• Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Running, Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly

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.

Pack List

  • Appropriate shoes and clothes
  • A camera and tripod
  • LOTS of bug spray in the warmer months
  • Food, water and supplies, as there are no facilities on the trail
  • Flashlight if you choose to stay past sunset
  • A bear bell – it is a wildlife refuge, afterall
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos


Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

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!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

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.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Shannon Kalahan Explorer

I am an avid traveler, adventurer, dog owner, chapstick user, professional photographer, teacher and author based out of New England. I love to meet new people, so please, reach out to say hi!

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

3 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves