Hiking, swimming, kayaking, fishing. Great for kids, moderate to easy depending on your route. Rots and rocks on trail. Fantastic bird and wildlife watching. Great views.
Thank you to Meade Cadot for encouraging me to explore this magical place.
My fantastic children and I used to swim at Willard Pond over 25 years ago. Back then, the trails had not yet been totally developed and the only other people enjoying the area were locals and the artists in residence at the MacDowell Colony. https://www.macdowell.org/ These days the area is very popular so a weekday trip might be recommended. Please drive slowly, as you head in.
Before you reach the parking lot, look to your left at the erratics. The acoustics are incredible and it is highly recommended that the best singer among you try them out.
We recommend going counter clockwise on the loop. While the accent is rockier, part of the incredibleness of this hike is the huge erratcs. The approach from the other end is long, slow and literally breath taking. As in huffing and puffing, not beauty. Besides, the pond walk is a great way to end your day.
There is a trail up to Bald mtn. Which has some interesting rock formations and is set up for picnics.
Bald is a good respite, but the best view is looking over the Harris Center super sanctuary and Willard pond. The climb up is along a ridge over looking the pond.
Sunrise is amazing.
The trip down travels by a ledge that sometimes has ice flows.
And, in warmer weather…
If time and energy allow, do take the spur trail to the point. You can see it from the summit.
When you come down from the mountain bear left. You will see where the beavers have made highways and a rock outcrop to your left. Before you cross the bridge, be sure and walk up to the little waterfall.
The trail to pine point can be wet in spots, but easily navigated. Enjoy the loons and other water fowl if the season is right.
You will wander along the back side of Willard pond to a perfect picnic spot.
After refreshing yourself, perhaps even taking a dip near the sandy shore, head back down the trail.
Now you will bear left and head along the shore to enjoy amazing erratics…
Some very inspired beavers.
Some incredible trees;
Along the shore you will find some very interesting plants. This trail is not easy to navigate due to rocks and roots.
Relax and enjoy the sound of the lapping waves, watch a kayaker, or listen to the joy of the swimmers. If off season, just enjoy.
Head back along the shore to the parking lot.
And here is a link to a great blog about the Flora of Willard Pond.