The Mountain Pond Loop Trail is a popular day hike located outside of Jackson, NH near the Maine/New Hampshire border. The site of a large pond, it’s popular with families as well as fisherman.
Just 2.7 miles long, the trail around Mountain Pond runs past one of the few remaining wooden lean-tos in the White Mountain National Forest. The gaps between the boards in this shelter are filled with oakum, a preparation of tarred fibre that was used to pack the joints in wooden vessels and timber planks. You can still see the fiber ropes between the interior walls of the shelter if you look closely.
Located in an area frequented by moose and bear, there’s a good chance that you’ll see wildlife at Mountain Pond, particularly in the early morning. Unlike other areas in the Whites, the forest around Mountain Pond is quite undeveloped with few hiking trails and no paved roads, making it a major wildlife transect for animals passing from the Wild River Wilderness to the Evans Notch Area and western Maine.
The home of trout and rainbow smelt, a New Hampshire fishing license is required to fish at the pond, which has a limited season that ends shortly after Columbus Day and lasts into April. Fisherman can fish anywhere on the pond or its outlet stream, which empties into nearby Slippery Brook, but motorized watercraft are not permitted.
While rocky and full of roots, the trail around the lake is easy to follow, although the outlet stream can be difficult to cross in high water. The best time to visit if you like great views is autumn, when the leaves are falling or down, and the views of the nearby Doubleheads or South Baldface open up. These peaks can only be clearly observed at certain locations on the far shores of the pond, but provide ample motivation for completing these delightful loop hike.
Total Distance: 2.7 miles with 50′ of elevation gain.
Recommended Guidebooks and Maps:
- Appalachian Mountain Club White Mountain Guide
- AMC White Mountain National Forest Map Set
- Exploring New Hampshire Map from the Wilderness Map Company
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