Deb (photo by Mark Malnati)

Meadow Lake and Demon Pond
Northwood Meadows State Park

Destinations:  Meadow Lake (600'), Demon Pond (650')
Trails:  Huckins Orchard Trail, West Road, Lake Trail, Dashing Down Road
Region:  NH - Southeast  
Northwood Meadows State Park
Location:  Northwood, NH
Rating:  Easy  
Features:  Lake, pond, brooks, loop trail
Distance:  4.3 miles  
Elevation Gain:  250 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Actual: 1:45   Typical: 2:15  
Outing Duration:  Actual: 2:00   Typical: 3:30  
Season:  Winter
Hike Date:  03/07/2009 (Saturday)  
Weather:  About 50 degrees, overcast
Author:  Webmaster
Companions:  SDHers: Faye, Deb, Mark, Diane, Jack, Cynthia, Claire, Sally, Brian, Michael, Reinhild, Cheryl, Donna, Claudette, Dave, 2 dogs

SDH crossing a bridge on Huckins Orchard Trail (photo by Webmaster)

Route Summary   

This pleasant undulating loop hike brings you to Meadows Lake and Demon Pond. I didn't notice any signs at the trail junctions, so be sure to take this map and directions with you if you want to know where you are going.

Note that many of the wide trails are used by snowmobilers in winter, and some trails are used by mountain bikers during the summer season so please use caution.

  • Go past the gate at the parking area, walking for 0.25 mile on the wide gravel road, then take your first right onto the white-blazed Huckins Orchard Trail which is both a hiking and mountain bike trail.
  • Follow the relatively narrow Huckins Orchard Trail for 0.5 mile until it ends at West Road which is a wide trail.
  • Turn right uphill onto West Road and walk for about 0.4 mile. At this point Foot Trail proceeds straight ahead while the wider West Road makes a U-turn to the left. Turn left to stay on West Road.
  • Just 0.1 mile later West Road will bring you down to the shore of Meadow Lake.
  • West Road / Lake Drive proceeds straight along the northwestern shoreline but we will turn right here onto Lake Trail which immediately brings you down to the southernmost tip of Meadow Lake where the dam is.
  • After enjoying the views of the lake, continue on Lake Trail.
  • Wetlands along Dashing Down Road (photo by Webmaster)
  • Nearly 0.5 mile from the dam, a short connector trail leads less than 0.1 mile to Dashing Down Road. For now, we will continue straight on Lake Trail.
  • About 0.2 mile later as Lake Trail heads downhill perpendicular to the shoreline of Meadow Lake, a small trail leads uphill to the right. Turn right on this connector path to reach Dashing Down Road after about 30 yards.
  • Turn right on the wide Dashing Down Road and head uphill.
  • After 0.3 mile, you will see the wider connector road leading from Lake Trail coming in from the right.
  • Keep following Dashing Down Road for another 0.4 mile then look for a tall, narrow rock–which resembles the shape of the state of New Hampshire–on the left which marks a spur trail leading down to Demon Pond.
  • Turn left in front of this marker and head downhill for about 100 yards which will allow you to view Demon Pond. You may continue descending more steeply a few more yards to get to the shoreline.
  • After enjoying the pond, retrace your steps up the spur path, and then turn right onto Dashing Down Road to retrace your steps there too.
  • After 0.4 mile on Dashing Down Road, you will again pass the wider connector to Lake Trail on the left. Keep going straight for another 0.3 mile and then turn left onto the narrow connector path that heads off between two stones.
  • After descending 30 yards on the connector path, turn right to continue the circuit on Lake Trail.
  • Walk on Lake Trail for 0.2 mile until it ends at West Road. Turn left and then immediately right, basically crossing West Road.
  • Follow this trail for 0.3 mile until it ends at the main gravel road leading from Rt. 202.
  • Turn left onto the main trail.
  • After 0.1 mile you will see the white-blazed Huckins Orchard Trail leaving to the left (the trail we followed earlier). Keep going straight on the wide main trail.
  • After 0.25 mile, you will arrive back at the parking lot on Rt. 202.

Place         Split
Trailhead on Rt. 202 (660') 0.0 0.0
Meadow Lake southern end (600') 1.25 1.25
Demon Pond (650') 1.45 2.7
Meadow Lake northern end (600') 0.8 3.5
Trailhead on Rt. 202 (660') 0.8 4.3

SDH on West Road (photo by Webmaster)

White pine near the dam on Meadow Lake (photo by Webmaster)

Brian (photo by Mark Malnati)

Click for the full trail map (it will open in a new window).   

Trail map of hike route to Meadow Lake and Demon Pond at Northwood Meadows State Park (map courtesy of NH State Parks and Northwood Area Land Management Collaborative)

Trail Guide   

Faye, our hike leader, devised this pleasant hiking loop for us in Northwood Meadows State Park. We snowshoed to Meadow Lake, then Demon Pond, then back around another portion of Meadow Lake before returning to our vehicles on Route 202 in Northwood, New Hampshire. The hike alternated easy downhills and uphills and we followed trails mostly shaded by feathery hemlocks or tall white pines.

After donning our snowshoes, and shedding many clothing layers on this spring-like day, we started out on a wide trail, walked past the pretty Tucker Brook, and then turned right onto a relatively narrow white-blazed footpath (Huckins Orchard Trail). As we meandered along we could catch glimpses of the lake through the trees and later crossed a brook on a sturdy bridge.

We then met up with the wide West Road (a trail), turned right and followed that up a bit which led us through a U-turn and then back downhill to the southernmost end of Meadow Lake where the dam is. This is the start of the Lamprey River which eventually empties out into Great Bay in Newmarket, New Hampshire after flowing approximately 50 river miles.

SDH on the trail (photo by Mark Malnati)

There was a tall stately white pine standing alone near the dam and many more white pines ringed the lake. On the far side of the dam, we reentered the woods on a narrow path (Lake Trail) that climbed up through a switchback then walked above the lake for a bit on a low ridge. Then we descended to the shore again at an opening with a different prospect of the lake where we could spot Sawdust Point jutting out into the water opposite us. We continued on Lake Trail, veering away from the edge, before the path led us downhill close to the shore again.

Here, instead of continuing close to the lake, we turned right to take a short connector path uphill, breaking through a bit of brush to arrive at the wide Dashing Down Road which is also used by snowmobiles (although we only saw two of those during our whole outing).

We turned right and soon passed a pretty wetlands area on the left. After a longish uphill climb we reached the spur to Demon Pond. This is marked on the left by a tall (about six feet high), narrow stone that somewhat resembles the shape of the state of New Hampshire. Near the bottom of the rock, someone even scratched in a "you are here" indication showing Northwood Meadows State Park in the southeast region of the rock "map".

Brook between Lake Trail and Dashing Down Road (photo by Webmaster) Huckins Orchard Trail (photo by Webmaster)

Just in front of the stone marker, we turned left and descended a short ways to decent views of Demon Pond. Then we descended a bit more down a steep pitch for a pretty, open view of the frozen pond, hemmed by conifers and studded with very short snags.

When we were finished checking out the pond, we turned around and climbed back up to the stone marker, went right on Dashing Down Road and followed that for a while, then ducked back into the woods via the connector path. Back near the shore we veered right to continue our circuit around Meadow Lake. Very soon we came right up to the edge of the water again where there was another pretty view, this time looking back towards the dam where we were earlier. There was a picnic table in the deep shade with views of the lake making it seem an inviting spot to escape to in the summer.

Faye and Sally (photo by Mark Malnati)

After more walking on a narrow footpath, we crossed a wider path (a portion of West Road that we hadn't yet traveled) that led to the shoreline. We hiked away from the lake, eventually coming out to the main wide path that we started our day on. We turned left, passed by Tucker Brook again and quickly arrived at the gate and the parking area.

We had a fun outing and Northwood Meadows State Park certainly merits a return trip. There are more trails to explore with options to do wider loops as well as to hike up to viewpoints on the nearby Saddleback Mountain. The trail network actually encompasses several land parcels including Harmony Hill Farm, Forest Peters Wildlife Management Area, Town of Northwood Parsonage Lot, and of course Northwood Meadows State Park.
Quincy and Tessa sharing a stick (photo by Mark Malnati)

NH rock "map" marking the spur to Demon Pond (photo by Webmaster)

"You are here" indicator on the rock "map" showing the park in the southeast region of the rock "map" (photo by Mark Malnati)

Sharon and Reinhild on the trail (photo by Mark Malnati)

Lake Trail (photo by Webmaster) Tucker Brook (photo by Webmaster) Lake Trail (photo by Webmaster)


NH - Southeast

  Driving Directions   

Northwood Meadows State Park is located in Northwood, New Hampshire on Route 4.

From I-93:
  • Take Exit 15 off of I-93 to get on I-393 and Routes 4 and 202 East.
  • I-393 will end and become Routes 4, 202, and 9 East.
  • After going through the Epsom traffic circle (where Rt. 28 intersects), continue traveling on Route 4 (and 202 and 9) East for 8.3 miles.
  • Northwood Meadows State Park will be on the right and is signed.
  • There is small parking area where the sign is that is plowed in winter; and a larger parking area just before the sign that either isn't plowed or isn't plowed as well as the smaller lot.
  • The main trail into the park starts from the smaller lot just past the gate.

From I-95:
  • From I-95 take Exit 4 to Spaulding Turnpike and Rt. 16 north.
  • Take Exit 6 and stay on Rt. 4 West.
  • At the junction of Routes 4 and 202 in Northwood, keep following Rt. 4 West for another 2.8 miles.
  • Northwood Meadows State Park will be on the left and is signed.
  • There is small parking area where the sign is that is plowed in winter; and a larger parking area just beyond the sign that either isn't plowed or isn't plowed as well as the smaller lot.
  • The main trail into the park starts from the smaller lot just past the gate.

Meadow Lake from the dam area (photo by Webmaster) Demon Pond (photo by Mark Malnati)


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