Squam Lake is a lake located in the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire, United States, south of the White Mountains, straddling the borders of Grafton, Carroll, and Belknap counties. The largest town center on the lake is Holderness. The lake is located northwest of much larger Lake Winnipesaukee.
It drains via a short natural channel into Little Squam Lake, and then through a dam at the head of the short Squam River into the Pemigewasset at Ashland. Covering 6,791 acres (27.48 km2), Squam is the second-largest lake located entirely in New Hampshire.
Squam Lake was originally called Keeseenunknipee, which meant "the goose lake in the highlands". The white settlers that followed shortened the name to "Casumpa", "Kusumpy" and/or "Kesumpe" around 1779. In the early 19th century, the lake was given another Abenaki name, Asquam, which means "water". Finally, in the early 20th century, Asquam was shortened to its present version, Squam.
The 1981 film On Golden Pond was filmed in the town of Center Harbor on Squam Lake. There are two tour boat services on the lake, both based in Holderness. One is Experience Squam, a private charter, and the other is the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. Both services show filming locations and items of natural significance.
The lake is classified as a cold- and warmwater fishery, with observed species including rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, lake trout, lake whitefish, smallmouth and largemouth bass, chain pickerel, horned pout, and white perch.
View from the cliffs of East Rattlesnake
|Location||Grafton County, Carroll County, and Belknap County, New Hampshire|
|Primary outflows||Squam River|
|Basin countries||United States|
|Max. length||7.0 mi (11.3 km)|
|Max. width||4.6 mi (7.4 km)|
|Surface area||6,791 acres (2,748 ha)|
|Surface elevation||561 ft (171 m)|
|Islands||28 named (see list)|
|Settlements||Holderness; Sandwich; Moultonborough; Center Harbor|
Squam Lake has about 30 named islands and numerous smaller, unnamed islets. The named islands are:
Boulderwood is a historic private summer camp on the shore of Squam Lake in Holderness, New Hampshire. Located on Mooney Point, the camp was developed beginning in the 1920s by Elwyn G. Preston. Preston, whose family had summered in other camps located on the point, began purchasing land in 1922, which included 2,000 feet (610 m) of shoreline, which was gradually expanded with other land purchases.The camp was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2018.Burleigh Brae and Webster Boathouse
Burleigh Brae and Webster Boathouse are a historic summerhouse and boathouse in Holderness, New Hampshire. Located near Carns Cove off New Hampshire Route 113, Burleigh Brae is part of an extensive estate owned by the locally prominent Webster family. It was designed by Chapman & Foster and built in 1911 for Edwin G. Webster. The boathouse, located on the shore of Squam Lake, was built c. 1913.The buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.Camp Carnes
Camp Carnes is a historic private summer camp in Holderness, New Hampshire. Located on an island in Squam Lake's Carnes Cove off New Hampshire Route 113, the 1894 camp is one of the first to be established on an island in Squam Lake, and forms part of the extensive set of properties owned by the locally prominent Webster family. The camp was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.Camp Ossipee
Camp Ossipee is a historic private summer camp in Holderness, New Hampshire. Located on Porter Road on the shores of Squam Lake, it consists of two adjacent family camps owned by the Porter and Hurd families. The older of the two camps was built in 1902, and features an electric railroad to bring supplies to the camp from the road. The camp was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.Center Harbor, New Hampshire
Center Harbor is a town located in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 1,096. It is situated between Lake Winnipesaukee and Squam Lake.Chocorua Island Chapel
The Chocorua Island Chapel is a non-denominational chapel located on the island of the same name on Squam Lake in Grafton County, New Hampshire, in the town of Holderness. It is an open-air place of worship, created as an extension of Camp Chocorua, the first summer youth camp in the United States. The open-air chapel was created by the camp's first season of young boys, made entirely of boulders, trees, various island vegetation, and beach sand.Holderness, New Hampshire
Holderness is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 2,108 at the 2010 census. An agricultural and resort area, Holderness is home to the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center and is located on Squam Lake. Holderness is also home to Holderness School, a co-educational college-preparatory boarding school.Lakes Region (New Hampshire)
The Lakes Region of New Hampshire is the mid-state region surrounding Lake Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam Lake, Squam Lake, and Newfound Lake. The area comprises all of Belknap County, the southern portion of Carroll County, the eastern portion of Grafton County, and the northern portions of Strafford County and Merrimack County. The largest municipality is the city of Laconia.
The area is a popular tourist destination in the summer time, with the activity peaking during the annual Motorcycle Week and races at Loudon's New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Other tourist destinations include Funspot in Weirs Beach, the children's museum of Center Harbor, Gunstock ski resort and Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook, both in Gilford, Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough, and the town of Wolfeboro, which claims to be the nation's oldest resort town. Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in the state, and is home to numerous vacation homes. Several motion pictures have either been filmed or set in the region, including the 1981 classic, On Golden Pond (filmed on Squam Lake in the town of Holderness) and the 1991 comedy What About Bob?, which was filmed in Virginia but (fictitiously) took place in Wolfeboro.Little Squam Lake
Little Squam Lake is a 408-acre (1.65 km2) water body located in Grafton County in the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire, United States, in the towns of Holderness and Ashland. The lake connects upstream via a short channel to Squam Lake in Holderness. The two lakes are maintained at a common water level by a dam located one mile downstream from the outlet of Little Squam Lake, on the Squam River, a tributary of the Pemigewasset River.Mount Doublehead
Mount Doublehead is a twin-peaked mountain in eastern New Hampshire, United States. It is located in the town of Jackson, Carroll County, in the eastern White Mountains. North Doublehead has an elevation of 3,053 feet (930.5 m) above sea level, while South Doublehead has an elevation of 2,939 ft (895.8 m).
Doublehead stands within the watershed of the Saco River, which drains into the Gulf of Maine. The eastern and southern slopes of Doublehead drain into the East Branch of the Saco River. The northwest side of Doublehead drains into Great Brook, thence into Wildcat Brook, the Ellis River, and into the Saco.
In 1934, the American composer Alan Hovhaness (1911–2000), who frequently climbed the White Mountains during his youth, wrote a composition for piano entitled Fog on Mount Double Head (Op. 1, no. 2).
South of the White Mountains, Doublehead Mountain (elevation 2,158 ft/657.8 m) is found in Sandwich, New Hampshire (also in Carroll County), in the Squam Mountains overlooking Squam Lake.Newfound Lake
Newfound Lake is located in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. It is situated in the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire, in the towns of Alexandria, Bridgewater, Bristol, and Hebron. Its area of 4,451 acres (18.0 km2) places it behind only Lake Winnipesaukee and Squam Lake among lakes located entirely within New Hampshire, and fourth in the state overall, when Umbagog Lake on the Maine border is included.Rockywold-Deephaven Camps
The Rockywold-Deephaven Camps are a historic summer camp on Squam Lake in Holderness, New Hampshire. Now operated as a single facility, the camp began life as two adjacent camps. Rockywold Camp was established in 1901 by Mary Alice Armstrong and Deephaven in 1897 by Alice Mabel Bacon. Since 1918 the camps have been under combined administration, first under control of Mrs. Armstrong and the Howe family, and now under an organization owned primarily by the camp's returning guests. The camps have been a major influence on the development of Squam Lake as a summer destination, with many of its early campers returning to the lake (if not the camps) for many years. The camp grounds and facilities have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.The camps are located in northern Holderness, near the northwest tip of Squam Lake, on a pair of peninsulas separate by an inlet known to campers as The Bight. The camp occupies 103 acres (42 ha) of land, most of which is on the mainland, but also includes a few small islands in the lake. (The National Register listing also includes 288 acres (117 ha) of the lake itself, between the mainland and those islands.) There
are more than 60 residential cottages at the camp, as well as two lodges, two dining halls, and numerous smaller service-related facilities. The cottages are all distinct constructions, with many set along a portion of the camp's 8,000 feet (2,400 m) of shoreline. All are of wood-frame construction. Recreational facilities at the camp, in addition to water-based activities, include tennis and basketball courts.Sandwich, New Hampshire
Sandwich is a town in Carroll County, New Hampshire, United States. Its population was 1,326 at the 2010 census. Sandwich includes the villages of Center Sandwich and North Sandwich. Part of the White Mountain National Forest is in the north, and part of Squam Lake is in the southwestern corner of the town.Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center (SLNSC) is an environmental education center and zoo founded in 1966 and opened to the public on July 1, 1969. The science center is located in Holderness, New Hampshire, United States. The mission of the science center is to advance understanding of ecology by exploring New Hampshire's natural world.
The science center uses live animal exhibits, natural science education programs, and lake cruises to educate visitors about the natural world. Using the outdoors as a classroom and native New Hampshire animals as teaching ambassadors, the science center teaches the ecological concepts of adaptations, populations, interrelationships, and habitats.Squam River
The Squam River is a 3.6-mile-long (5.8 km) river located in central New Hampshire in the United States. The river is the outlet of Squam Lake, the second-largest lake in New Hampshire, and it is a tributary of the Pemigewasset River, which itself is a tributary of the Merrimack River.
The Squam River first appears as a narrow channel in Holderness, New Hampshire between Squam Lake and Little Squam Lake downstream. The two lakes have the same elevation, due to a dam below the outlet to Little Squam, so the river in Holderness village is not free-flowing. Below Little Squam Lake the river proceeds south for over a mile before reaching the dam which controls the two lakes' water level. Below this point, the river quickly reaches the backwater from a mill dam in the town of Ashland.
In Ashland, the river drops 50 feet (15 m) in 0.2 miles (0.3 km), sufficient to provide hydropower for numerous industries when the town originally grew in the 19th century. Below the center of town, the river wanders southeast under railroad tracks and Interstate 93 and past the Ashland sewage treatment plant before entering the Pemigewasset River.Watch Rock Camp
Watch Rock Camp is a historic summer camp in Holderness, New Hampshire. Located off New Hampshire Route 113 on the shore of Squam Lake, the camp was built in 1926 for Herbert and Elizabeth Gallaudet; he was a scion of the founders of Gallaudet College. The camp was designed by New York City architect Francis Y. Joannes.The camp was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.Webster Estate
The Webster Estate is a historic summer estate in Holderness, New Hampshire. Located near Carns Cove on Squam Lake off New Hampshire Route 113, the estate belongs to the locally prominent Webster family. It includes a number of houses: the Homestead, which was built for the family patriarch, Frank Webster, in 1899, and the 1903 Laurence Webster House. It was one of the largest summer estates on Squam Lake at the time. A 16.4-acre (6.6 ha) remnant of the original 5,000-acre (2,000 ha) estate was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.White Oak Pond
White Oak Pond is a 295-acre (1.19 km2) water body in Grafton County in the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire, United States, in the town of Holderness. Water from White Oak Pond flows north to Squam Lake and is part of the Pemigewasset River watershed.