Plan on hiking this weekend? Help protect the trails and choose a path less traveled

Plan on hiking this weekend?
Help protect the trails and choose a path less traveled!

Parking at the West Rattlesnake-area trails can be tricky this time of year. To avoid traffic, crowded trails, and even a parking ticket, check out some of these stunning hikes that are still located in the Squam Lakes region:

1. Whitten Woods

The conserved 453-acre Whitten Woods property has a number of short, picturesque trails. Trailhead access and parking off of Highland Street in Ashland. Trails offer views of Squam Lake from two different peaks, each within about a mile from the parking area. Trail does get relatively steep the last 0.1 mile to South Peak and 0.1 mile to North Peak.

2. Chamberlin Reynolds Memorial Forest

Short and relatively-flat trail network. A 157-acre forest with over a mile of waterfront and was donated to New England Forestry Foundation in 1953. Its shorefront area and trails are managed for public use by the Squam Lakes Association. There are several beaches, a swamp board walk and over 4 miles of hiking trails. Trailhead access and parking off of College Road in Center Harbor, between Rte 25-B and Route 3. Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash at all times and you must clean up after your pet.

3. Belknap Woods

A 90-acre forest in Center Harbor, which was donated to SLA in 1986. Trailhead access and parking is located at the mouth of Dog Cove and along Rte 25-B. Keep your eyes open for birds and wildlife!

4. Cotton Mountain Trail

Short, relatively-steep hike to the summit. Trailhead access and parking is located 1 mile past the Squam Lakes Science Center heading north on Route 113. Gravel pull off parking on the left side of the road.

5. Red Hill via Eagle Cliff

Moderate hike. Take the Eagle Cliff trail to the summit of Red Hill for a spectacular view from the historic fire tower. This hike via Eagle Cliff is about 5 miles out and back. Trailhead is located on Squam Lake Road in Sandwich (named Bean Road in Center Harbor) at 0.4 miles north of the Sandwich and Moultonboro town line. Gravel pull off on the right side of the road.

6. Brooks Fisher Trail to Mt. Webster

The Brooks Fisher Trail is one of SLA's newest trails located on Perch Pond Road in Holderness, about 3 miles north east of US Route 175. Evidence of Squam's history winds up the switchbacks and connects to the Crawford Ridgepole Trail at 1.3 miles. From the intersection, head north (left) for 1.5 miles to Mt. Webster for spectacular views of Squam Lake!