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Ossipee Lake covers an impressive 3,245 acres in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, making it the sixth-largest lake contained entirely within the state. Ossipee Lake is located in Carroll County, bordered by the towns of Ossipee, Freedom and Effingham. Known as a true four-season natural playground, the lake attracts visitors from miles around during every month of the year.
The Ossipee Valley boasts villages that look the same as they did 100 years ago, residents whose hospitality equals that of the South's, and scenery that stays spectacular year-round. Beautiful pines and other trees sprinkle the countryside, decorating with their spectacular fall colors. The Ossipee Mountain range looms in the distance, it waters tumbling down slopes to empty into Ossipee Lake. The West Branch River flows into the lake from the north, Bearcamp River and Lovell River from the west, and Pine River from the south. Water flows from Ossipee Lake at the east end into the Ossipee River on its way to the Saco River in Maine and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean.
Outdoor activities abound in summer and winter at Ossipee Lake. During warmer months, fishing, power boating, jet skiing, waterskiing, canoeing, and swimming rule at the lake. Public access is provided at the Pine River boat ramp off of Route 25E, and several marinas offer boat gas and boat dock rentals. Fish species found in this warm and cold water fishery include rainbow trout, lake trout, brown trout, salmon, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, pickerel, and horned pout. Off-water daytime activities include horseback riding, berry picking, and attending craft fairs typical to the area. Evenings are spent dining at the area's restaurants, taking in a sunset, and enjoying the simple beauty of the nature that surrounds you.
Fall days are spent apple picking and sightseeing, as cooler temperatures tempt you into the warmth of your car to take one of greater Lake Ossipee area's scenic driving tours. Spectacular reds, yellows, and oranges dominate the landscape, slowly giving way to winter's grasp. The falling white snow creates a winter wonderland for the entire family.
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing please the more adventurous types, while others love snowball fights and snowman competitions. White Mountain ski area is a short drive away and provides true adrenaline junkies with downhill skiing and snowboarding runs. Other favorite winter pastimes must be indulged as well, and ice skating, sledding, and dog races will paint a smile on everyone's face. Anglers head to Ossipee Lake for some prime ice fishing when the ice reaches recommended safety depths. Of course, in true winter tradition, all activities must be followed by a mug of hot cocoa and a seat in front of a roaring fire.
Make sure to spend some time exploring the four undeveloped areas around Ossipee Lake that are dedicated to preserving the area's natural resources. The state-owned Ossipee Lake Natural Area encompasses 400 acres of undeveloped shoreline on the southern end of the lake. Also known as Long Sands, this sand plain pond shore system contains rare and threatened plant species and the remains of some of the area's oldest settlements. The state-owned Heath Pond Bog Natural Area, located off Route 25 near Pine River, provides 100 acres for nature lovers and bird watchers. The Bog is colorful during three seasons of the year with rare orchids, carnivorous plants, and cranberry moss. The banks of the pond grow over the water, creating a "quaking bog" that undulates up and down when stepped on. The Nature Conservancy of New Hampshire manages the Ossipee Pine Barrens, covering about 2,000 acres of sand deposits left by melting glaciers 15,000 years ago. Although the land is not conducive to farming (thus deemed barren by the early settlers), the pitch pine scrub oaks comprise a rare forest ecosystem that is home to rare butterflies and moths and declining numbers of shrubland birds. The New England Forestry Foundation manages the 244-acre Bearcamp Woodlands on the northwest portion of Ossipee Lake. The combination of wetlands and forest terrain is prime territory for hiking, canoeing, and kayaking. Wildlife species include black bears, moose, beavers, otters, muskrats, and deer.
Ossipee Lake campgrounds offer water, sewer, and electric hookups. Vacation rental homes are also available on Ossipee Lake, so book your romantic weekend or family vacation for your preferred season of the year.
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