If you’ve ever visited us here at Pinkham Notch, you probably at some point have hiked out to Lost
Pond. It is a great way to warm your legs up for heartier hikes and a beautiful pay off for a little bit of work. We send people over there every day when they come through and just have time to just barely get into the woods. The wonder of Lost Pond is that although you are only .5m into the woods and less than that away from the road, you still do experience this amazing feeling of apartness and isolation! So when my niece who had recently moved to the area wanted to go check it out, I jumped in for the ride!
The Lost Pond Trail is officially a part of the Appalachian Trail and leaves almost directly across from the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. It crosses the bog on the other side of Route 16 and then follows the river down to the pond. There is very little elevation change and the footing does not get tricky until right before the pond. The canopy is largely soft woods with enough deciduous trees to make a fall hike really pretty! Our leaves here in the Notch are pretty much gone at this point but evergreens are always beautiful! On the far end of the pond, there is a nice flat rock which is an awesome place to take a break and take in the view of Mt. Washington directly over the pond. Most people just hike out to this rock and then return the same way. Liz however wanted to travel the whole length of the one mile trail and check out where it reconnects to Route 16, making it a loop.
We continued on from the pond and from here the trail gets kind of wild. Large boulders and uneven footing make even finding the trail a task and once found, negotiating it can be a challenge for new walkers. If you are adventurous however, it is a pretty section with new views of the water and the waterway and a slight height of land with some ledges. The trail goes over the height of land and descends to the Wildcat Ridge Trail which turns left and begins the arduous ascent of Wildcat Ridge immediately. ( I call those 2.2 m the “unrelenting stair climber”!) Liz and I turned right on the Wildcat Ridge Trail and walked out towards Route 16 across from Glen Ellis Falls. Here there is a real interesting crossing of the Ellis River. It’s one of my least favorite in the whole Whites in that a jump is required and the balance on the rocks involved in the jump are iffy. Many do do it however so my recommendation is to check it out. If you’re not comfortable with it, simply turn around and return the way you came for a total of a 2 m hike! Liz and I jumped the river the other day. I was successful. Liz had one foot land in the water but she kept going and managed to keep her foot dry!
The trail comes in close to the River
We walked back up Route 16 to Pinkham Notch, making our hike 1 1/2 hours long. Along the way on the west side of the road is an awesome spring which has great tasting water. If you decide to try it however, remember that all water is recommended to be filtered or treated!
Alternatively to returning via the road, you could cross Route 16 and climb up the Glen Boulder Trail to its intersection with the Direttissima Trail which would also bring you back to the Visitor Center. This would make your hike 2 3/4 miles long instead of 1 3/4 miles long and would probably take you 2 1/2 hours at the most.
Trail conditions right now are in the cross over season. Plan on ice and some snow at elevation. We had hoarfrost on the Lost Pond Trail and the bog was thinly frozen over. Crossing the river however was still fine…there was no ice on the rocks yet. If planning to climb “up” at all, I would plan to carry your Microspikes. You may not need them,but they are light weight enough to bring with and then not have to turn back if you find an iced over section in your way! If you are a guest here at Joe Dodge Lodge remember that the Hillsound Trail Crampon, another good product, is available at our Demo Center! Also for elevation plan extra layers of clothing for really cold temperatures and no matter where you are going, remember it is getting dark now at 5pm!!! Bring your headlamps!!! Call us any time here at Pinkham for the latest in weather from the summit of Mt. Washington!
The rough trail beyond the Pond
If interested in hiking Lost Pond, you can find this hike on AMC Map #1 for the Presidential Range and the description is in the AMC White Mountain Guide. Because it is a classic short hike in the White Mountains you will also find it in many a dayhike book. Consider AMC’s Best Day Hikes in the White Mountains on page 213!
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AMC Backcountry Information Specialist