Hiking at Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge

Added by Shannon Kalahan

Distance : 3 miles round trip to the large pond, approximately 5.2 miles of hiking roundtrip to see 2 out of the 3 ponds on the property. Duration : A few hours. Difficulty : Easy. Beautiful views of the Presidential, Pliny, Crescent, and Dartmouth mountain ranges as well as Cherry Mountain reflecting in the refuge's two large ponds. Variety of local flora and fauna to be seen, including 200 species of bird, moose, beaver, otters, black bear, snowshoe hares and coyote. Popular activities include photography, bird watching, day hiking, biking, horseback riding, hunting (designated areas only), cross-country skiing and snow-mobiling.

As hiking in the White Mountain area goes, this is a pretty easy one. This is a family friendly hike along a rail trail and well maintained forest trails. The main attraction here isn't the difficultly. The main attraction here is the spectacular views and the abundant wildlife.

This trail begins on Airport Road in Jefferson, NH. If you are coming from Rt 116, the trailhead parking lot is actually a little confusing to find, since the road curves through an airport complex. From the junction of Rte. 3 and Rte. 116 in Whitefield, go 1.6 miles south on Rte. 3. Take a left (east) on Colby Rd and go 1.5 miles to Hazen Rd. Go right (east) past Airport Marsh and through the airport complex for 1.6 miles to trail parking on left.

If you are coming from Rt 115, turn onto Airport Rd and go about 1.5 miles to a small parking lot on the right.

The trail into the large pond, which has the better of the two views, is about 1.5 miles. The trail passes primarily through lowland spruce – fir forest, though there are a few areas of wetland and lots of flowers, ferns, etc mixed in along the way. At 1.5 miles, you come to the Waumbek Junction, where you can choose to continue straight or take a right.

If you continue straight, the trail will join up with some active railroad tracks, and eventually put you at the trailhead for the smaller pond. Taking a right will bring you to a viewing platform where you get a fabulous view of Cherry Pond and the surrounding mountains. If you choose to continue past the platform, you'll stay parallel to the shore and eventually the path opens up into another marsh and wetlands area. Again, there are great views of the mountains, and on a calm day, lovely reflections in the water.

If you choose to continue on to Little Cherry Pond, you will see floating islands just off the shore of Cherry Pond, and the official marker designating the refuge as a National Natural Landmark (this is found at the junction of an off-shoot Shore Trail and the railroad tracks).

Little Cherry Pond trail is much narrower, and slick at times. It is also, in my experience, much buggier. This is where you'll be glad you have the bug spray. Overall, nothing is all that difficult along the Little Cherry Pond, but it is not appropriate for anything other than foot traffic. Horses and bikes are restricted to the main trail.

Read More


Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥈 Contributor

over 4 years ago

Smooth Walk With Nice View

Nice walk. We didn't have any phone with internet neither gps with us ao we could'nt find the entrancs, but we manage to made it by our own trail. The view at the pond is really nice and the walk is pretty easy! There was so many bugs, by chance we had a repelenr with us, but still they were not leaving us alone! Nice and quiet place. We were the only one up there!

Leisurely stroll to beautiful view

Quite a flat and easy walk in. The observation deck looks out on an awesome view w/lake, forest and mountains. A bit crowded on the tiny deck during peak fall, but still plenty room to enjoy. Good spot to bring a thermos, binoculars, maybe a book, and sit for a while.

Stay Nearby

Carroll, New Hampshire

Twin Mountain / Mt. Washington Koa

, New Hampshire

Sugarloaf 1 Campground

Overview Sugarloaf 1 is a quiet, remote getaway in the northwoods of New Hampshire. Located near the western base of Mount Washington and 3 miles east of the small town of Twin Mountain, the campgr...

Jefferson, New Hampshire

Sugarloaf 2 Campground

Overview Sugarloaf 2 is a scenic, remote campground in the northwoods of New Hampshire. Located near the western base of Mount Washington and 3 miles east of the small town Twin Mountain, the campg...

Gorham, New Hampshire

Dolly Copp

Overview Located 6 miles south of Gorham, New Hampshire at the base of New England's tallest peak, the historic Dolly Copp Campground is a large facility that accommodates a range of campers and pr...

Nearby Adventures

  • Summit Mount Waumbek via the Starr King Trail

    The hike starts out at the Starr King trailhead because you will summit Starr King Mountain (3,907 ft - so close to being a 4000 footer!) before moving on to Waumbek. The 2.6 miles that it takes to get to the first summit are gradual and forgiving...

    7.2 miles 1500 ft gain

  • Hike the Northern Presidentials

    The Presidential Range is a mountain range located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. They contain the highest peaks of the Whites and are named after Presidents of the U.S. I also want to add that this range is known for having some of the ...

    15.6 miles

  • Hike Mount Jefferson

    Mount Jefferson stands at 5712 feet, the third tallest mountain of the Presidential's in the White Mountain National Forest. The trail head begins at the Caps Ridge Trail on Jefferson Notch Rd. While 2.5 miles sounds easy, this hike is not for the...

    5 miles 2700 ft gain

  • Summit Mount Jefferson, Mount Clay, and Mount Washington

    Hike with at least one other and take two cars. First drop one car at the Cog Railway parking lot (Base Station Rd, Bretton Woods, NH). Jump into the second car and drive about 15 minutes to the Caps Ridge Trailhead on Jefferson Notch Road ( N 44°...

    10.5 miles 4455 ft gain