NH Family Hikes

The Fourth Connecticut Lake

Length: 2.1 miles out-and-back with loop

Difficulty (click for info): Easy

Elevation Gain: 380 feet (+60 feet on return)

Rating (click for info): 7/10

Elevation: 2670 ft

Driving Directions:
Trailhead is at the end of Rt. 3, in Pittsburg, NH. Park in the hiking trail parking area at the border crossing (no passport needed). Click here for a Google map.

About the Hike:
The Connecticut Lakes, unlike the lakes of New Hampshire's Lakes Region, possess a wild, pristine beauty of their own, despite the fact that they are man-made. The central feature of the small region which makes up the very northernmost tip of our state, they are the source of the mighty Connecticut river. Three of the lakes can be seen while driving north on Route 3, and all are worth a short stop to admire their scenery. The fourth lake, located up on a hill on the Canadian border is not as well known because it is not visible from the road. This little marshy pond is the true source of the Connecticut River.

The area around the lake is owned by The Nature Conservancy, and is accessible via a short hiking trail, which begins at the border crossing station. To get to the trailhead, walk along the fence on the right side of the building, then head toward the large wooden border crossing sign. The small Nature Conservancy kiosk is just beyond that. The trail begins here and follows the boundary clearing up the side of Prospect Hill. This area is filled with small shrubs and ferns, and the path through it is somewhat narrow and muddy at almost all times of the year. The beginning of the trail is very steep. Just a short way up, you will encounter a small marker set in a rock. This is the first of many plates along the trail marking the US/Canada boundary. The trail continues to weave in and out of Canada as it goes up. As the trail begins to rise, you can look back and get a completely unique view of the Boundary Mountains. After 0.6 miles of climbing, the trail bears left out of the boundary clearing and heads into the woods. In the last 0.1 miles, the trail descends 50 feet through the forest. The lake soon comes into view and the trail splits into a loop at its shore. Here, the tranquility of the Great North Woods surrounds you as you gaze out over the water. Grasses and reeds blow with the breeze; you may even see a beaver. The view of the lake from this point is very nice, but you will experience much more by taking the 0.6-mile loop trail around the pond. The trail is muddy, but it has boardwalks over most of these areas. There are many viewpoints of the lake from the trail. At the south end of the lake, you will step over a small brook. This may be the most exciting part of the hike, as this tiny stream is actually the Connecticut River!

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