After a very snowy February and a fresh dusting this week, conditions are perfect for winter sports all across New England. In addition to Alpine skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, sledding, and tubing, the Lakes Region of New Hampshire has some great spots for the quieter pursuits of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Just off the beaten path, these trails offer a great way to get some exercise while enjoying spectacular views of pristine lakes and forests!
Just a few miles from Mill Falls at the Lake, two forests in Center Harbor maintained by the Squam Lakes Association feature some trail systems that are wonderful for snowshoeing. Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest is a 157-acre forest with over a mile of waterfront on Squam Lake and over 4 miles of trails, and Belknap Woods is a 90-acre forest located at the mouth of Dog Cove and along Rte 25-B in Center Harbor. There is a network of trails for hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Although the trails are not groomed, they offer beautiful scenery with great views of the lake and small ponds. Check the SLA website at www.squamlakes.org/natural-areas-trails-and-recreation/maps or call 603-968-7336 for more information.
Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center in Laconia also has some beautiful snowshoeing trails that are open to the public daily from dawn to dusk. The Forest Trail is about a half-mile long and loops through the woods; the Pond Loop Trail is about one mile long and follows the perimeter of the property to a wooded pond; and the Sugar Trail goes through the farm’s sugar bush area to the Sugarhouse (where maple syrup is being made this month!). Prescott Farm even has snowshoes that you can use if you don’t have your own! For more information or to reserve your snowshoes, call 603-366-5695 or check Prescott Farm’s website at http://prescottfarm.org/about/trail-map-2/.
For wide, well-groomed trails that are suitable for skate skiing as well as classical cross-country skiing, look no further than the Nordic Center at Gunstock Mountain Resort. Gunstock has programs for everyone, from the beginner skier to the advanced Nordic enthusiast, and their pristine, single-track snowshoe trails are hidden in the quiet woods around the resort. Gunstock offers rental skis and snowshoes, too! Current trail conditions are available at www.gunstock.com/winter/nordic/ or call 603-293-4341 and ask for the Nordic Center.
Piche’s Ski & Sports in Gilford is a full-service shop that offers ski, snowboard, and snowshoe sales as well as affordable rentals, with rental fees that can be applied toward purchases if you decide you love winter sports after all! The friendly folks at Piche’s will also recommend their favorite places in the neighborhood to hit the trails! For rental information and rates, visit Piche’s website at www.piches.com/rentals/winter_rentals or call 603-524-2068.
With the days getting longer (and hopefully warmer soon!), this is the best time of year to cure your cabin fever—get outside, reconnect with nature, and take advantage of the abundant snowfall we’ve had this winter. Happy March!
The Mill Falls Blogging Team