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Hikes through Echo Lake

The White Mountain Region of North Conway, New Hampshire is the setting for majestic Echo Lake State Park, and Cathedral Ledge. Both offer a series of unique hikes for all abilities. Looking west out of North Conway, it is easy to see Cathedral’s famous cliff, and why so many hikers are up for the challenge.

Smack in the middle of the 118 acres of park is the sparkling clear water of Echo Lake (not to be confused with New Hampshire’s other Echo Lake in Franconia Notch). Echo lake is a favorite spot for hikers, climbers, and families vacationing in the White Mountain region. On clear days, soak up spectacular views of Mt. Lafayette and Cannon Mountain.

Echo offers sandy beaches, swimming, picnicking, fishing, and a beautiful scenic trail that rambles around the lake. The water tends to be a little chilly even in the summer. While hiking around Echo lake you will have an amazing view of the towering 700 foot high Cathedral Ledge. The Park is open weekends and holidays from late May but is open daily from the middle of June until Labor Day.

At times, the lake feels crowded with tourists. A mid-week visit is recommended. White Horse Ledge Trail and Cathedral Ledge Trail are picked up at Echo Lake State Park. Both of these trails will connect up with Red Ridge Trail.

Spring usually hits the White Mountain Region around the middle of March and stays until the end of May. Spring also is known as “mud season” and the trails will be muddy. Weather rolls in very quickly and unexpectedly. Weather is very unpredictable in the White Mountains. It is very important to be prepared for anything. Summer tends to be relatively mild and offers an average temperature of around 70 degrees. At times, in early summer bugs appear to out number people. Fall hiking is a real treat in Echo Lake State Park. Hikers will feast their eyes on a cornucopia of beautiful fall colors.

Cathedral Ledge(elevation 1155 ft.) an amazing granite crag is a popular hike located just north of Echo Lake or pick up the trail a short distance from The Eastern Slope Inn. There is a left hand turn. You will see signs pointing the way to the base of Cathedral’s parking area.

Trail goers wanting to experience the view across Saco River Valley to the White Mountain Ridge will enjoy this winding hike. Cathedral Ledge Trail is great for families and enjoyable for easy to moderate skilled hikers. The ledge is also a favorite spot for Rock climbers in summer and winter. The views are definitely worth the hike!

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