Chocorua Lake, also commonly called Lake Chocorua, is a relatively small lake in east-central New Hampshire in the town of Tamworth, New Hampshire, near Albany and Madison, and about ten miles southwest of Conway. It is located in the Ossipee Lake watershed south of the White Mountains region. The main inflow into the lake is the Chocorua River from the north, which drains the south side of Mount Chocorua. Stratton Brook flows into the west side of the lake. The Chocorua Lake Basin watershed is 13.2 square miles of mostly protected forest.
Chocorua Lake is about a mile in length and a half a mile across at its widest part and covers just over 220 acres. Adding Little Lake and Third and Fourth Lakes brings the total area to about 265 acres. Most of Chocorua Lake is quite shallow with an average depth of 12 feet; the maximum depth is 31 feet. At the south end of the lake is the much-photographed rustic Narrows Bridge, and downstream from that is the Little Lake.
In the early 1970s, the Chocorua Lake Conservancy persuaded the NH State Legislature to pass a law banning all motorboats from Chocorua Lake. The Conservancy successfully defended that ban again in 1998.
The Little Lake flows briefly past wooded shores to Third Lake and through a narrow passage into a wide stretch called Fourth Lake, at the far end of which is a dam with removable wooden boards in its sluiceway to control lake levels. Though the lake has a dammed outlet, it is a natural lake, not a reservoir, with the dam serving to maintain the water level of the lake at approximately 574 feet above sea level. Below the dam, the Chocorua River flows for about a half mile to Chocorua Village, formerly called “Tamworth Iron Works”. The water from the Chocorua Lake outfall and the Chocorua River eventually reaches the Bearcamp River and enters Ossipee Lake, then the Saco River and finally the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of Maine.
Mount Chocorua (3,490 ft.), sometimes called the “Matterhorn of the Northeast”,·dominates the views from the Narrows Bridge and from many other locations near the Chocorua Lake – notably along Route 16, which runs northward from Chocorua Village, up over a hill, then along the eastern shore of the lake to the Albany town line. On the north slope of the hill and in the grove of trees by the bridge, traffic jams of mountain admirers and photographers often build up, especially during the fall foliage season, when the “leaf peepers” are out as well.
Local residents and visitors encounter no commercialism along this stretch of the highway, nor do they see any houses along the shores of Chocorua Lake. And those who go boating on the lake can hardly see the structures around it – mostly summer homes and a few historic bath houses, all set well back from the shore, by common consent.
Three major factors account for the unspoiled nature of the Chocorua Lake Basin:
- A conservation tradition inherited from the first summer settlers, going back to the late 19th century;
- Conservation covenants and easements (voluntary restrictions on land usage to maintain the Basin in its present state); and,
- The efforts of the Chocorua Lake Conservancy, an nonprofit land trust founded in 1968 to protect the scenic and natural resources of the Basin and surrounding area through conservation practices, land protection, conservation covenants and easements, and maintenance of lands for public access.
To help us preserve the Chocorua Lake Basin and provide public access to visitors to the lake and nearby conservation lands, please click HERE.