Mascot Pond

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours round-trip

Distance: 1 mile on trail round-trip (plus 2 miles on gravel roads round-trip to reach trailhead)

Level: Easy

Directions to the Trailhead

Mascot Pond makes for a great destination on a hot summer day, or when you want an easier hike to what feels like a remote location. To reach this trail, park at the Trestle Bridge in Gorham and follow the directions to the Mahoosuc Trail found here. It is a bit complicated to find, so make sure to follow the directions carefully. Once you reach the trailhead, take the Mahoosuc Trail as if you were heading to Mt. Hayes. Soon after you start up the trail you will cross under power lines. After just about 1/2 of a mile, you will reach the side trail to Mascot Pond on the right. Take this side trail. It is flat from this junction all the way to the pond, only one or two minutes down the trail.

mascot

From the sandy shores of Mascot Pond you will be able to see all the way to Mt. Washington on a clear day. If you turn around and look “behind” the pond, you will see a fairly large rock slide. Mascot Pond is also the site of the abandoned Mascot Mine. The mine was built in the 1880’s to extract lead, zinc and silver ores from the sides of Mt. Hayes. These materials were then sent via train to New Jersey. The buildings that once stood here are long since gone, but if you are feeling adventurous you can carefully climb up the rocky slope to some of the mine entrances. Today these entrances are gated off to protect over 1500 bats from five species that hibernate in the cave and Mascot Mine is the largest hibernaculum (location used for hibernation) in the state of NH!

Mascot Mine

Mascot Mine c. 1880s- Photo from Guy Shorey Collection

Mt. Jasper

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours round-trip

Distance: 1.5 miles round-trip

Level: Moderate

Map: Click here to view a trail map of Mt. Jasper

Directions to the trailhead.

Mt. Jasper is a WONDERFUL hike for anyone looking to get out and get to a great view but doesn’t have time for a full day commitment. The hike is short with a couple of moderate uphill climbs and in less than an hour you can reach the rocky summit, which offers great views of the city of Berlin.

The trailhead for Mt. Jasper is located behind the Berlin Highschool on Willard St. in Berlin. Drive back through the parking lots and park just above the track. From here you should be able to see an ATV trail just to the right of the track fence. The trail begins just down this path on the far side of the kiosk. It is marked with a sign indicating the mileage and blue blazes.

The trail begins by climbing some rock steps. Shortly in, 2 small dirt paths merge from the right. Continue to follow the blue blazes. You will reach a small stream that flows down to the right of the trail. About a third of the way to the summit the trail crosses the Suicide Hill Snowmobile Trail. On the far side there are some wooden bog bridges to cross as well as another trail branching off on the right. Continue to follow the blazes and stay to the left at any unclear junctions.

After one more short uphill climb you will emerge on the rocky summit of Mt. Jasper. Be mindful that there are steep and dangerous cliffs. Children should be warned to not run around and rough-house on the summit! Looking south you will see the city of Berlin and the Dead River. Across the river is Mt. Jericho.

mt jasper

View from Mt. Jasper looking south

If you continue around the summit you can also get a very nice view looking to the northwest which includes more of the Dead River and the Kilkennys.

View from Mt. Jasper looking northwest

View from Mt. Jasper looking northwest

Mt. Hayes

Estimated Time: 4.5-5.5 hours round-trip

Distance: 4.4 miles on trail round-trip (plus 2 miles on dirt roads to access the trailhead)

Level: Moderate

Directions to the Trailhead

Mt. Hayes in Gorham makes for a wonderful 1/2 day hike to some tremendous views of the town of Gorham and the Northern Presidential Range. One of the trickiest parts of this hike is finding the trailhead! The best way to access the trail is by parking at the Trestle Bridge on Rt. 16 in Gorham, just past VIP Tires when you are heading north (see map below). From there, cross over the bridge and turn left of the far side. Follow the dirt path past the pond, until you reach a “T”. Take a right here to connect with the ATV trail and then a left to cross over the canal. Just on the far side of the bridge, look for a small trail on your right. Follow this until it connects with another dirt road, take a right and continue walking (about 10 minutes) until you reach the trailhead on your left. This route is indicated in red on the map below:

Follow the red route to reach the Mt. Hayes trailhead

Follow the red route to reach the Mt. Hayes trailhead

Once you reach the trailhead (shown by an orange star on the map above), you will begin hiking through the woods (yellow path on map). The route to the top of Mt. Hayes follows the Mahoosuc Trail and is marked with blue blazes. The route can be a bit wet in the spring and early summer. The trail starts off gradually and quickly crosses some power lines. After half of a mile, there is a spur trail on the right to Mascot Pond, which also makes for a very nice destination. Shortly after there is a short steeper section before the path levels out and crosses over a dirt road. On the far side the trail climbs moderately through some muddy sections before one last steep section to the top.

Before you reach the actual summit, there is a small path to the right which leads out onto some fabulous ledges with great views. This is a great place to have a picnic lunch, eat a snack or simply relax and take in the views.

mt hayes

From here, you can continue on the Mahoosuc Trail if you want. The actual summit is .3 miles further but doesn’t offer a view and is just marked by a cairn. For most people, the ledges are a good destination. Return to your car on the same route you took up.

Square Ledge

Square Ledge

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours round-trip

Distance: 1 mile round-trip

Level: Moderate

Directions to the Trailhead

Square Ledge is a short hike to a fantastic view. You can see the ledge quite clearly across the street from the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center where you will park. The trail begins the same as the route to Lost Pond. You will pass through a boggy area and then cross a bridge from where you can see signs of beaver activity. After crossing the bridge turn right and almost immediately you will reach a junction. Here the trail to Square Ledge turns left. Be sure to stop at Ladies Lookout which is accessed by a short side trail. As you continue up the trail, be on the lookout for Hangover Rock – a massive rock that overhangs the trail and provides a nice shelter during rainy days.

Shortly after Hangover Rock you will emerge from the forest at the base of Square Ledge. Sometimes there will be rock climbers gathered here and you can watch as they scale the face of the cliff. Continue following the trail to the right up a short but steep section. The view from square ledge is quite stunning and on a calm day it can be a wonderful place to eat lunch or enjoy a snack. Be mindful of children and where you are sitting – Square Ledge is a large cliff with a very significant drop-off.

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Lost Pond

Lost Pond

Estimated Time: 1 hour round-trip

Distance: 1 mile round-trip

Level: Easy

Directions to the Trailhead

Lost Pond makes for a great afternoon hike and is wonderful for kids. There are many great “attractions” along the way to keep the entire family entertained. The hike begins across the street from the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center so park in the main lot. The trail to Lost Pond is part of the Appalachian Trail (AT) and as you head to the pond you will be following the AT north towards Katahdin.

You will first pass through a boggy area. When you are standing on the bridge, be sure to look around for evidence of some of the Notch’s permanent residents. On your left you will notice a beaver dam, and if you look to your right you might be able to spot the beaver lodge (their house).

Almost immediately after you cross the bridge the trail to Square Ledge will turn left. Continue straight following the white blazes. You will soon join up with the Ellis River. There are a couple good spots along the trail to get down by the water and dip your feet in. The trail will then leave the river and cross over a 2nd bridge. From here it will climb slightly through a rocky area before reaching the north end of the lake.

Follow the trail around the east side of the lake. There are multiple large rocks to sit on for a snack, lunch, or to simply take in the view. On a clear day you will be able to see across the notch to NH’s tallest peak, Mt. Washington. To the right of Washington you will see Mt. Adam’s and Mt. Madison. You should also be able to see Huntington Ravine, a glacial cirque that was carved out during the Ice Age.

From the south end of the lake you can turn around and retrace your steps back to Pinkham. If you want a more adventurous return you can continue until the trail meets the Wildcat Ridge Trail. Here, turn right. You will soon reach the Ellis River again. There is no bridge at this point, so you will need to wade or rock-hop across. Do not attempt this route after heavy rains as the river will be high and potentially quite rapid. From this point, either return to the parking lot along the road or head left to Glen Ellis Falls and then cross Rt. 16 to embark on a bigger loop – the Glen Boulder Trail to The Direttissima.

Beaver dam on the way to Lost Pond

Beaver dam on the way to Lost Pond