Greeley Ponds from Waterville Valley

Destination:  Greeley Ponds (2245')
Trails:  Livermore Trail, Greeley Ponds Trail
Region:  NH - Central East  
White Mountain National Forest, Waterville Valley
Location:  Livermore, NH
Rating:  Easy/Moderate  
Features:  Ponds, rivers, views
Distance:  7.4 miles  
Elevation Gain:  670 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Actual: 3:30   Typical: 4:00  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 5:30  
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  08/30/2003 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  06/27/2012  
Author:  Paul Gronwall

NOTE: As of 6/27/2012, this trail is still CLOSED from Waterville Valley to Greeley Ponds due to damage from tropical storm Irene. The trail from Kancamagus Highway to Greely Ponds is open. See the White Mountain National Forest's alert page for the latest updates.

Route Summary   

Two pretty ponds ringed by mountains await you on this fairly easy hike. You get views of the ponds as well as the mountains and cliff faces towering over the water. This route starts from Waterville Valley and follows Greeley Ponds Trail north to the ponds. Although Greeley Ponds Trail continues all the way to Kancamagus Highway, this hike turns back at the second pond and retraces the same path back to Waterville Valley.

Note that many cross-country ski trails intersect Greeley Ponds Trail. The ski trails are marked by blue diamonds while the Greeley Ponds hiking trail is blazed with yellow paint.

  • From the parking lot, start walking on the gated gravel road which is Livermore Trail, also called Livermore Road in this section.
  • After 0.3 mile on Livermore Trail, turn left to get on Greeley Ponds Trail while Livermore Trail continues straight.
  • After 0.7 mile on Greeley Ponds Trail, Scaur Trail will veer to the right. Keep straight/left to stay on Greeley Ponds Trail.
  • Just 0.2 mile later you'll reach another junction. Goodrich Rock Trail goes off to the left but you should stay straight on Greeley Ponds Trail.
  • After another 0.2 mile, Timber Camp Trail also leaves to the left; stay straight on Greeley Ponds Trail.
  • The next junction is encountered just 0.1 mile later. Flume Trail veers right but you should bear left to stay on Greeley Ponds Trail.
  • Follow Greeley Ponds Trail for another 1.7 miles upon which you will reach lower Greeley Pond. Look for outlook points at both ends of this pond.
  • Continue along Greeley Ponds Trail for another 0.5 mile to reach upper Greeley Pond. At this southern shoreline is a spur path that crosses the outlet brook of the pond and leads to a small beach.
  • If you wish, you can continue another 0.1 mile on Greeley Ponds Trail to the northern end of upper Greeley Pond. From this end is an spur trail leading down to the shoreline which gives you a different prospect of the pond and surrounding mountains..
  • Retrace your steps to return to your vehicle being sure to follow Greeley Ponds Trail in a southerly direction (with your back to the pond, turn left). Follow Greeley Ponds Trail for 3.4 miles until it ends at Livermore Trail, then turn right onto Livermore Trail and follow it for 0.3 mile back to the parking lot.

Place         Split
Livermore Trailhead at Livermore Road (1580') 0.0 0.0 0:00 0:00
Jct. Livermore Trail.Greeley Ponds Trail (1580') 0.3 0.3 0:09 0:09
Lower Greeley Pond (2180') 2.9 3.2 1:22 1:31
Upper Greeley Pond (2245') 0.5 3.7 0:20 1:51
Lower Greeley Pond (2180') 0.5 4.2 0:18 2:09
Jct. Livermore Trail.Greeley Ponds Trail (1580') 2.9 7.1 1:13 3:22
Livermore Trailhead at Livermore Road (1580') 0.3 7.4 0:08 3:30



Trail map of hike route to Greeley Ponds (map by Webmaster)

Trail Guide   

This is a good hike when you don't feel the need to reach an open peak and look out across the mountain tops. The scenery at the ponds is beautiful and serene, but you will spend the entire hike in the woods.

The hike is easy throughout with no steep stretches. A significant portion of the trail follows an old logging road, so it is wide and conducive to hiking side by side and engaging in conversation. Because the trailhead is close to the Waterville Valley ski area, there are numerous ski trails that cross the hiking trail - the ski trails are marked by blue diamonds, the hiking trail by yellow blazes (although there are no blazes where the trail follows the road). At one point, there is even a sign that directs hikers to turn left and cross the river, rather than continue ahead on the ski trail, which looks more inviting.

Because the Livermore Trail and a portion of the Greeley Ponds Trail follow old roads, they are popular with families and are also used by runners and mountain bikers. Everyone we encountered politely shared the trails, including a couple picking mushrooms, but if you enjoy hiking in solitude, it is important to get an early start. We began the hike at 8:40 a.m. on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Although there were eight vehicles parked at the trailhead, we only encountered four people and two dogs on the outbound leg. During the last 1.5 miles back to the trailhead, we met several outbound groups, and we shared the short stretch on the Livermore Trail with several mountain bikers. Back at the trailhead shortly after noon, there were approximately twenty cars in the parking area.

The Livermore trail begins at the back of the parking area. There is an information station with hiking rules and a map posted on the board. The 0.3 mile portion of the trail is a smooth, wide gravel road. It is immediately crossed by several ski trails, all with very clear signs. After crossing a beaver pond with elaborate devices to frustrate the beavers' tendency to dam under the bridge, the Greeley Ponds Trail heads off to the left at a well signed intersection.

The hike is easy, and well built bridges simplify the creek crossings. Logs have been newly laid across the swampy areas (the wood chips were still fresh), but our dog followed his usual custom of wading through the mud. There is one crossing for which a bridge is not provided, but there were sufficient boulders to cross safely and dryly.

At the south end of Lower Greeley Pond, the trail passes a wide beach where we relaxed and enjoyed a snack. The hike to the upper pond is quick and easy, with no elevation change. The trail continues north for another 1.7 miles to the Kancamagus Highway, but we turned back south at this point and retraced our steps to the Livermore trailhead.


NH - Central East

  Driving Directions   

The Livermore Trailhead, which gives access to Greeley Ponds from the south, is located on Livermore Road in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.

From I-93:
  • Take Exit 28 off of I-93 and follow Rt. 49 East for approximately 10.5 miles.
  • Turn left onto Tripoli Road and follow it for about 0.9 mile.
  • Turn right onto West Branch Road (there should be a trailhead sign here) and then make a quick left onto Livermore Road and enter the trailhead parking area.
  • Turnpike to trailhead is a 17 minute drive.

Other Notes   

WMNF Recreational Pass

A parking permit is required to park at White Mountain National Forest trailheads and parking areas. You can purchase a WMNF permit from the forest service and other vendors and can also pay-by-the-day using self-service kiosks located in many parking areas.

For more information on parking passes please refer to the White Mountain National Forest website.

  • $5 per day
  • $30 for a year-long pass
  • $40 for a year for a household

More Greeley Ponds Trail Reports   



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