Squam Lake | On Golden Pond

Affectionately known as “On Golden Pond“, after the classic Fonda-Hepburn motion picture filmed here in the early 1980’s, Squam Lake is truly one of the most picturesque, pristine and unspoiled lakes you’ll find. Nestled in the heart of New Hampshire’s Lakes & White Mountains Region, Squam Lake remains much like how the Native Americans left it. Many of the same families have been visiting Squam Lake for generations and often these quintessential lakeside cabins and cottages are passed down for younger generations to enjoy. Squam Lake encompasses land in the quaint towns of Ashland, Holderness, Center Harbor and Sandwich, New Hampshire. Squam Lake is a spring fed lake, with crystal clear water and sometimes colder than most.

On Golden Pond was filmed in a quintessential lakeside cottage on the shores of Big Squam Lake. On Golden Pond was based on the screenplay by Ernest Thompson.

Squam Lake Webcam - Squam Lake Association

Squam Lake Webcam Courtesy of Squam Lake Association

Facts & History about Squam Lake

Squam Lake was originally called Keeseenunknipee, which meant “the goose lake in the highlands”. The white settlers that followed shortened the name to “Casumpa”, “Kusumpy” and/or “Kesumpe” around 1779. In the early 19th century, the lake was given another Abenaki name, Asquam, which means “water”. Finally, in the early 20th century, Asquam was shortened to its present version, Squam.

 

The 1981 film On Golden Pond  was filmed in the town of Center Harbor on Squam Lake. The movie exposed the world to the natural beauty and tranquility of the Squam Lake region.

Hepburn and Fonda On Golden Pond

Hepburn and Fonda on the set of On Golden Pond

On Golden Pond Movie filmed at Squam Lake in the 80s

On Golden Pond on the cover of Time

There is a wonderful tour boat service offered by the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center based in Holderness. The tour explores the filming locations as well as other items of natural significance. It’s a wonderful tour.

Squam Lake is a nesting site for loons and is a good place to see them in breeding plumage during the summer months. Bald eagles and great blue herons are also known to nest on the lake.

Squam Lake has about 30 wonderful islands and numerous smaller, unnamed islets. The islands are named:

  • Basin Island
  • Birch Island
  • Bowman Island
  • Carnes Island
  • Chocorua (Church) Island
  • Duck Island
  • Great Island
  • Groton Island
  • High Haith (at 243 acres (98 ha), the largest island, but only separated from mainland by narrow ditch bridged by road)
  • Hoag Island
  • Hubble Island
  • Kate Island
  • Kent Island
  • Kimball Island
  • Laurel Island
  • Little Loon Island (nesting site to bald eagles in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2012)
  • Long Island
  • Loon Island
  • Merrill Island
  • Mink Island
  • Mooney (or Moon) Island
  • Mouse Island
  • Otter Island
  • Perch Island
  • Potato Island
  • Sheep Island
  • Three Sisters (three separate islands)
  • Utopia Island
  • Yard Island

Church Island on Squam Lake

Chocorua (Church) Island located on Big Squam Lake is open to the public and offers Sunday services and wedding events during the summer months. It’s also a peaceful place for reflection with the lake and surrounding mountains all around.

The Chuch Island Chapel on Squam Lake

The Church Island Chapel

A view of The Church Island Chapel on Squam Lake

A view of The Church Island Chapel

The path on Church Island leading to the outdoor chapel

The path on Church Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Foliage at Squam Lake

Fall foliage at Squam Lake is truly spectacular. Mother nature unveils a symphony of vibrant colors which reflect upon the lake water. Squam Lake is a great place to visit during the fall (especially early to mid October) for the best display of fall foliage colors in New Hampshire.

Fall colors on the Channel at Squam Lake

Fall colors on the Channel at Squam Lake

Fall foliage on Perkins Lane at Squam Lake

Fall foliage on Perkins Lane at Squam Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plan your visit to Squam Lake / On Golden Pond in New Hampshire using our SQUAM LAKE LODGING link above. We can offer you lodging and dining advice, suggestions on things to do and places to explore around On Golden Pond.

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