This 27.4-mile, counter-clockwise loop circles the serene Squam Lake, passing several quaint colonial towns and a few moderate climbs along the way. Starting from Sandwich Central School, ride north to begin the tour of central New Hampshire's thick woods, rolling hills, and charming country roads. Less than half a mile in, turn left on Holderness Road (NH 113). Nestled between the ridge of the Squam Mountains to the north and Squam Lake to the south, you'll pedal through a dense forest on the shoulder-less, yet lightly-trafficked Holderness Road until reaching the town of Holderness near mile 12.
Next, navigate nearly 6 miles of rollers along the lake's southern shore before hitting the ride's most challenging ascent: a 0.9-mile churn gaining just over 400 feet and averaging an 8.5-percent grade. After the climb, enjoy an exhilarating descent before heading north along Squam Lake Road. Near mile 24, you'll pedal directly between the shores of Squam to the west and the ascending slopes of nearby Red Hill (2,029 feet) to the east. Finish off with 3 more miles of rollers and return to your car.
-Mapped by Mark Kish
TO TRAILHEAD: This ride starts at Sandwich Central School. From I-93, take exit 24 for US 3/NH 25 and turn right at Daniel Webster Hwy. Follow for 4.4 miles. Turn left and head north on NH 113 for 11.4 miles. Turn right on Squam Lake Rd. School is on the right in 0.4 mile.
Location: 43.802819, -71.490440
Featuring rural New England scenery at its best, the narrow, two-lane Holderness Road slices through lush woods past quiet country houses. Though shoulders are non-existent, low traffic makes this road cyclist-friendly.
Location: 43.793030, -71.526575
One of the ride's steeper climbs, this 1.4-mile climb up Holderness Road gains 204 feet at an average 2.5-percent grade.
Location: 43.773573, -71.554470
Though shrouded by leaves in summer and fall, the Bennett Cove section of Squam Lake may be visible through the bare trees during winter.
Location: 43.743135, -71.569748
Catch a glimpse of Shadebush Cove through the trees as you continue tracing Squam Lake's western shore. You'll follow rollers until reaching the ride's next major ascent near mile 18.
Location: 43.731259, -71.587912
Cross a bridge dividing Squam Lake and Little Squam Lake as you turn left to head east on Daniel Webster Highway.
Location: 43.702878, -71.502457
At mile 17.6, begin a short but steep 0.9-mile climb, gaining 408 feet at an average 8.5-percent grade.
Location: 43.710556, -71.484089
As you glide past the southern tip of Proctor Preserve, a 47-acre Wildlife Sanctuary managed by the New Hampshire Audubon Society, begin the last push to the true summit of the hill you just climbed. This short, 0.3-mile climb will bring you from 853 feet to 916 feet above sea level and is the highest point of the ride.
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