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Hiking the Mountain Pond Loop Trail

Mountain Pod Loop is a popular day hike near Jackson, NH.
Mountain Pond Loop is a popular day hike near Jackson, NH.

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.

Mountain Pond Shelter
Mountain Pond Shelter

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.

North and South Doublehead
North and South Doublehead

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.

South Baldface in the distance
South Baldface in the distance

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.

Mountain Pond Loop

Total Distance: 2.7 miles with 50′ of elevation gain.

Recommended Guidebooks and Maps:

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About the author

Philip Werner has hiked and backpacked over 8500 miles in the United States and the UK and written over 3000 articles as the founder of, noted for its backpacking gear reviews and hiking FAQs. A devotee of New Hampshire and Maine hiking and backpacking, Philip has hiked all 650+ trails in the White Mountains twice and has completed 10 rounds of the 48 peaks on the White Mountains 4000 footer list with over 560 summits in all four seasons. He is also the author of Backpacking the White Mountain 4000 Footers, a free online guidebook of the best backpacking trips in the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Maine. He lives in New Hampshire. Click here to subscribe to the SectionHiker newsletter.


  1. I walked around a puddle in my back yard, there’s a sort of lean to next to a storage shed and I had sightings of a large, white, furry dog… but somehow it just wasn’t the same!

  2. Looks like an easy walk. The thing that appeals to me about the location is that it’s a gateway to a large expanse of national forest without any trails. There are a bunch of interesting mountains though and streams, so a good place to explore with a fishing rod and compass!

  3. Seems like a fantastic winter overnight destination. Does Slippery Brook Road close in winter or become a snow machine route?

  4. Do you know if it is one of the Cold River Camp hikes?

    • It’s kind of out of the way for a CRC hike, requiring a long car shuttle since it’s about an 8 mile hike to the pond from camp. The camp likes to go to Province Pond instead which also has a shelter and is an easy drive from Evans Notch.

  5. How far passed the gate on slippery brook trail is the pond? I see the road gets closed in the Winter. Could be a nice Winter hike, as someone else mentioned, if its not too far.

  6. Me too! Please answer….
    How far passed the gate on slippery brook trail is the pond? I see the road gets closed in the Winter. Could be a nice Winter hike, as someone else mentioned, if its not too far.

  7. It’s 3.2 miles past the gate. The road was covered in ice (over some long-ish uphill stretches) in a few areas, so it took us a bit over an hour to reach the trailhead from the gate. It’ll be a gorgeous walk once the melt gets over with…shouldn’t be too long now.

  8. Planning to walk around Mountain Pond later this month with a family group. Can anyone tell me the parking situation and how to find the trailhead starting from the Chatham end?

  9. Any room for tents near the shelter mid-week? I prefer tents during black fly season (now).. Thanks.

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