Local author Richard E. Pinette describes the Umbagog area as "nature's playground with a rich forest-land heritage". Here, he writes, are found the hunting and fishing grounds of legendary Indian chief Mettallak; Molls Rock where the Indian princess Molly Molasses spent many happy hours; and Mettallak Island, a site where numerous Indian artifacts were unearthed. It is here that the old-time lumberjack's axes rang out in the chill air as they struck against the frozen trunks of giant trees.
Located on the north shore of Lake Umbagog, located in Errol, NH, are the wonders of the "Floating Islands", a wilderness wetland listed in the natural register of historic landmarks. The Umbagog area encompasses the wilds of Rapid River where the daring river men once risked life and limb to guide the long floating logs through the white waters and down to Lake Umbagog in Errol NH. Here, big steam-powered "towboats" hauled the giant booms of logs across the long lake to the mouth of the Androscoggin River. Rapid River now offers the finest in trout fishing and thrilling white-water rafting in certain seasons. This is also the setting for the best-seller book, "We Took to the Woods" by Louise Dickinson Rich.
The region boasts of another unique woodlands known as the "Dartmouth College Grant" with the Swift Diamond and Dead Diamond rivers flowing through its entire length. At the "Grant", the Hell's Gate Gorge recalls the colorful and most dangerous log drives of a bygone era. On a huge boulder along the banks of the Swift Diamond is the still mysterious stone carving known only as, "The Hand on the Rock".
Errol and the Umbagog area is steeped in the history of old-time logging, an activity that continues to this day in the "working forests". It is also the undisputed "Snowmobile Capital" of the Northeast. There are hundreds of miles of woodland snowmobile trails along lofty mountains, wildwood valleys and pristine rivers and lakes. Throughout the region, there are remote campsites along with countless miles of hiking trails. The town of Errol was long known as the "Gateway to Dixville Notch" and it marks the start of the "Thirteen Mile Woods", an unspoiled stretch of beautiful woodlands along the Androscoggin River where no sign of commercializing is permitted. The ample flow of cold and clear waters makes this river a haven for anglers and attracts innumerable canoe and kayak enthusiasts.
Ten miles away, there is even a magnificent resort, The Balsams (under renovation), often referred to as, "The Switzerland of America". On a lofty hilltop just east of Errol and Lake Umbagog, the quaint village of Upton, Maine looks out onto a panoramic view of the big lake and far beyond to the mountains and valleys of the Androscoggin. A venerable white wooden church accentuates the village with its tall steeple seemingly reaching to the clouds.
North of Errol and the big lake are the small towns of Magalloway and Wilsons Mills that beckon the moose watcher, hunter, angler and nature lover. Here the Magalloway River is a mecca for canoeists. The captivating Aziscoos Lake and the "Big Dam" are rich in the history of this pristine area with picturesque mountain peaks adding to the treasures of nature in all directions. Dotted with gifts of nature, the Umbagog area is truly an unspoiled woodlands and lakes recreation area.