Getaway in the Great North Woods

Emily Veh – SCA NH Corps – Discover the Power of Parks Interpretive Ranger

If you’re looking for a summer adventure with less crowds, incredible nature, and endless outdoor recreation opportunities, look no further than Great North Woods! I spent a weekend exploring the Great North Woods at Lake Francis State Park and Umbagog Lake State Park. These two parks are the perfect place to begin exploring New Hampshire’s northernmost region. Here’s an idea of some things you can see and do in the Great North Woods state parks.

Lake Francis at sunset. (Photo by Emily Veh)

Lake Francis State Park – Pittsburg, NH

Enjoy camping lakeside at Lake Francis State Park. The lake is a great place for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, boating, and fishing. Take in the colors of sunset by the day use picnic area, and keep an eye out for loons on the water.

First Connecticut Lake. (Photo by Emily Veh)

The Connecticut Lakes – Pittsburg, NH

If Lake Francis alone didn’t satisfy your lake needs, drive a short distance north of the park to see the Connecticut Lakes. The Connecticut Lakes are a series of four lakes located along the headwaters of the Connecticut River. Drive 7 minutes to First Connecticut Lake and admire the largest of the Connecticut Lakes.

Westward view from the top of the Mount Magalloway fire tower, First Connecticut Lake in the distance. (Photo by Emily Veh)

Mount Magalloway – Pittsburg, NH

If you’re looking for a fun hike nearby, check out Mount Magalloway. Hike the 0.8 mi Coot trail to a fire tower where on a clear day you’ll have views of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and Quebec. Make it a 1.6 mile loop by taking the Bobcat trail down back to the parking area. *Note that the trailhead for Mount Magalloway is accessed by a rough and rutted dirt road, proceed with caution if driving a vehicle with low clearance.

Fire Tower at the summit of Mount Magalloway (Photo by Emily Veh)

Umbagog Lake State Park – Cambridge, NH

Umbagog Lake also offers fantastic lakeside camping, both in a campground setting and remote sites only accessible by boat.

A family canoes out to one the park’s remote camp sites, towing supplies behind them. (Photo taken by Emily Veh)

Umbagog has a multitude of recreation opportunities including swimming (the lake even has a little beach), canoeing, kayaking, boating, and fishing. You can rent canoes and kayaks at the lake if you want to explore the park by water.

Kayaks and canoes ready for visitors to take them out on the water. Rent one at Umbagog Lake State Park.  (Photo taken by Emily Veh)

Umbagog Lake is also a great place for wildlife viewing. If wildlife viewing is of interest, set aside some time to visit the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. You can learn more information about the wildlife refuge at their website

Beaver Brook Falls Wayside – Colebrook, NH

A quick and fun stop along route 145 on the way to Pittsburg, NH is the Beaver Brook Falls Wayside. This roadside pull off has great views and a short path to the base of the falls.

Beaver Brook Falls in Colebrook, NH is a roadside pull off well worth the stop. (Photo by Emily Veh)

The Great North Woods is a beautiful place to plan a summer adventure in nature. Use this blog as inspiration for your own adventure, and include some of these places on your next getaway.


Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Discover the Power of Parks is presented by New Hampshire State Parks in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps and made possible by generous financial support from Eversource. The program offers a look into the natural world through hands-on programming. Interpretive programs focus on connecting participants with nature and building appreciation for New Hampshire's unmatched natural heritage. Programs include guided hikes, interpretive tours, and imaginative environmental workshops for children and families. Programs are offered free to guests with paid park admission fee. No pre-registration is required.

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