I stayed here for the first time in August last year, but returned in October this year to enjoy the autumn colors. This is a lovely state park on a large lake, offering drive-in sites with and without water/electric hookups plus a number of primitive boat-in sites around the lake. In 2019 the bathhouse was renovated, delaying the season opening, but it was worth the weight. Bathrooms are clean and bright, offering hot showers ($) and laundry.
Site fill up on weekends, especially prime lakefront sites. You can choose something more open and grassy or a wooded site. There's a swimming area and boat rentals. The office has limited hours. If you arrive after 5 or 6 (depending on the day/month), you'll need to check in in the morning and won't be able to buy firewood on site.
Off site, it's a short drive to Grafton Notch State Park (ME) for hiking and waterfalls, a little farther to Bethel, ME for canoeing, biking, and other outdoor activities. The Umbabog National Wildlife Refuge also offers hiking and boating opportunities with moose, loons, eagles, and beavers, to name a few.
It was bitterly cold overnight (24-27 degrees), so I was grateful for my trailer, but it made for some beautiful, if foggy, mornings and brilliantly clear skies for stargazing. If a tent or trailer isn't your chohice, there are cabins available, too.
This is an amazing little campground off in the middle of nowhere. My friends and I went up here for a weekend and we love how isolated it was. It had a beautiful waterfront, it was quiet, and dog friendly!
There is also no cell service up there so no phones as distractions!
Very clean, very well organized, friendly staff. The lake is beautiful. Brand new bath house. Dog friendly!
This is the most beautiful place. The lake is very large. My son and I went took a hired boat out to an island. They boat took all our camping stuff and 2kayaks! We stayed three nights. There are tent platforms, picnic table and fire pit at each site. We were the only ones on the island. We kayaked in the day. Was amazing! I would highly
recommend this beautiful spot in NH!
The remote campsites at the norther end or Umbagog Lake are wonderful. This trip consisted of my family of five with three kids (ages 5-13), our dog, and friends. We put our boats in at the National Wildlife Refuge and paddled in on Bear Brook. The paddle was just around 2.5 miles and calm flat water. Just perfect for our kids, and far enough feel remote but easy enough for our kids. The sites have a pit toilet and fire ring. While there were plenty of eagles, loons, and fish we only saw two other boats the entire weekend.
I had heard about Umbagog Lake for years from my father who had taken multiple canoe camping trips in the area, but had never been here myself. Although it was my first time, it won't be my last. My review addresses the base camp, because I haven't been to the remote sites. This was a private campground converted to a state park about 20 years ago. Reservations are available online via Reserve America. It's also one of the few NH state parks that offers hookups (water & electric) if that matters to you. They have small bathrooms with flush toilets and showers (cold water free, hot water $0.25 for 5min; water pressure inconsistent. In addition, there are a few pit toilets scattered around.
Sites are generally small and wooded, but sites 1a-d and 3-4 are open/sunny and near the beach. Sites 41-43 are also lakefront, but wooded, large and level. I started in site 7 (the numbering system here makes no sense) and moved to site 48 after a couple of days. I had space for my teardrop trailer, but site 48 was much smaller. It was also close to the entrance and the parking lot. Avoid site 49 unless that's you're only option (it's on the point at the entrance)
The lake is a bright spot here and rowboat/kayak/canoe rentals are available as well as boat slips. Bring your own boat and there is a separate lot for parking your trailer. If you want a fire, buy your firewood when you arrive. I made the mistake of waiting and the office closed by 5pm on a weeknight and there weren't many options outside the campground.
Things to do: canoeing, kayaking, boating. In addition to Umbagog Lake itself, the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge has multiple boat launches. I recommend heading over to Steamer Diamond Landing for early morning paddle with the loons. UNWR provides waterproof maps at the launches or at the visitor center (heard toward Errol and turn right/north on 16)
Moosewatching: pick up same map mentioned above from UNWR and look for the moose icons to give you a heads up where to look. Then as you drive along, look for the muddy wallows on the side of the road.You're most likely to see moose very early (sunrise) or as dusk. I saw 5 during my 5 days there.
Birdwatching: I loved the loons, bald eagles, and herons
Stargazing: it's be great if it weren't from the lights shining from the big trailers near the waterfront. Enjoy the dark sky during a new moon.
Grafton Notch State Park (Screw Auger Falls, Old Speck Mtn, Baldpate Mtn, AT crosses here); Step Falls Reserve (waterfall/swimming); and Bethel Maine are 30-60 minutes away in the opposite direction.
Stayed at site R18-gorgeous views, clean site with tent platform. Primitive port a potty set up. Worst part is that you will have to figure out how to get firewood there. Which is tough when you are in a kayak, canoe or other small paddle craft. We hade none and what was around to burn was sparse. Thankfully we had a jet boil for cooking or it would have been granola bars and dried fruit for dinner. The other problem was that the sign for the site is tiny, you have to be really close to shore to see it. Make sure the map you get has all of the sites marked out or you will get lost on the lake, use a compass! That being said we will be staying there again.
We went tent camping and seemed to be one of the few tenters. We stayed at base camp 1C. It was a very nice site near the water with water and electric. However not a lot (any) privacy. The bathrooms were very nice and there were showers, though not a lot of water pressure. The camp office folk were very nice. The site was large enough for my 10x12 tent and an ez up and to park the van. Site also had a picnic table and fire ring with Cook rack on it. Gorgeous view of the lake, just wished for more privacy
Very small campground with small sites for tents. Very close to other sites. The lake is very pretty but there’s not much else to do on the grounds. You can rent canoes and kayaks. The campground is right off a main road and you hear a lot cars and trucks. Our site was near the main entrance.
My family and I stayed on site 1C Lakefront in a 15 ft. travel trailer. We found our campsite to be smaller than expected, and the water and electric hookup were in a rather difficult spot to get to. Not much privacy between campsites, but neighbors were friendly. Our site was close enough to the lake, which made it easy to drop in our kayaks and canoe. The campground does have boat slips, as well as a gas pump, so there were larger boats, but that didn't get in the way at all. We were minutes from Grafton Notch State Park, which had 2 hikes that had waterfalls and swimming holes, Step Falls Preserve, and Screw Auger Falls. There are also several turnouts and a parking lot leading to trails, and a picnic area. We enjoyed early morning and late evening kayak/canoe trips, that were filled with fishing, and wildlife viewing. The beach is shallow, and perfect for young children. The staff were friendly, the coin operated showers were hot, and the bathrooms were clean. Would definitely recommend coming, and enjoying the beautiful lake.