Hiking in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region offers a perfect blend of scenic beauty and diverse terrain. The area features plenty of easy hikes with stunning views of lakes and forests. Popular spots like West Rattlesnake Mountain and North Peak Trail provide rewarding vistas and a serene environment. Wildlife sightings and varied landscapes make the Lakes Region a premier destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking to connect with nature and enjoy New Hampshire’s natural splendor.

1. Cotton Mountain Trail

Distance: 1.3 miles / Elevation Gain: 574 feet / Time to Complete: 59 minutes

This trail, generally considered moderately challenging, is popular for hiking, running, and walking. April through November is the best period to visit. Dogs are welcome and may be off-leash in certain areas. The trail is pleasant, with a gradual first half and a steep second half. It’s advisable to bring along a hiking pole or walking stick to assist in navigating the varied terrain. The view from the trail’s summit is beautiful, making the effort worthwhile.

2. Brooks – Fisher Trail

Distance: 3.4 miles / Elevation Gain: 583 feet / Time to Complete: 1 hour 35 minutes

Ideal for hiking, this moderate trail offers a peaceful experience with minimal encounters with other hikers. The best times to enjoy this trail are from September through November. You’ll find excellent trail markers in red and yellow, ensuring you stay on course throughout. At the summit, take in a marvelous view, and there’s a quaint wooden bench perfectly positioned for enjoying the scenery.

3. North Peak Trail at Whitten Woods

Distance: 2.7 miles / Elevation Gain: 521 feet / Time to Complete: 1 hour 19 minutes

This popular trail is generally considered easy, and offers great views. It’s favored for both hiking and walking, offering opportunities for solitude, especially during quieter times of the day. The best months to visit are from January through October. Dogs are welcome on this trail but must remain on a leash at all times.

4. Bald Ledge Trail

Distance: 1.3 miles / Elevation Gain: 114 feet / Time to Complete: 29 minutes

Ideal for both hiking and running, you’re likely to enjoy a tranquil experience with few encounters with other visitors. The best times to explore this trail are from July through October. Despite its short length, it offers excellent views of Lake Winona, making it a rewarding outing with minimal effort.

5. Belknap Woods Loop

Distance: 2.0 miles / Elevation Gain: 196 feet / Time to Complete: 46 minutes

Great for hiking and running, this easy trail offers a tranquil experience with few encounters with others. Open year-round, it’s beautiful to visit anytime, showcasing moss-covered boulders, marshy areas, stream crossings, and interesting flora and fauna. Be sure to bring bug spray and wear sturdy shoes for slippery spots.

6. Five Finger Point Trail

Distance: 2.7 miles / Elevation Gain: 298  feet / Time to Complete: 1 hour 4 minutes

This moderately challenging trail is popular for birding, hiking, and walking. The best times to explore this trail are from March through October. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash at all times. The trail features views of Squam Lake, adding to its allure. Circling the loop clockwise (bearing left at the peninsula’s neck) leads quickly to the route’s main swimming attraction: the Rattlesnake Cove Jumping Rock. This spot is reached by a very short unmarked spur trail leading to the shoreline. At Rattlesnake Cove’s southern inlet, a large rock formation slopes gradually down toward the water’s edge before dropping off into a beginner-friendly “cliff jump” only about seven feet high.

7. West Rattlesnake Mountain

Distance: 3.7 miles / Elevation Gain: 987  feet / Time to Complete: 2 hours 6 minutes

The hike to the summit of West Rattlesnake Mountain offers stunning views of Squam Lake and its numerous islands nestled at the mountain’s base. This is generally considered a moderately challenging route and is popular for hiking and running, though quieter moments can be found during off-peak times. The trail is best enjoyed from April through November. Dogs are welcome and may roam off-leash in designated areas.Closeup of a man lacing up hiking boots

What to Bring

Even when embarking on an easy hike, it’s essential to bring a few key items for a safe and enjoyable experience. Pack a sturdy pair of walking shoes or hiking boots to navigate varied terrain comfortably. Bring a small backpack with water, snacks, and a map or GPS device to stay hydrated, energized, and oriented. Don’t forget sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat to protect against sun and bugs. Additionally, a lightweight jacket or rain gear is advisable, as weather conditions can change rapidly. A basic first-aid kit and a fully charged phone for emergencies complete the essentials for a pleasant hike.

Exterior of Squam Lake Inn in Spring with white flowers and green bushes

Stay at Squam Lake Inn

For your next hiking trip, consider staying at Squam Lake Inn, which offers cozy, stylish rooms and suites. Relax on the peaceful porch, explore the beautiful gardens, and experience exceptional service. Enjoy dining at the on-site Inn Kitchen + Bar, featured in Huffington Post’s Top 11 Things to do in New Hampshire. With complimentary breakfasts featuring locally inspired, made-to-order meals, and personalized service from the family-owned inn, Squam Lake Inn provides a delightful stay and serves as the perfect home base for exploring nearby easy hikes.

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