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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.

LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island Preserve is now CLOSED for the 2023 season. See you next summer!

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 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. 

 

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 below. 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 currently first come, first serve.

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.

Island Access Updates

The Rattlesnake Island Preserve will be open from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays (weather permitting) through Labor Day Weekend. Access to the Rattlesnake Island Preserve is only allowed when the dock is staffed by LRCT personnel and when weather permits. Please check the updates below and at the top of the page to ensure the dock is open before you go.

Access Update 9/25: LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island Preserve is now CLOSED for the 2023 season. See you next summer!

Access update: LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island Preserve Dock will be open on Saturday, September 23rd, from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, before closing for the season. (weather permitting) After Labor Day Weekend, LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island Preserve Dock will be open from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm on Saturday September 9th, 16th, and 23rd. (weather permitting)

Access Update for the week of 8/27 – 9/3:

  • Wednesday (8/30): CLOSED
  • Thursday (8/31): CLOSED
  • Friday (9/1): OPEN 8:30 am – 2:30 pm S
  • aturday (9/2): Open 8:30 am – 2:30 pm
  • Sunday (9/3): Open 8:30 am – 2:30 pm

Access Update 8/22: The dock will be closing early on Wednesday, August 23rd. The dock will be open from 8:30 am – 1:30 pm.

Access Update for the week of 8/13 – 8/20:

  • Wednesday (8/16): CLOSED
  • Thursday (8/17): Open 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Friday (8/18): CLOSED
  • Saturday (8/19): CLOSED
  • Sunday (8/20): Open

Access Update 8/9/23: The dock will be CLOSED today, August 9th due to high winds.

Access Update 7/12/23: The dock will be CLOSED from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm on Thursday, July 13th.

Access Update 6/28/23: The dock will be open on Monday, July 3rd and Tuesday, July 4th (weather permitting) in addition to the regular hours.

Access Update 6/17/23: Due to the forecast, LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island Preserve will be closed Saturday June 17th but will be open Sunday, June 18th.

Updated Hours of Access: Rattlesnake Island Preserve will be open from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays starting June 18th through Labor Day Weekend (weather permitting).

We will continue to update the website with access information, so be sure to check back before you go.

Please remember access is only allowed when the dock is staffed by LRCT personnel and when weather permits.

Access Update 6/16/23: Unfortunately, due to the forecast, LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island Preserve will not be open this weekend, June 17 – 18. The new open date will be Wednesday 21st. Thank you for your understanding!

Updated Hours of Access: Rattlesnake Island Preserve will be open from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays starting June 21st through Labor Day Weekend (weather permitting).

We will continue to update the website with access information, so be sure to check back before you go.

Please remember access is only allowed when the dock is staffed by LRCT personnel and when weather permits.

Update 6/1/23: The LRCT Rattlesnake Island Preserve Dock will be open to LRCT members and their guests starting Saturday, June 17th. It will continue to be staffed and open most weekends (weather permitting), with the potential of additional weekdays, through Labor Day Weekend.

Please check back to this page for weekly updates on Island Access. When visiting, please remember to follow the Rattlesnake Island Preserve guidelines (see Island Access below). Access is only allowed when the dock is staffed by LRCT personnel and when weather permits.

We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation and hope to have a great season!

Update 5/25/23: The LRCT Rattlesnake Island Preserve Dock will be open to LRCT members and their guests starting Saturday, June 17th, and will continue to be staffed and open most weekends until Labor Day Weekend (weather permitting).

Please check back to this page for weekly updates on Island Access When visiting, please remember to follow the Rattlesnake Island Preserve guidelines (see Island Access below).

We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation and hope to have a great season!

September 26th:

Public access to Rattlesnake Island has ended for the 2022 season.

We will still have our scheduled Guided Hikes on October 1st. The events are currently full but if you’re interested in being added to the waitlist, head to our Events page. 

We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation as we all adjust to these new access protocols. Thank you to our Island Hosts and everyone else who has made it possible to allow public access to the Rattlesnake Island Preserve this summer. See you next year!

 September 22nd:

Due to the Gale Watch in effect, the dock will be closed Friday (9/23) and Saturday (9/24).

 September 20th:

This week, the dock will be open on Friday, September 23rd, from 1:00pm – 4:30pm and Saturday, September 24th, from 8:30am – 4:30pm. 

 September 13th:

For the month of September, the dock will be open on Saturdays from 8:30am – 4:30pm. Additional days for September are to be determined and will be posted on this page.

 September 7th:

This week, the dock will be open on Saturday (9/10) and Sunday (9/11) from 8:30am – 4:30pm.

 

 September 6th:

For the month of September, the dock will be open on Saturdays from 8:30am – 4:30pm. Additional days for September are to be determined and will be posted on this page.

 

August 31st:

This week, LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island Preserve will be open to LRCT members and accompanied guests on Friday, September 2nd, and Saturday, September 3rd from 8:30am – 4:30pm as long as weather permits. The dock will also be open on Sunday, September 4th, the hours are to be determined. 

For the month of September, the dock will be open on Saturdays from 8:30am – 4:30pm. Additional days for September are to be determined and will be posted on this page.

 August 23rd:

This week, LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island Preserve will be open to LRCT members and accompanied guests on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8:30am – 4:30pm as long as weather permits.

After August 27th, the dock will be open on Friday, September 2nd, and Saturday, September 3rd from 8:30am – 4:30pm, and on Sunday, September 4th (hours to be determined). 

For the month of September, the dock will be open on Saturdays from 8:30am – 4:30pm. Additional days for September are to be determined and will be posted on this page.

 August 17th:

The Rattlesnake Island Preserve Dock will be closed today, Wednesday, August 10th due to poor weather conditions.

 August 16th:

LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island Preserve will be open to LRCT members and accompanied guests on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 8:30am – 4:30pm until August 27th as long as weather permits. After August 27th, the dock will be open on Friday, September 2nd, and Saturday, September 3rd. Additional days after Labor Day are to be determined and will be posted on this page.

 August 10th:

The Rattlesnake Island Preserve Dock will be closed today, Wednesday, August 10th due to poor weather conditions. Due to this inconvenience, the dock will be open tomorrow, Thursday, August 11th from 8:30am – 4:30pm. 

 August 8th:

LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island Preserve will be open to LRCT members and accompanied guests on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 8:30am – 4:30pm until August 27th as long as weather permits. After August 27th, the dock will be open on Friday, September 2nd, and Saturday, September 3rd. Additional days after Labor Day are to be determined and will be posted on this page.

 August 1st:

The dock will be open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8:30am – 4:30pm throughout the summer as long as the weather permits. 

 

July 25th:

(No New Updates) The dock will be open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8:30am – 4:30pm throughout the summer as long as the weather permits. 

 July 20th:

For the week of July 17 – 23, Rattlesnake Island will only be open Thursday (7/21) and Saturday (7/23).

 July 12th:

For the week of July 17 – 23, Rattlesnake Island will only be open Thursday (7/21) and Saturday (7/23). 

The dock will be open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8:30am – 4:30pm throughout the summer as long as weather permits. 

 July 7th:

We are excited to announce that LRCT’s Rattlesnake Island Preserve dock has been installed for the 2022 season! Our dock will be staffed and open for visitors on certain days of the week starting Friday, July 8th. We are also very happy to introduce LRCT’s Island Host Luke Dumouchel! Luke will welcome visitors, check for valid membership decals, enforce the 3-hour docking limit, and ensure all Rattlesnake Island Preserve policies are being followed. 

As of now, LRCT members, and accompanied friends, can expect to be able to dock and hike Rattlesnake for the rest of the summer only when the dock is staffed. Access is currently first come, first serve. The dock now features a red “closed” sign for when the dock is not staffed and a green “open” sign for when the dock is staffed and visitors are welcomed.  Please note, we have also equipped the dock with a 24-hour surveillance camera for monitoring purposes. The dock will primarily be staffed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm on days when the weather is clear. The dock will be closed if there is inclement weather or when the dock is unable to be staffed. Be sure to plan ahead and check the “Island Access” section below to make sure the dock is open before you go. 

As always, public access to our property on Rattlesnake Island 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 membership decals are required and to be displayed on your boat. If you have not yet received your decal for this year and have already renewed your membership, you may stop by our Headquarters to pick up your decal. If you need to renew your membership, you may do so by clicking the “Donate” button or stopping by our Headquarters. Please note that our office is open weekdays from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Lastly, we would like to thank everyone for your patience and support while we navigate ways to continue to allow visitors to experience this beautiful conserved land! 

 

June 29th:

Access to Rattlesnake Island will not be available for the July 4th weekend. We are hoping to have the dock open the second or third week of July.

Please refer to this page for updates on when the dock will be staffed and other Island Access updates. We will update this page weekly. You can sign up for our e-blast by “subscribing to our newsletter” at the bottom of this page.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy our other island properties on Lake Winnipesaukee: Blanchard IslandFive Mile IslandRagged Island, and Stonedam Island!

 June 21st:

Thank you to all those who have supported LRCT in making the difficult, but necessary, decision to establish new access rules for our Rattlesnake Island Preserve.

LRCT has hired and is training an Island Host that will staff our dock and conduct dock maintenance. We are on track to have the dock open next month (July). In the future, ideally, the dock will be in the water and staffed for Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. 

 

May 26th:

Please Note: Rattlesnake Island Preserve NEW Access Rules

LRCT has instituted new visitation rules to continue to provide LRCT members access to the Rattlesnake Island Preserve.  These changes are needed because LRCT’s property, as well as neighboring private properties, have experienced increased misuse by some visitors in recent years.  The purposes of these new rules are to protect the unique and sensitive natural resources of the Preserve, to ensure that the long-standing restrictions on access (only current LRCT members and no more than 12 visitors at any one time) are followed, and to prevent misuse of the dock, the Preserve, and neighboring properties.  The protection of the Island’s natural resources and respect for Island residents are our paramount concerns.  We appreciate your understanding as we work on implementing these changes so that LRCT members can continue to enjoy access to this beautiful preserve.

Access to the Rattlesnake Island Preserve is ONLY allowed when the dock is staffed by LRCT personnel.  ANY access that occurs when Personnel is not present at the dock would be trespassing, and this restriction is enforceable by law.  Drop-offs or swimming to the property are not permitted.

Schedule: Access will be limited to certain days and hours based on the availability of LRCT personnel and weather conditions.  We hope to have the dock staffed and open 2-4 days a week, on good weather days, with weekends and holidays a priority.  A regular weekly schedule is desired, but the schedule will likely vary – the LRCT website will be updated regularly with the OPEN dates/times as they are determined and with as much advance notice as possible.  At this time, we are working on hiring an Island Host to staff the dock, as well as conducting dock maintenance.  We expect to have the dock staffed and open in July. Please check back here for status 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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