Lake Umbagog Wildlife Refuge covers approximately 16,300 acres along the Maine/New Hampshire boarder with the lake itself covering about 8,500 acres of the refuge. Umbagog, pronounced Um-bay-gog is an Indian word meaning "clear water". Strangely enough, the lake is actually a brownish color due to the decomposing plant material found in the waters. At approximately 10 miles in length with an average depth of 15, it is the largest remaining freshwater marsh complex in New Hampshire. Here you will find the state's largest concentration of nesting Loons and Osprey, along with several pairs of nesting Bald Eagles. Lake Umbagog National Wildlife refuge was created in 1992 and is located in the towns of Cambridge, Dummer, Errol, Millsfield and Wentworth's Location in Coos County, NH and the towns of Magalloway, Upton and Wilsons Mill in Oxford County, Maine. Most of this wildlife refuge is accessible only by boat, which makes the trip a true New Hampshire Wilderness experience.
For those that want to paddle a little bit off the beaten path, try paddling down the Magalloway River which flows into the lake from the northwest. The parking and launch area are located on route 16 approximately 5 miles northeast of the town of Errol. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to paddle this route and it turned out to be one of the highlights of the entire weekend. The Magalloway River winds its way southeast through marshland and then meets up with the Androscoggin River in the northwest corner of the lake. The river is slow and can easily be navigated by even a novice paddler.
Umbagog State Park, located along the southern end of the lake, offers campers 35 sites with water and electric hook ups. For those that want to get away from the public campground scene, you can choose from the 34 remote or primitive sites that are located around the lake. For more information about Lake Umbagog or to reserve a campsite at the state park, visit the NH Division of Parks and Recreations website at: