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18 October 2012

Squam Lake: 5-Finger Point and Eagle Cliff

Autumn always seems so brief to me.  And so,  I like to try to experience as much of it as possible while it lasts.  The brilliant colors of "peak season" have faded, or are gone, here in northern New Hampshire.  Therefore, I decided to drive southward to Squam Lake (NH Lakes Region) with the hope of finding some dazzling Autumn colors there.   Only two short hikes were undertaken, but there were many handsome rewards.

Circled in white on the map below are the two areas where I hiked.  One hike included the Five Finger Point area, and the other hike was to Eagle Cliff. (Click on map to enlarge it.)
 Circled in white are the two areas where I hiked

PART 1: Five Finger Point

Starting from the small parking area on Pinehurst Road in Holderness, NH, it's a short and pleasant hike to Five Finger Point peninsula. About midway around the peninsula loop, there is a large sign which is shown in the next snapshot.
Sign located about midway around the peninsula loop

There are segments of the trail on the peninsula loop that are quite colorful, especially at this time of year.
Colorful segment of Five Finger Point Trail

Of course, the views from the shoreline are the superstars of the show.  One of the star attractions is a vista of West and East Rattlesnake mountains (next photo).
West and East Rattlesnake Mountain, as viewed from Five Finger Point

The next four photos provide just a sampling other shoreline views along Five Finger Point that are so beautiful during the Autumn Season.
Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

The next two photos are my attempt at being "artsy"!  These images merely show a small slice of some things along the shoreline that was visually appealing to me.  But you know what they say, i.e. beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
Artsy Photo 1

Artsy Photo 2

PART : Eagle Cliff

Following my hike to Five Finger Point, I hopped in my car and drove part way around Squam Lake to the trailhead for the Eagle Cliff Trail.  Although you can follow this trail all the way to Red Hill, my modest goal for this particular day was only to go to Eagle Cliff.  I had never been there, and so I was uncertain exactly what to expect.

First of all, this trek took far less time than I had anticipated.  After only about 20 minutes of hiking, I arrived at the main viewing area.  My second surprise was the vastness of the view.   Not only were there the anticipated views of Squam Lake, but there was a marvelous vista of a huge array of peaks in the Sandwich Range.

Perhaps the next series of snapshots will provide some idea of the views from Eagle Cliff.
Squam Lake view from Eagle Cliff

View of Squam Mountain Range on the west side of the lake

Another Squam Lake view from Eagle Cliff

A boater enjoying an Autumn day on Squam Lake

Watching a boat come ashore at a cove directly below Eagle Cliff

A huge array of peaks in the Sandwich Range visible on the horizon

The next photo is a zoomed photo which features Mt. Chocorua (right) and Mt. Paugus (left).  Does any reader have an idea as to which NH village might be the proud owner of the church steeple seen in this photo (a red arrow points to it)?
(FOOTNOTE: As indicated in reader's comments below, the steeple has been identified as belonging to a church located in Center Sandwich, NH.)
Zoomed photo showing Mt. Chocorua on the right and Mt. Paugus on the left
To sum it up, hiking in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire is always a pleasure, but I find it particularly nice when the colorful leaves of Autumn contrast so magnificently with the blue waters of the surrounding lake.  I don't know how many, if any, more opportunities there will be for colorful Autumn hikes this season.  Regardless, I'm already eager for next Autumn to come around.  The only things standing in the way are the upcoming Winter, Spring and Summer! :-)


Steve Smith said...

Wow, lots of beautiful photos, John! Good thinking to head down to the Lakes Region for some late foliage. Those are two great short hikes. Eagle Cliff sure gives you a big bang for the buck! The steeple looks like it might be in the town of Sandwich, perhaps Center Sandwich?


1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Steve!

You are so right about the Eagle Cliff hike providing a big bang for the buck! As mentioned in my Blog, it was my first visit there, and I was duly impressed! In many ways, I sort of prefer that viewpoint to the more popular ledges on West Rattlesnake.

Regarding the church steeple, thank you for taking time to evaluate and post a response. Your assessment as to its location is in agreement with that of Ed Parsons, plus a few other folks who sent e-mails to me.


Salty said...

John, I *believe* that's the church on (go figure) Church St. in Center Sandwich. Looks further away in your picture, but it lines up perfectly.

1HappyHiker said...

Well Salty, you and others have made a “believer” out of me as to the location of the church steeple. I’m now a faithful follower of those who believe that the steeple belongs to the church located on Church Street in Center Sandwich! :)

Thanks for posting your response . . . very much appreciated!


OPW5000 said...

Some truly fine photographs. Thanks John!

Peppersass said...

Want to check out Eagle Cliff, John!

1HappyHiker said...

And thank you Owen for taking time to post a reply! I know that responding to Blogs can be cumbersome with the hurdles of entering the fuzzy number and letter combinations that are required to prevent spammers from posting inappropriate content.

It’s terrific to read that you liked the photos. As you know, I shoot exclusively with a cheap “point and shoot” camera. Without question, better images could be obtained with a better camera! However, my goal is merely to give a general idea of sights to be seen at the various locations where I hike.

Thanks again for your comments,

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Dolores,

Eagle Cliff is a fantastic destination in the Lakes Region . . . at least in my opinion! However, as I indicated in my Blog, it’s an extremely short hike of only about 20 minutes (one-way). So, as you likely already know, you’ll probably want to plan on continuing onward to Red Hill, and/or including some other hike(s) in that general vicinity.

Thanks for taking time to post a reply!


Andrew said...

Hmm, Lindsay stays at her mother's in Meredith mid-week to be closer to work, but for some reason we never steered towards this trail. Looks like we have a new option for a pleasant stroll- thanks!

I must say that I have always considered Squam as a really special lake as far as the scenery goes. The lake holds special for many people for so many different reasons; whether loons, boating, a family camp history, golden movies, etc. But every time I lay my eyes on this lake and surrounding landscape, I am struck by the sheer beauty of what amounts to a perfect balance of significant hills descending right to waters edge, island hills, ledges, coves, secret channels, and a backdrop of White Hills.

It's hard to take in all of the beauty there except to get on some close high ground.

Summerset said...

Yes, we do have some nice color down here in our neck of the woods! It is easy to forget that beauty is all around us, not just a few hours drive away. Lovely photos as always.

1HappyHiker said...

Andrew, it’s terrific to read that my blog provided you with a new option for some pleasant strolls. If anything, I’m merely returning the favor! Many of your blogs ( describing yours and Lindsay’s adventures off the beaten path have provided me with new ideas for hikes.

Regarding your assessment of Squam Lake, I think your description is perfect. It truly is a special place for all the reasons you outlined.

Thanks for posting your comments and thoughts!


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Summerset,

You are so right about “beauty is all around us”. One of my favorite blogs is named “Spicebush Log” at Here the author Ellen Snyder hones in on the beauty of even the smallest things in nature, such as a leaf, a caterpillar, etc.

Thanks for your kind words about the Squam Lake photos, and thanks for posting your comments.


Rita Wechter said...

Squam Lake is beautiful!

Thanks for sharing these gorgeous autumn scenes, John.

P.S. Center Sandwich? What a great name for a town!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita, as you say, "Squam Lake is beautiful!"

As you might recall, the classic 1981 film entitled "On Golden Pond" was filmed at Squam Lake. As stated in Yankee Magazine, "When the movie makers went looking for a place to be Golden Pond, they found everything they wanted right here.”


Anonymous said...

Those are some beautiful pics! I mtn biked Five Finger Point years ago, and did on a separate date did the Eagle Cliff and thought it was a great short hike with awesome views. Great trip report!! Glad to see your exploring the Lakes Region Area! Lots of gems here!

Hiking Lady

1HappyHiker said...

Thank you Hiking Lady for your very generous comments! As you correctly state, there are indeed “lots of gems” in the Lakes Region for hiking opportunities. And, as I’m sure you know, Squam Lake is just one of many such places. I'm feeling the need to get back down to that area more often!


Elaine Hayes said...

I realise this comment might come out of the blue ... with your original post almost forgotten ... but I saw your post and my husband and I hiked both trails today on an afternoon as beautiful as yours, almost 5 years later. Just to let you know we also visited Bethlehem and thought the painted benches very cute. Thank you so much for your inspiration. Best wishes Elaine & Chris from England

1HappyHiker said...

Thank you Elaine and Chris for taking a moment to post your comments to my blog. It is always so nice to get feedback.

Also, I am delighted to know that you had a wonderful experience at 5-Finger Point, and that you enjoyed your visit to our little town of Bethlehem.