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Rattlesnake Island Preserve

Open to LRCT Members (and Guests)

Rattlesnake Island is one of the largest islands located on Lake Winnipesaukee. LRCT owns 102 acres of the Island’s interior which is managed as a nature Preserve and includes the Rattlesnake Island Trail to the island summit.

Summer Hours

LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island Preserve will be open Tuesday – Sunday from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm starting Tuesday, June 25th until August 4th. After August 4th the dock will be open Friday – Monday until August 25th. Please click on the calendar to view the dates we will be open. This calendar will continue to be updated.

Please be aware: The dock will not be open in the event of inclement weather. Updates will be posted to this page and calendar.

Know Before You Go

  • Rattlesnake Island Preserve is only open to 12 LRCT members (and their guests) at a time. Public access to our property is restricted by a Deed Restriction (that was established with the conservation of the LRCT property) that limits access to LRCT members (and their guests) and to only 12 people at any one time. 
  • Current LRCT membership decals are required and must be displayed on your boat. 
  • Access is only allowed when the dock is staffed with an LRCT Island Host. Access updates are posted on this page. LRCT’s Island Host will welcome visitors, check for valid membership decals, enforce the 3-hour docking limit, and ensure all Rattlesnake Island Preserve policies are being followed. 
  • Access to the island is first come, first serve.
2024-2025 LRCT Decal

If you have renewed your LRCT membership but have not yet received your decal, you may stop by our Headquarters to pick up your decal. 

If you need to renew your membership or would like to become a member, you may do so by clicking the “Donate” button at the right-hand corner of the screen or stopping by our Headquarters. Please note that our office is open weekdays from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Rattlesnake Island is the fifth largest island on Lake Winnipesaukee (368 acres). LRCT acquired the 102-acre reserve in the middle of the island in 1982.  The island forms part of a large arc that is the outer rim of the Belknap Mountain ring dike. 

The property features a 2-mile out-and-back trail that takes you from the LRCT dock to the summit of the island, presenting a grand view of Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding landscape causing this to be a desirable hiking destination for lake-goers. The hike is rocky and steep in certain sections and is rated as moderate/strenuous. Sturdy footwear is recommended. The trail is clearly marked with blue blazes.  

Trail Map

Paddle Map

LRCT has created a waterproof paddle map that features Rattlesnake Island, along with four other island properties.

You can learn more about our paddle maps here.

Island Access

Rattlesnake Island Preserve open sign

Rattlesnake Island is located in Alton on Lake Winnipesaukee. The entire shore frontage of the island is private property. Access to the LRCT property is gained through a Right of Way (ROW) that connects the Preserve to our dock on the southeast tip of the island. Our dock is marked with an open/closed sign (green/red) to help distinguish it from the surrounding private docks. 

Island Access Updates

June 21, 2022

Dear Friends – The decision to modify visitation rules for LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island property has been an extremely difficult one for LRCT.

Unfortunately, in recent years, particularly the last two, we’ve experienced a significant increase in misuse of LRCT’s shorefront and interior property on Rattlesnake Island.  The problems have included use by non-LRCT members contrary to existing requirements, overnight camping, fires, trespassing onto non-LRCT property, people monopolizing the dock for long time periods, large groups with partying and other noisy activity, and disrespectful and threatening communications with Island residents.

Undoubtedly these problems have been caused by a small number of “bad apples.”  Nonetheless, we concluded, reluctantly, that we had to make changes to ensure that the LRCT property is being used responsibly and to address the valid concerns of Rattlesnake Island residents who, collectively, were calling for LRCT to cease all public access to LRCT’s property from off of the Island.

One of LRCT’s highest priorities is acquiring and protecting lands that provide opportunities for public access, recreation, and enjoyment free of charge – such as the Castle in the Clouds, Red Hill, Copple Crown, Knights Pond, Sewall Woods, Center Harbor Woods, and Stonedam, Five Mile, Ragged, and Blanchard Islands, as well as many other LRCT properties around the Lakes Region.  Therefore, it has been very important to us to attempt to figure out a way to address the problems at Rattlesnake to ensure that we could continue to provide LRCT members and their guests with the benefit of access to this resource.

We’ve devoted a great deal of time and effort to exploring and considering options for addressing the problems at Rattlesnake.  While these new measures will create new burdens and expense for LRCT, we are hopeful that they will remedy the problems. We’ve also met with Marine Patrol and the Alton Police Department to review the new procedures and to enlist their assistance, within the scope off their respective responsibilities.  In addition, we hope to offer a number of scheduled hikes with LRCT guides to provide opportunities for additional LRCT members and guests to visit the Island.

We hope LRCT members will understand that we are doing our best to responsibly steward this special property and be a respectful/responsible neighbor to the other Island landowners while working on behalf of our membership to provide the benefit of access to LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island property.

 

Don Berry

LRCT President

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