Baxter Lake, New Hampshire, USA

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USA - New England - New Hampshire - Lakes Region -

One of the best-kept secrets of New Hampshire’s Lakes region is Baxter Lake. This 302-acre lake offers excellent swimming, boating and fishing to those residents and their guests lucky enough to find it. Located on the town line between Rochester and Farmington, Baxter Lake has homes and cottages along the west side of the lake only. This offers an unobstructed and natural view of the eastern side to all of the homes along the western shore. It also means that wildlife, birds and waterfowl find Baxter Lake just as attractive as do its human inhabitants. Between the beauty and serene atmosphere and its proximity to local towns and services, Baxter Lake is one of New Hampshire’s hidden gems.

Baxter Lake is known for excellent swimming, a perfect breeze for sailing, and a good expanse of water for boating and water skiing. Although there is no public park on Baxter Lake, a state-maintained public boat launch can handle smaller boats. The one campground along the lakeshore also maintains a marina with boat slips for rent, making access for sailboats and larger watercraft convenient. Many lakefront homes and cottages have their own small beach area, but other homes in the development have access to the water and swimming beaches via several private homeowner-only parks. The housing development along the western shore also has its own recreation hall, encouraging a sense of community among the residents.

Baxter Lake is known for excellent fishing. Champion-class largemouth bass are caught here regularly. The lake also holds smallmouth bass, chain pickerel and bullheads. The relatively shallow depths allow plenty of spawning and feeding areas for the big lunkers. In winter, ice fishing and ice skating are popular activities. Snowmobiling trails are located nearby. Baxter Lake is truly a lake for all seasons, and some of the residents likely purchase homes here with winter sports in mind. Downhill ski slopes are located less than an hour away.

This area of New Hampshire is known for outdoor activities. A number of hiking and mountain biking trails cross the area and lend themselves to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter. Nearby Rochester offers every needed service, and the lake is only an hour or less from popular Atlantic Ocean beaches or the White Mountains. Streams in the area are excellent for canoeing and kayaking. Plenty of local activities and cultural venues easily fill a rainy day. The Baxter Lake area is only a short distance from a large number of amusements, with something to please every member of the family.

Nearby Rochester offers the Rochester Opera House, which provides performances and several summer children’s theater camps. Besides the usual bowling, movie theaters and farmer markets, big Lake Winnipesaukee is only half an hour to the north where families can take a cruise tour of the big lake, or enjoy zip lines and high ropes at an activity park along the shore. Another facility in Somersworth, 15 miles away, is open to enjoy go-carts, laser tag, driving range, mini-golf and an arcade. Those with a yen for big water will find a very popular ocean beach only 45 minutes from Baxter Lake. Hampton Beach offers swimming, beautiful clean water, sand sculpting competitions, fireworks every Wednesday, nightly concerts in summer, Monday night movies on the beach, an annual children’s festival and annual volleyball tournaments, pageants and festivals.

Only 30 miles from Baxter Lake, the old city of Portsmouth holds a variety of historical treasures plus the activity that always delights children: a water park! Adults will enjoy dinner cruises and fishing charters on the Atlantic from Portsmouth, along with excellent sandy beaches. Strawberry Banke Museum has preserved several buildings in one of Portsmouth’s oldest oceanfront neighborhoods. Here visitors can see how Portsmouth residents have lived through four centuries of habitation. Visitors can observe boat building of period boats in the boat shed and stroll through a colonial garden; housekeeping implements will make most grateful for the age of electricity. Fashions of the colonial period are featured along with ever-changing exhibits reflecting colonial life. Just a short hop over the state line into Maine, the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for shore birds, salt marsh birds, waterfowl, migratory birds of all kinds and the mammals that inhabit the estuaries, marshes and bordering forests. A one-mile hiking trail is available for visitors from the Wells NWR headquarters. Other areas not included in designated walking trails are off-limits to visitors.

Baxter Lake is likely a natural lake enhanced by a water control dam at an early date. Streams and the outlets of ponds in this area of New England were dammed to power saw mills and grain mills early in colonial settlement. Few records remain from that early period. The current dam blocks the outflow to Rickers Brook at the southwest corner of the lake. Rickers Brook meanders through field and forest until it joins Howard Brook. The combined flow becomes part of the drinking water supply for the Town of Rochester. Baxter Lake therefore is a valuable part of the Rochester water supply. Homeowners along the lake appreciate their clean water and environment and work to protect it.

A number of private owners rent their seasonal cottages or homes by the week or the season, often with a fishing boat. Rights to use the development’s parks and beaches usually are included in the rental. The campground also rents seasonal RV sites along with weekly tent and RV campsites. Other lodgings in the area include bed-and-breakfasts in the surrounding area, motels and hotels in the towns and the occasional quaint inn. Real estate is available on the lake from time to time, both lakefront and within the housing development. Baxter lake is a secret no more. Bring the rods and the bait and come on down. A delightful lake experience awaits you.

Things to do at Baxter Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Wildlife Refuge
  • Museum
  • Movie Theater

Fish species found at Baxter Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass

Baxter Lake Photo Gallery

Baxter Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Surface Area: 302 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 414 feet

Average Depth: 7 feet

Maximum Depth: 16 feet

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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