Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting Echo Lake

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Girl yelling out over Echo Lake, NH

When planning a trip to the northeast, you probably make plans to visit the iconic lighthouses, grab dinner at a famous lobster shack, or hike a few trails in Acadia National Park. Maybe you want to explore the city life of Boston or escape to the woods of White Mountains National Forest. Whatever you decide, make sure a visit to Echo Lake, NH, is on the itinerary.

You’ll be glad you took a detour or made a pit stop to enjoy this beautiful location in the central-eastern part of New Hampshire. Let’s learn more!

In What Town Is Echo Lake, NH? 

Located in North Conway in Carroll County, NH, Echo Lake is 15.7 acres of the greater Echo Lake State Park in the central-eastern part of the state. The park is open from May 13-November 1 from 9 am-6 pm.

Because of the inherent risks of participating in outdoor activities in the winter, visitors need to have the necessary knowledge, skill, and equipment to ensure their safety when visiting Echo Lake and the surrounding park in the off-season.

Nestled in the White Mountains, Echo Lake, NH, is less than 30 minutes from the famous Mt. Washington Auto Road that leads to the top of the tallest peak in the northeast. The North Conway area is less than 20 minutes from the Maine border at Highway 302.

How Do You Access Echo Lake, NH?

Echo Lake State Park is easily accessible from Highway 302. River Road cuts off the highway and crosses over the Saco River. Turn left onto West Side Road and then right onto Echo Lake Road. The park is only about three minutes from Highway 302.

Once inside Echo Lake State Park, there is parking near the entrance. Echo Lake is just a few steps from the parking lot. If you’re interested in hiking around the lake for beautiful scenic views, the Echo Lake Trail is a one-mile loop that’s easy for any level of hiker to enjoy. Note that there is a fee to enter Echo Lake State Park: $4 for adults and $2 for children ages 6-11.

Is Echo Lake Clean?

Echo Lake State Park is a carry-in/carry-out park, which means whatever you bring must go out with you. There are no trash cans. This rule keeps the area beautiful and clean for everyone to enjoy.

Note that pets are not allowed at Echo Lake during the peak season from May 1-October 31. Pets can access the Cathedral Ledge and White Horse Ledge trails. This guideline is one reason Echo Lake, NH, stays so clean.

Unfortunately, pet owners don’t always follow proper etiquette and policy rules. So by limiting the use of Echo Lake to people only, the New Hampshire State Park system is trying to keep the area clean.

Autumn time at Echo Lake, NH

What Is There to Do? 

Although there is parking near Echo Lake, NH, it is minimal. For this reason, advanced reservations are highly recommended, especially on weekends and holidays. There are walk-in spaces available on a first-come/first-serve basis. Reservations are available up to 30 days before arrival.

There is a lovely beach along Echo Lake to bask in the summer sun and splash in the cool water for a few hours. You can quickly launch a canoe or kayak and paddle around the 15 acres of the lake to enjoy the peaceful surroundings. The lake also permits fishing. Trout, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch are common catches.

Visitors can go hiking, mountain biking, or snowshoeing elsewhere in the state park. Both White Horse Ledge and Cathedral Ledge are popular rock climbing destinations. There is also a 1-mile auto road that leads to the top of the 700-foot Cathedral Ledge.

Can You Swim in Echo Lake? 

Guests can enjoy splashing about in the beautiful waters of Echo Lake. Pack a picnic lunch, bring a change of clothes and a pair of hiking boots, and load up the sand toys for an entire day of fun.

Again, because of its popularity in the summer on weekends and holidays, you probably want to make reservations to ensure you have a parking space to enjoy a day on the lake and inside the state park.

Traveler’s Tip: While you can swim in Lake Echo, find out Why You Can’t Swim in Lake Massabesic, NH.

Friends swimming in Echo Lake, NH.

Where to Stay Near Echo Lake, NH

If you want to spend several days exploring the North Conway, NH, area, there are two great options for places to stay. The Saco River Family Campground welcomes RVers and tent campers, while the White Mountain Hotel & Resort provides comfortable accommodations for all travelers.

Saco River Family Campground

Address: 1550 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH 03860

About: In the heart of the Mount Washington Valley, the Saco River Family Campground provides full hookup campsites, cabins, and tent sites on almost 50 acres of property. Riverfront and poolside campsites are available as well as big rig-friendly campsites. The campground is less than 15 minutes from Echo Lake State Park.

Amenities: This campground features two dog parks, two playgrounds, wagon rides, a heated swimming pool, fun cycle rentals, cable TV and Wi-Fi, and more. Guests can also access the river from the campground.

The White Mountain Hotel & Resort

Address: 87 Fairway Drive, North Conway, NH 03860

About: For a more luxurious stay when you visit Echo Lake, NH, book a room at the White Mountain Hotel & Resort, just a five-minute drive from the entrance to Echo Lake State Park. The resort offers dog-friendly rooms for a $75 fee if you have a furry friend. Enjoy access to dining, a spa, golf, and more during your stay.

Amenities: Included in your stay is a full breakfast. Access to room service and self-serve laundry is available at an additional cost. The rooms include a workstation, refrigerator, Serta mattress, flat screen TV, and beautiful mountain views.

Is Echo Lake, NH, Worth Visiting? 

Echo Lake, NH, is one of the most beautiful locations in the White Mountains. If you haven’t been, it’s time to make a reservation. It’s a fun family vacation spot if you’re traveling with kids. If you’re traveling alone, it provides a serene, relaxing opportunity to get away and enjoy nature. Whatever you’re looking for, Echo Lake, the surrounding state park, and the North Conway area have it.

It’s time to pack your bags! Have you booked a campsite or hotel room yet?

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