Bald Mountain Loop, Willard Pond

• 4-star hike
• 2.8 mile loop
• Easy difficulty | Elevation gain 880 feet
• Monadnock | Antrim NH
Google Map | KML | Directions

New Hampshire Audubon's largest property is home to the dePierrefue-Willard Pond Wildlife Sanctuary including a rewarding 880 foot climb up Bald Mountain which features views over Willard Pond, and panoramas which span from Crotched Mountain to Mount Monadnock.

We prefer a clockwise hike of the Bald Mountain Loop. Commencing at the trailhead parking lot, the route gently climbs through mostly maple tree forest, past and between large erratic boulders. A few more trail markings on the trees would have helped our wayfinding, as fallen maple leaves frequently obscured our trail. Thankfully the path is mostly easy going, with comparaively few rocks and roots underfoot and no rock scrambles. The steepest part of the trail is the final ascent to the mountain summit, but even that isn't remotely a leg-burner.

Arriving at the 2,024 foot summit you'll be wondering why they call it Bald Mountain considering the fir trees that envelop you, and you may also be concerned about those views we promised you earlier. Continue on the slowly descending trail and you'll find yourself at the edge of the trees with a panoramic view to the South, and further on there are more sweeping vistas to the East.

Descending the returning trail in the direction of Willard Pond we heard the distinctive call of loons. Look out for them as the trail follows the shoreline of the clear pond waters to close your loop, or stop off at the lake shore for a swim or paddle.

Bug spray will be useful at peak season, particularly close to the lake. Also some folk report wasp nests close to the trail at the summit, but during our fall hike we found no evidence of this.

A shorter and easier loop trail would be to take the cut-off that avoids the summit, but still provides the great Easterly views we describe above. The shorter route is only 1.9 miles long and half the elevation gain at 430 feet.

Google Map | KML | Directions

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