It’s gotten easier to find Lost Pond in New Hampshire’s Pinkham Notch, thanks to a new footbridge and boardwalk installed at the trailhead by AMC staff in October.
Hikers will appreciate the new design, which provides surer footing than the old system: a deteriorating set of 15-year-old bog bridges and a small timber footbridge built in the 1970s that was sinking into the muddy bed of the unnamed stream it spanned. Hikers will also welcome the footbridge’s deck-like sitting area, where groups can rest while gazing up at Mount Washington’s eastern slopes.
In addition to creating a treadway that’s better for both hikers and the environment, the new bridge means more people can experience the picturesque spot. “The boardwalk provides better accessibility for a broader range of user groups,” says Andrew Norkin, AMC’s director of trails and recreation. The boardwalk and footbridge were built to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility standards, but the project is not ADA-certified, because the slope and density of terrain on the trailhead approach do not meet ADA requirements, Norkin says.
The boardwalk is supported by helical pilings installed by Solid Earth Technologies of Amherst, N.H. These pilings are employed when the soil is loose, as is the case at the project site. The pilings are anchored to more stable soil, in some cases as deep as 25 feet below ground.
The bridge and boardwalk were designed by HEB Engineers of North Conway, N.H.
Maintained by AMC, Lost Pond Trail is a segment of the Appalachian Trail, one of the more popular in the area with day hikers. Lost Pond Trail leaves N.H. Route 16 opposite AMC’s Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, travels a half mile to scenic Lost Pond, and continues another 0.4 mile to its junction with Wildcat Ridge Trail.
With easy to moderate grades, the trail provides a woodsy walk to the pretty pond, with a view of Mount Washington looming beyond.
The U.S. Forest Service, the National Forest Foundation, Fields Pond Foundation, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and AMC contributed funding for the $100,000 project, which has an anticipated life span of at least 40 years, Norkin says.