The magical oasis of walking upon a body of water in the woods is often only seen in movies or read in books. These seven hiking trails are only a handful of many routes throughout Maine with ponds you can only access by foot. We’re lucky enough to have these within an easy driving distance of Bethel.
Please remember when hiking to be respectful of our natural resources. Leave no trace, stay on trails, and have an alternate plan in the event a trailhead parking lot is full.
1. Round Pound | Albany Brook Trail
Beginner | 1.1 Miles
This two-for-one easy hike grants you access to Crocker Pond (at the trail head) and Round Pound. With only a mile from start to water front, Albany Brook trail follows along the trickling brook lined by stone wall. The peaceful scenery that is Round Pond is worth the hike when you need to go for a quick walk and stretch things out. Dogs are welcome on leash.
2. Rattlesnake Pool | Evans Notch
Beginner/Intermediate | 2.8 Miles
Although it isn’t technically a pond, this serine waterscape is a gem worth the visit. The pool, located in Evans Notch via Stone House trail, is formed at the bottom of a flume 2.8 miles in from the Stone House trailhead. The emerald green water entices swimmers for a dip in the ice-cold stream before and after a hike up Blueberry Mountain.
3. Speck Pond | Grafton Notch
Expert | 3.1 Miles
Speck Pond is located along the Appalachian Trail in Grafton Notch. The trek to Speck Pond makes for a long day hike, climbing 2,000 feet over 3.1 miles. Before reaching the 37-foot deep mountain pond, you can take a right on May Cutoff trail to climb to the summit of Mahoosuc Arm and soak in the panoramic views of Speck Pond and surrounding mountains. From the May Cutoff junction with the Appalachian trail, you head north to loop around Speck Pond before descending back to the trailhead.
4. Shell Pond | Evans Notch
Beginner | 3.3 Miles
The Shell Pond Loop can be accessed two ways: by Route 113 in Evan’s Notch, which is closer to Bethel. Or via Shell Pond Road in North Lovell. This easy 3.3-mile hike features a pristine Shell Pond and views of Caribou in the distance.
5. Tumbledown Pond | Tumbledown Trail
Intermediate/Expert | 4.7 Miles
A bit of a drive from Bethel, Tumbledown trail in Weld is a favorite of many in the area, and worth the extra distance. At 4.7 miles and a little over 1,800′ elevation, Tumbledown Summit takes in spectacular views on Tumbledown Pond and Webb Lake in the distance. After summiting the rock face, take a dip in the cool mountain waters before making your way back down. If you’re looking to get in a few extra steps, make your adventure into a loop via Parker Ridge.