaking, and hiking. With a valid fishing license you can fish for bluegill, redear sunfish, largemouth bass, channel catfish, and crappie supplied by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Canoes, kayaks, and rowboats can be rented from the Boathouse managed by the City of Bloomington

Griffy Woods occupies parts of the Griffy Lake watershed to the southeast of the lake.


Cravens, John W. (1922), "Buildings on the old and new campuses of Indiana University", Indiana University Alumni Quarterly, 9: 317–319

Griffy Lake Nature Preserve. Visit Bloomington. . Accessed August 07, 2019. 

Maxwell, Donald H. (January 1921), "Impounded water in Bloomington, Ind.", Municipal and county engineering: design, construction, maintenance, and operation of all public works, 60 (1): 159–161

Peel, Sara (2008). Griffy Lake Nature Preserve Master Plan. Walkerton, IN. JF New, 2008. 

Sahu, Neil (2008), Indiana University Griffy Lake Watershed: Sustainability Survey