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Echo Lake in Grafton County, New Hampshire, USA

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Echo Lake is a 38.2-acre (15.5 ha) water body located in Franconia Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, at the foot of Cannon Mountain. The lake is in the Connecticut River watershed, near the height of land in Franconia Notch; water from the lake's outlet flows north via Lafayette Brook to the Gale River, then the Ammonoosuc River, and finally the Connecticut River to Long Island Sound, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean.

Echo Lake lies in Franconia Notch State Park. The park's Cannon Mountain ski slopes rise directly to the southwest of the lake. Interstate 93 (the Franconia Notch Parkway) runs along the lake's eastern shore, and New Hampshire Route 18 passes the lake's northern shore, where a state park swimming beach is located. Artists Bluff, a hill with open ledges, rises north of the lake and provides views south over the lake into the center of Franconia Notch.

The lake is classified as a coldwater fishery, with observed species including brook trout.
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Surrounded by sheer cliffs and densely forested hills, Echo Lake is a tiny 16-acre gem on the outskirts of New Hampshire's White Mountains. Dining, shopping and entertainment are available in the nearby community of North Conway, but natural attractions are the real draw in the Echo Lake area. The lake itself and the state park land that surrounds it provide a mix of recreational opportunities.

Boating and Fishing

Small, quiet and shielded from hard winds by the hills that surround it, Echo Lake is perfect for canoeing and kayaking. Echo Lake State Park has a small put-in for canoes and car-top boats. There is no launch ramp for larger craft, so you won't have to contend with speedboats or personal watercraft as you explore the water. The lake also has productive fishing, both from shore and by boat. You're not likely to break any world records, but Echo Lake often rewards fishermen with modest catches of bass, trout and panfish.

Swimming and Picnicking

[post_ads]A beach at Echo Lake State Park is open for swimming during the summer, and the water is typically clear and cool. You can check upon arrival for lifeguard hours. Picnic tables and barbecue grills are scattered beneath a grove of pine trees near the beach, providing a shady spot for a lakeside picnic. Restrooms and ample parking are nearby. If you have children, they can pass the time at the playground, which is only a short walk from the beach.

Hiking and Climbing

A 1-mile hiking trail encircles Echo lake. Beginning and ending near the park entrance, the trail winds through quiet forests over easy to moderate terrain. This trail provides an excellent view of the rocky cliffs that loom over the lake, and two additional trails take hikers to the top for an even more striking view across the Saco River Valley. The two main cliffs -- known as White Horse Ledge and Cathedral Ledge -- are also popular rock-climbing destinations, but the bare rock face should be attempted only by experienced climbers. The top of 700-foot Cathedral Ledge is available both by trail and by road.

Considerations

Park facilities at Echo Lake are open and staffed during daylight hours from late May through mid-October, at time of publication. You can get into the park year-round, however, and a few hardy visitors ice fish on the lake or utilize the hiking trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing during winter. A daily entrance fee is charged during the open season. You must have a current New Hampshire fishing license to fish the lake; you can get one through the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department website.


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Travel Gallery: Echo Lake in Grafton County, New Hampshire, USA
Echo Lake in Grafton County, New Hampshire, USA
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