How Wide Is New Hampshire’s Lake Winnisquam?

Written by Kathryn Dueck
Updated: August 13, 2023
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Lake Winnisquam may not receive as much attention as nearby Lake Winnipesaukee, but it’s well worth exploring in its own right. This New Hampshire gem is a popular spot for vacationers looking to fish, boat, hike, and swim. It even has a state park on its eastern shore dedicated to preserving the area’s natural beauty. Its small size means it’s fairly easy to explore. So just how wide is Lake Winnisquam? Read on to find out its width, length, area, and how long it takes to swim across.

Lake Winnisquam is approximately 1.5 miles wide.

How Wide Is Lake Winnisquam?

Lake Winnisquam is approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) wide at its widest point. It is the fourth-largest lake contained completely within the state of New Hampshire. It forms an approximate triangle with its points situated north, east, and south. Routes 3 and 11 cross the lake via the Winnisquam Bridge, which separates the bigger northern basin from the much smaller southern one.

The table below lists a number of other measurements for Lake Winnisquam:

Measurement TypeSize
Area4,214 acres (6.5 square miles)
Length10.5 miles
Maximum Depth155 feet
Average Depth52 feet
Volume69 billion gallons
Height Above Sea Level482 feet
Lake Winnisquam measurements

Where Is Lake Winnisquam in New Hampshire?

Lake Winnisquam

Lake Winnisquam is the fourth-largest lake entirely contained within New Hampshire

© Broder Van Dyke

Lake Winnisquam lies within Belknap County in New Hampshire’s central Lakes Region. Lying to the north and east, Lake Winnipesaukee is its primary source. The Winnipesaukee River flows from Lake Winnipesaukee into Lake Winnisquam via the latter’s eastern corner. It then exits from its southern point, flowing toward the Merrimack River.

Five communities lie on the shores of Lake Winnisquam: Meredith, Laconia, Sanbornton, Belmont, and Tilton. The lake also has five islands: Loon Island, Three Islands, Pot Island, Hog Island, and Mohawk Island.

How Long Would It Take to Swim Across Lake Winnisquam?

It takes approximately 45 minutes to swim across Lake Winnisquam at its widest point. This is based on the fact that the average person swims at a speed of about two miles per hour. It also assumes that the swimmer will not slow down, swim off-course, or need a break.

Is Lake Winnisquam Safe to Swim In?

Lake Winnisquam is safe for swimming and makes a popular vacation destination. This is largely due to its sandy beaches, which are accessible from places like Bartlett Beach and Ahern State Park. Strong swimmers or those with boats are free to explore the lake’s five islands. Other ways to enjoy Lake Winnisquam and the surrounding area include hiking, rail biking, and golfing.

What Lives in Lake Winnisquam?

smallmouth vs largemouth bass

Lake Winnisquam is home to numerous species of fish, including largemouth bass.


Lake Winnisquam contains many species of both coldwater and warmwater fish. Coldwater species include landlocked salmon, whitefish, rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, and lake trout. Warmwater species are more numerous and include chain pickerel, yellow and white perch, walleye, northern pike, horned pout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, black crappie, sunfish, and bluegill. Most species sustain themselves naturally through reproduction, though authorities replenish stocks of landlocked salmon and rainbow trout as needed.

Besides fish, New Hampshire is home to a rich variety of wildlife including birds, small and large mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Its largest mammals include black bears, moose, white-tailed deer, wolves, and coyotes. Provided visitors keep a safe distance from wild animals, Ahern State Park is a great place to explore the lake’s diverse wildlife. It covers 128 acres with 3,500 feet of shoreline. For those hoping to bring their canine companions, the park permits pets on the trails but not on the beach.

Is Lake Winnisquam Polluted?

While pollution is present to some degree in all bodies of water, the water in Lake Winnisquam is generally considered high quality. Water clarity is good and levels of phosphorus and dissolved organic matter are low. However, there is some concern that pollution levels will worsen over time, partly due to increased urbanization.

How Does Lake Winnisquam Compare to Other Well-Known American Lakes?

Scenic view of the lakes region of New Hampshire

Lake Winnisquam sits within the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.

©Christopher Georgia/

Below is a table comparing the width of Lake Winnisquam to the widths of several other well-known or sizeable American lakes. All measurements are in miles and indicate the widths of the lakes at their widest points.

Lake NameWidth
Lake Winnisquam 1.5 miles
Lake Huron183 miles
Lake Superior160 miles
Lake Michigan118 miles
Lake of the Woods59 miles
Lake Erie57 miles
Lake Ontario53 miles
Great Salt Lake28-35 miles
*This lake’s size fluctuates considerably due to a number of factors
Flathead Lake15.5 miles
Yellowstone Lake14 miles
Lake Tahoe12 miles
Lake Winnipesaukee9 miles
Crater Lake5 miles
Comparative widths of well-known American lakes

History of Lake Winnisquam

The Algonquian-speaking Indigenous Abenaki people lived around Lake Winnisquam until the 18th century. After colonists came to the area by boat, they claimed the land and settled there. In 1840, the colonists named the county after Congregational clergyman and historian Jeremy Belknap. The lake was divided into two separate basins, an arrangement which continues to this day. The name Winnisquam possibly means “pleasant waters.”

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jon Bilous/

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About the Author

Kathryn Dueck is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on wildlife, dogs, and geography. Kathryn holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical and Theological Studies, which she earned in 2023. In addition to volunteering at an animal shelter, Kathryn has worked for several months as a trainee dog groomer. A resident of Manitoba, Canada, Kathryn loves playing with her dog, writing fiction, and hiking.

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