Squam Lake has formerly been known by many names. It was first called Keeseenunknipee (meaning “the goose lake on the highlands”), which was then shortened to Casumpa, Kusumpy, and/or Kesumpe around 1779. In the 1800s, it was renamed to Asquam (meaning “water”), which was then shortened to Squam. It still looks much like it did to its 1700 residents. Squam Lake, the 1981 film site for On Golden Pond, is known as one of the most peaceful and pristine in the country and offers visitors plenty of opportunity to enjoy its natural beauty. Big and Little Squam Lakes are naturally spring-fed and connected by a channel in Holderness. Big Squam is 6,791 acres, 6 miles long, 4 miles wide and 98 feet deep with 61 miles of shoreline. It is the second-largest lake located entirely in New Hampshire. Little Squam is 408 acres, 2 miles long, 1/2 mile wide and 84 feet deep. The lakes are host to 67 islands.

Squam Lake Towns:

Ashland, Holderness, Sandwich, Center Harbor, Moultonborough

Nature Preserves

  • Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, Rt. 113, Holderness, NH One Wild Place! Live-black bear, mountain lions & other animals. Hiking trails, boat tours, gardens. See animals up close and learn about their habitats.
  • Kirkwood Gardens – Rt. 25, Holderness, NH Beautifully landscaped gardens designed to attract birds and butterflies, open to the public.
  • Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest – 157 acre forest with over a mile of waterfront, several beaches, swamp walk, over 4 miles of hiking trails managed by the Squam Lakes Association
  • Moon Island, Bowman Island and Belknap Woods. Operated by the Squam Lakes Association for conservation and low impact recreation.

Major Events

  • Snowshoe under a full moon – Program offered by the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center each winter month. • Snow Shoe Olympics – (early February) offered by the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.
  • New Hampshire Ice Carving Championship – (mid- February) NH lakes Region Professional Cooks Association – Walter’s Basin, Holderness
  • 4th of July Celebrations
  • Bike Around the Lake July – fun and challenging ride around Squam that supports the SLA Youth Programs. 968-7336
  • Earth Day Events at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

Squam Lake Islands

(28 named islands and several smaller unnamed islets)

  • Moon Island – 30-acre island owned and maintained by Squam Lakes Association. Several small beaches available for non-motorized boats.
  • Bowman Island – 23-acre island located across a narrow channel from Moon Island. Owned & maintained by the Squam Lakes Association.
  • Chocorua Island Chapel – Sunday services held from June to early September. Private Services may be arranged. Donated for the purpose of religious services to the Chocorua Chapel Association who permits quiet, limited use of the island by visitors. For information www.churchisland.org

Other Recreation

Hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, swimming, boating, shopping, golf, terrific dining, lodging and camping options. Ice-skating, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing in the winter months.

Boat Access

  • Holderness along the Squam River. NH-113 in Holderness. Launch Ramp is on right, parking left. Parking allowed for up to 24 hours.
  • Boat access for canoes, kayaks, sailboats and boats with 25-horsepower of less located at the Squam Lakes Association, US 3, Holderness. Contact the Squam Lakes Association 968-7336 for parking and launch fee information.

Hiking in the Squam Range

  • Eagle Cliff, Sandwich. A short steep climb offering impressive views of Squam Lake. Hikers may choose to continue on to the western approach to the Red Hill Fire Tower where panoramic views of Winnipesaukee, Squam and the Ossipee and Belknap Mountains are viewed from the Fire Tower. Maps available from the Squam Lakes Association 603-968-7336.
  • Five Finger Point – Holderness Pick up Rt. 113. In Holderness travel about 5 miles to Pinehurst Road. Signs for Rockywold Deephaven Camps. Travel until you see a gate. Pull off to right just before gate to small dirt parking area. Walk through gate, sugar shack on left and signage for trails. Leads to Squam points and coves, scenic. Owned by University of New Hampshire.
  • Mount Fayal, Holderness – Begin at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, Route 113, Holderness. Trails offer various levels of difficulty. Spectacular views of Little Squam Lake.
  • Mount Morgan/Mount Percival- Holderness – Trailheads off Rt. 113 – 5 miles from downtown Holderness on left. Wonderful views of Squam Lake. Squam Lakes Association 603-968-7336.
  • Rattlesnake Mountain, Rt. 113 Holderness – Trailheads off Rt. 113 – approx. 5 miles from downtown Holderness on right, (after Rockywold Deephaven Camps sign) park on left. Short and Easy Climb, spectacular views. Use caution with children. Steep cliffs at summit.
  • Red Hill, Moultonborough (elevation 2,029 feet) Fire tower run by town of Moultonborough Fire Department. Bean Road in Center Harbor 1.4 miles to Shibley Road (fire tower sign) to parking lot with gated jeep road. Distance to tower 1.7 miles. Contact the Lakes Region Conservation Trust for a map 603-279-3246

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