cleanest water on earth

5 Places With the Cleanest Water on Earth

Rachel Lark - January 19, 2023

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It doesn’t matter if it comes out of the tap or a local river — people have trouble trusting the water these days. Stories such as the Flint Water Crisis linger in people’s memories and there’s no denying that many waterways contain dangerous pollution levels. However, the news isn’t tragic everywhere. While more scarce these days, you can still find pristine natural water sources. Here are five places with the cleanest water in the world. 

1. Crater Lake, Oregon, USA

Imagine if you never changed your bathwater. You wouldn’t expect it to stay clean. However, Crater Lake has no natural inlets, forming entirely from rain and snow. Despite the lack of a river running through it, it maintains its title as one of the cleanest and clearest lakes in the world. 

The lack of sediment flowing from other areas helps the lake maintain its crystal clarity. It invites swimming — but the temperature might dissuade you. Crater Lake lies in one of America’s snowiest regions, meaning the melted waters filling the basin tend to be cold. 

The lake formed when Mount Mazama, a once-active volcano, collapsed. Many Natives still mourn the loss of a mountain they considered sacred. 

Crater Lake is home to diverse wildlife species, including elk and bobcats. There are ample hiking trails, but the location is also accessible. The drive around the rim features 30 pullout spots to meditate and take in the view. 

Where does the excess water go? Scientists still haven’t fully answered the question, but two million gallons of water seep from the caldera’s walls each hour. However, no springs or other water bodies contain the same water as Crater. 

2. Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia 

Lake Baikal offers mystery by virtue of location alone, but that’s hardly the most fascinating thing about this water body. However, the area’s remoteness protects it from the ravages of manmade pollution. 

Lake Baikal is the world’s oldest and deepest lake, going back 25 million years. It’s 1,700 meters at its deepest point. Recently, UNESCO designated it as a world heritage site. 


It’s known as the “Galapagos of Russia” because of it’s rich biodiversity. It contains 20% of the world’s river and lake water, making it the aquatic equivalent of the Amazon. It holds over 1,500 animal species, 80% found nowhere else on earth. 

3. Havasu Falls, Arizona, USA

Hiking to this scenic hidden treasure works up a mighty thirst. It lies ten miles deep in the Grand Canyon inside the Havasupai Reservation. The Colorado River isn’t known for its purity or pollution levels. However, this tributary features some of the world’s purest water — clean enough for many to drink without using a filtration straw. 

It’s tough to keep the area clean, so you need to plan early if you want to visit. The location closed to protect the population during COVID-19 and has yet to reopen. However, getting reservations during normal times can take a year or more, so expect a long wait. 

The anticipation is worth it, however. You can swim behind Havasu Falls or simply relax in the turquoise pool surrounding it. You’ll find many natural eddies that feel somewhat like tiny hot tubs. The brave of heart can climb down to Mooney Falls a bit further down the trail. This waterfall reaches even more impressive heights but requires a scramble down the side of a cliff using only a rope chain to reach the beach. 

4. Lake Vostok, Antarctica

How do you keep a lake pristine? Mother Nature’s solution was to bury Lake Vostok under two and a half miles of ice. Although it once lay on Antarctica’s surface, scientists believe it has been under cover for at least 15 million years, creating one of the Earth’s most hostile and unique environments. 

Although located in Antarctica, scientists believe that Lake Vostok may support a unique ecosystem based on microbes found in water brought to the surface. These creatures could get their energy from minerals in the rock replenished by the bedrock instead of the sun’s rays. 

5. Hordindalsvatn Lake, Grodas, Norway

Europe has supported heavy industry for a long time. It takes a lot to earn the distinction of the continent’s deepest and clearest lake, but Hordindalsvtn Lake in Grodas, Norway, earns the honor. The lack of glacial runoff keeps the water crystalline. 

You can rent a canoe or kayak to explore the lake at one of the area shops. It’s still not too overrun by tourists, making this destination a pleasant getaway. You need to obtain a license if you want to fish, but you can eat what you catch. 

The Cleanest Water in the World

You’re right to be skeptical of the water in many areas. Pollution has left only a few regions untouched. However, it is still possible to find pristine aquatic wilderness. Check out the five places above with the cleanest water in the world.


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About the author

Rachel Lark

Rachel serves as the Assistant Editor of Environment.co. A true foodie and activist at heart, she loves covering topics ranging from veganism to off grid living.