Some of the most pristine areas of New Hampshire lie way up north near the headwaters of the Connecticut River. Day trips on 2nd Connecticut Lake and East Inlet Lake provide some of the most secluded experiences you’ll find along the Paddlers’ Trail. These are one of a kind experiences that are increasingly hard to come by.
2nd Connecticut Lake is a beautiful, 1,100-acre glacially formed lake 15 miles north of Pittsburg. There is a dam on the south west side of this lake, but other than that, there are few distractions from the natural environment. Find yourself in a quiet cove on the south end of the lake and enjoy a snack or lunch on the water, watch the beauties of nature unfold, listen for loons, or watch for heron, which have established a rookery on the small islands on the lake. A paddle provides wide-open views of the northern mountains, and wonderful sunrise and sunset panoramas. River access is best from Idlewilder Road, just north of the dam off Route 3.
Situated within the Connecticut Lakes Natural Area, 92-acre East Inlet lies within one of the last standing virgin spruce-fir forests in the eastern United States. The Connecticut Lakes Natural Area was established in 2002 in a partnership deal between the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHFG) and The Nature Conservancy. A total of 171,400 acres of preserved land makes this deal one of the biggest of its kind. East Inlet is one of the last few virgin forests in the eastern United States and is the crown jewel for nature enthusiasts seeking this type of natural beauty. Arriving at East Inlet in the early or late hours of the day will give you the best chance of spotting a moose in this area. There are also many unique flowers and vegetation here, including pitcher plants, which you can find on the banks or on stumps in the water. Great blue herons and kingfishers can also be also be seen. The adventurous can paddle to the upper northeast corner of East Inlet to get into the 427-acre Norton Pool, a deep, cold-water pond located deep in the woods. This requires following a narrow side steam often overgrown with brush.
For gear rentals, contact Lopstick Lodge and Outfitters.
- 2nd Connecticut Lake & East Inlet Lake
- Trail Features