White Lake and Black Spruce Bog

Destinations:  White Lake, Black Spruce Bog
Trails:  Lake Trail, Pitch Pine Trail
Region:  NH - Central East  
Lakes Region
Location:  Tamworth, NH
Rating:  Easy  
Features:  Lake, bog, beach, views
Distance:  2.5 miles  
Elevation Gain:  Minimal  
Hiking Time:  Actual: 1:15     
Season:  Winter
Hike Date:  01/07/2007 (Sunday)  
Weather:  Sunny, about 40 degrees
Author:  Webmaster

White Lake and Sandwich Range (photo by Webmaster)

Route Summary   

Walk clockwise around White Lake, with a detour to check out the Black Spruce Ponds.

Place         Split
Southern end of beach 0.0 0.0 0:00 0:00
Pitch Pine Trail 0.5 0.5 0:15 0:15
Black Spruce Bog - start of loop 0.2 0.7 0:06 0:21
Black Spruce Bog - end of loop 0.3 1.0 0:09 0:30
Lake Trail 0.2 1.2 0:06 0:36
Southern end of beach 1.3 2.5 0:39 1:15
Lake Trail (photo by Webmaster)

White Lake (photo by Webmaster)

  Trail Guide   

This was a beautiful hike around 123-acre White Lake with views of the Sandwich and Ossipee Ranges; a walk around a small bog; and among pine forests. The trails cover ground in White Lake State Park, Black Spruce Ponds Preserve, and Pitch Pine National Landmark.

Beach and White Lake (photo by Webmaster) I walked from the winter parking lot along the road (bearing left at the first fork) to arrive at the beach. The beach is less than a quarter mile from the parking lot.

The beach is large and quite beautiful: tall pines and soft sand lead to a blue lake, beyond which lie several mountains. Across the lake, the Sandwich mountains visible, from left to right, are Whiteface, Passaconaway, Paugus, and Chocorua. The lake was partially frozen over but there was no snow on the ground. After admiring the beach area, I headed to the Lake Trail, starting at the south end of the beach (left-hand side as you're facing the lake).

The trail was lined with tall pines and carpeted with pine needles. There were many glimpses out to the lake. Shrubs and wintergreen plants were also abundant. Wintergreen is an evergreen plant growing only about 4 inches high. Break a leaf in half and you'll experience the strong scent of wintergreen. After a short time, you come to a boat launch area, and then enter right back into the woods.

Shortly after this, the trail was flooded with a mixture of water and ice chunks. It was like this for about 20 yards - probably a result of recent rains and unseasonably warm temperatures. It was a pain to get around it, but was well worth it.

Black Spruce Bog (smaller pond) (photo by Webmaster)

Half a mile from the beach I reached a junction with the Pitch Pine Trail, marked by a small sign. I followed this trail away from the lake for less than a quarter mile and that brought me to Black Spruce Bog. Looking through the trees I could see a small frozen pond surrounded by vegetation typical of bogs: sphagnum moss, black spruce, and leatherleaf.

Sphagnum Moss (photo by Webmaster) At this T-junction, I turned left to make a loop around this bog. The trail climbs up a short esker and just after that, looking down to the left, a pond a bit larger than the first one and also surrounded by a bog, can be viewed. Down to the right, the first bog is still visible. There is a trail that veers off to the left, but I went right to stay on the trail looping around the smaller bog. I descended back down to the bog level and after just a bit, I came upon another trail junction.

There is a sign at this junction indicating that the Pitch Pine Trail is to the left. Following this trail would connect you back to the Lake Trail at about its midpoint. I went right to complete my loop around the bog. When I arrived at the next trail junction, I had completed my loop, and turned left to get back to the Lake Trail at the same spot that I had left it.

Once back at the lake, I continued along my way along a more open shoreline. There were some ground-hugging leafy evergreen plants which I believe were trailing arbutus. After a while, the trail became more woodsy once again. The obvious trail leading off to the left away from the lake is the other end of the Pitch Pine Trail (although I don't think this end was signed).

I continued along the Lake Trail past a swampy area and then back under towering pines. There were some wet sections here and there on the trail but they were all easy to get around. There were pretty views from this side of the lake out to the Ossipee Range.

White Lake (photo by Webmaster)

When the loop is almost complete, the trail spills out to a road that loops through some of the campsites. Follow the road closest to the lake past a few campsites, then descend down a small hill and follow a final stretch of woodsy trail back to the beach.
Trailing arbutus (photo by Webmaster)


NH - Central East

  Wintergreen (photo by Webmaster) Driving Directions   

White Lake is located within White Lake Campground located off of Route 16 in Tamworth. The entrance is on the west side of Rt. 16 and is 1.1 miles north of the junction of Routes 16 and 25; or 3 miles south of the junction of Routes 16 and 113.

Since I was a winter visitor, I parked in the first parking lot that I came to. In season, you can drive past a kiosk, then bear left, and park right behind the beach.


In season: bathhouse, grills, picnic tables, etc.

Pay phone at beach

Other Notes   

Small entrance fee in season (approx. $3 per adult).
White Lake and Sandwich Range (photo by Webmaster)

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