The Butler Chain Of Lakes is Orlando’s premier lake chain offering 13 lakes full of pristine water. The lakes are connected by canals and offer great opportunities for water sports such as wake-boarding and skiing and fishing. The real estate fronting on the chain has seen great appreciation in the recent past and is the site of many of Orlando’s most prestigious homes. In the following descriptions, the lakes will be arranged in boating order from North to South. Lake descriptions (c)2003 E.Martell
- Lake Down is the northern-most lake in the Butler Chain with 872 acres of ski-able clear water. Public Access is located at Conroy-Windermere Road across from the Isleworth entrance and at R. D. Keene Park and Boat Ramp at 10900 Chase Road, just south of Windermere. Neighborhoods on Lake Down include Sunset Bay, Down Point, Windermere Oaks, the city of Windermere (east side of town), Harbor Isle, Marina Bay (features a community dock, but no ramp), Lake Down Village (provides community access), Windermere Downs (provides community access), and The Lakes (provides community access). Exiting the lake via the canal on the western side, the boater travels under the main street of Windermere to Wauseon Bay. Please remember that all canals are “NO-WAKE” zones. Also, be sure to observe posted speed limits on the lakes and all boater safety regulations. The lakes are patrolled by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department/Florida Marine Patrol.
- Little Lake Down is entered via a somewhat hidden canal on the west side of Lake Down. The canal is to the north of the main canal between Lake Down and Wauseon Bay. You can ski there, but it’s really too small for skiing. Public access is the same as for Lake Down. Homes on Bayshore Drive are the only ones with frontage on Little Lake Down. The OARS high school crew teams usually put-in on the west side and often use this lake and parts of Lake Down for practice.
- Wauseon Bay is a smaller body of water which essentially acts as a conduit from the west side of Lake Down to Lake Butler. It also provides lake frontage for many homes in the city of Windermere. Skiing is possible on the western part of Wauseon Bay, but the east side from Bumby Point to the canal is restricted to a no-wake zone on the north side of the bouys due to the proximity of docks. From the south exit of Wauseon Bay, the boater moves onto Lake Butler.
- Lake Butler is the largest lake of the chain and it offers 1,665 acres of ski-able, high-quality water. Public Access is the same as for Lake Down. It might be noted that the city of Windermere has a Residents-only ramp onto Lake Butler. Many people will anchor and party on the north side of Bird Island on weekend afternoons. Neighborhoods on the lake are the city of Windermere (community access), Isleworth Country Club (community access to Lake Tibet), Chaine Du Lac, Lake Butler Sound, and Kelso on Lake Butler (community access). The canal out is located on the south side of the lake adjacent to the western end of Isleworth Country Club property.
- Lake Louise is a 50 acre lake which is a way-point on the canal from Lake Butler to Lake Tibet. Lake Louise is a long, narrow lake. Because of this length, you can often see boats towing skiers from one end to the other. Isleworth Country Club is the only community which fronts on this lake. Isleworth community access is found on the north end of Lake Tibet. Exiting to the south, the boater will find a lengthy canal to Lake Isleworth.
- Lake Isleworth is a somewhat circular shaped pool of about 10 acres on the canal south of Lake Louise. The R. D. Keene Park’s boat ramp is found on this lake. Isleworth is the only community which fronts on this lake. The canal out of Lake Isleworth to the south leads to Lake Tibet.
- Lake Chase is 135 acres fronted by Isleworth Country Club, Isle of Osprey, and part of Bay Hill Country Club (community access). From the canal’s exit into Lake Tibet, the entrance to Lake Chase is just past the Isleworth floating docks to the east. This lake offers a good location to ski if there is too much wind or traffic on the larger lakes. However, it may become too congested at times. The exit to Lake Blanche is at the northeast corner of Chase and passes under the bridge to Isle of Osprey first. This is a longer and narrower canal with some parallel boat docks on the east side. Larger boats might find difficulty in passing an oncoming boat in this tight space.
- Lake Blanche provides 121 acres of placid frontage to parts of Isleworth Country Club, Isle Of Osprey, and North Bay. It is a circular pool which becomes too congested to ski if there are more than about 3 or 4 boats present. The only way out is through the canal back to Lake Chase.
- Lake Tibet is the second largest lake on the change with 1,198 acres. It is longer than wide and has bays on both the east and west side. Neighborhoods fronting on this lake are Isleworth Country Club, Keenes Point (found in the northern-most bay on the west side), Cypress Point, Bentley Park, Pointe Tibet, Bay Point, Bay Hill (private marina accessed through 2 canals from the long narrow bay on the east side) and Cypress Isle. There is a slalom course set up on the south east side of this lake right in front of the Cypress Point homes. The south western side of this lake fronts a nature preserve. Exiting from the south side of the lake between the multi-million dollar homes of Cypress Point and the homes of Cypress Isle is a short canal into Lake Sheen.
- Lake Sheen is 565 acres of circular shaped lake which offers good fishing and plenty of room to ski. It is the site of the Orange County Sportsman’s Association club; a private membership boat launch and picnic facility. Membership is currently about $150/year for a family with one boat. The waiting list tends to be 18 to 24 months in length and memberships are rarely available so, if you‘re new to the area, it‘s a good idea to put your name on the list. Neighborhoods fronting the lake are Cypress Point, Cypress Isle, the Kilgore road lake-front homes, and Lake Sheen Reserve on the southwest side (offering community access) along with some additional homes on the west side of the lake. The canal on the south side of the lake leads to Pocket Lake.
- Pocket Lake is roughly circular in shape and covers 126 acres. There is a well-maintained slalom course on the west side of this lake. Homes fronting the lake are located on Kilgore road, Darlene, and Charles E. Limpus road. None of these homes are in formally established communities. The canal found on the southwest corner of Pocket Lake leads to Little Fish Lake. Warning: This canal is over 1/4 of a mile in length with two right angle turns and usually contains obstacles such as sunken logs, so take care for your prop when going through.
- Fish Lake or Little Fish Lake is about 30 acres and is often fairly weedy. There is one neighborhood located on the lake and along a neighborhood canal and that is Turtle Creek. The only exit is through the canal to Pocket Lake.
- Cypress Lake is 65 acres of private ski-lake fronted by Kelso on Lake Butler. This lake used to be part of the Butler Chain, but the canal has gradually filled in and now is impassible.
The Sand Lakes
- Big Sand Lake is 1,110 acres with no public access. The lake is ski-able and fishing may be good at times. Water levels are subject to fairly large seasonal fluctuations which, along with shallow margins, necessarily makes docks quite long in many areas. The Neighborhoods on the lake are Bay Vista Estates (community access), Sand Lake Point (community access), Sand Lake Cove, Phillips Landing (community dock), Vizcaya (community clubhouse), and the time-share properties on the east side of the lake which have had a water-sports business operating from their lake frontage.
- Little Sand Lake is the other component of this chain. The lake size is 156 acres and it is fronted by Grenada Villas (community access), Vizcaya and commercial developments.
Other Individual Lakes
- Lake Burden is a nice, private ski lake with about 40 acres of water. It has a slalom course which is currently accessable only to Keene’s Pointe residents who have a community access ramp and park.
- Lake Bessie is 156 acres situated between Isleworth and Windermere. There is no public access, but the residents of both areas can water ski on the lake.
- Lake Sawyer is a 93 acre ski-able lake with a canal to Lake Butt (probably soon to be renamed). This lake is fronted by Sawyer Shores.
- Lake Butt is about 70 acres and is ski-able and fronted by Windermere Lakes.
- Lake Mabel is a larger lake with 412 acres. It is ski-able but has no public access. There is some lake frontage in developing neighborhoods. The southwest part of the lake fronts on Disney property.
- Lake William Davis is a small lake (about 25 acres) adjacent to Cypress Lake. It is ski-able, but with no public access. Neighborhoods on the lake are Tildens Grove, West Lake Butler Estates, and Kelso on Lake Butler.
- Lake Crescent is a larger crescent-shaped lake with 172 acres of ski-able space. It is only available to residents of Windermere Club, Butler Bay, the Manors at Butler Bay, Crescent Lake Estates and some individual homes on the lake, but not in neighborhoods.
- Lake Roper is 35 acres in extent and is ski-able for residents of Sunset Lakes.
- Lake Roberts is 95 acres of private ski-able water available to residents of Windermere Club/Butler Bay and Waterford Pointe.