Round Pond

Destination:  Round Pond (1652')
Trails:  Round Pond Trail, Cobble Mountain Trail, Oak Trail
Region:  NH - Central East  
Location:  Gilford, NH
Rating:  Easy/Moderate  
Features:  Pond
Distance:  Approximately 6.0 miles  
Elevation Gain:  722 feet (high point minus low point)  
Hiking Time:  Actual: 2:57     
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  09/18/1999 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  08/02/2008  
Weather:  Sunny, clear, 60 degrees
Author:  Webmaster

Route Summary   

I followed a combination of Cobble Mountain Trail (#5), #8 (no name), #7 (Oak Trail), and Round Pond Trail (#B20).

Place         Split
Cobble Mtn. Trailhead 0.0 0.0 0:00 0:00
Round Pond approx. 3.0 3.0 1:37 1:37
Cobble Mtn. Trailhead approx. 3.0 6.0 1:20 2:57


  Trail Guide   

This was a somewhat confusing route to follow and quite wet in places. Basically, you head up the Cobble Mountain Trail and then watch for signs directing you to Round Pond. There are many trails that interconnect so there are many ways to get there. The AMC book that describes the route called "Round Pond Trail" seemed to be almost completely at odds with the "Round Pond" directives found on the trail. I followed the signs since that was simpler, but either route will get you to your destination.

Round Pond (photo by Webmaster) There was one tricky spot I can think of that I'm not sure was signed or not. After going through a meadow with a picnic table, you need to re-enter the woods where there's a sign labeled "7 - Oak Trail". This will immediately take you over a bridge. Then very shortly after that, there will be a "Round Pond" sign, directing you to bear left at a fork.

I took a rather round-about way up that involved bushwacking around some flooded areas. On the way down, I took a more straightforward route and avoided the unpleasant flood areas. (We had heavy rains for 2 days prior to my hike.) Footing was good throughout the trail.

Most of the trail was gradual, with some moderate pitches and much of it was on a wide trail that is also used for horse rides. The guy at the Gunstock complex advised me to talk to the horses in a low voice if I met up with them. He said they were blind and by talking you would be letting them know that you weren't another beast so that they would leave you alone. I didn't actually see the horses themselves but did go by several piles of fresh droppings. And I didn't see any people on the trails either. Traffic could be heard during several points along the trail.

There were some downed trees in the trail that required bypassing but they were all easy to get by. There were several stream crossings. Many of them had true bridges, some of them didn't have any bridges and some of them had really rickety things that looked like pallets, joined together to form a bridge. Anyway, all the crossings were easy. The woods were mostly comprised of deciduous trees; including a sprinkling of birches throughout.

I saw a couple interesting plants along the path: White Baneberry and Indian Cucumber - both were in fruit. The White Baneberry has a cluster of thick red stalks jutting out above the leaves. The stalks are rough and remind me of a bird's legs. At the end of each red stalk is a white berry with a black dot on it. Quite unusual looking and colorful. My guidebook (Audubon) tells me these berries are very poisonous. The Indian Cucumber wasn't quite as colorful but still stood out. It consisted of a tall stem with 8 leaves circled about the stem rather low on the plant; and 3 leaves circled about the stem, right below the fruit. The lower parts of the top group of leaves were colored a bright red. And above this grouping were a few purplish/blackish colored berries. The field guide (Audubon) notes that these plants are scare and used to be used by the Indians for food because the root smells and tastes similar to cucumbers.

Another attraction along this path is the Scout 800 - an old dilapidated jeep. At first glance it looked like it had just recently been driven to the side of the trail because it had a trailer attached to it, upon which fresh-looking birch logs were neatly stacked - giving the illusion that the jeep would be hauling them out of the woods any minute. Upon closer inspection, I found the tires to be flat and the one seat in the vehicle consisted of a rusted out seat-back frame and where the seat cushion should have been were a bunch of rusted, bare, springs.

Round Pond (photo by Webmaster)

At last, I came upon the main attraction: Round Pond. For the most part it was very quiet and peaceful there. The pond was pretty large - I could just barely hold it all using my peripheral vision. There wasn't really a clearing by the pond - but lots of boulders and ferns and other low lying plants. There's a path that leads around the shore and I explored this path for almost one side of the pond. There's a stone wall that comes down the hillside, to the pond, and continues right into the pond! It marks a boundary for state land. I found a comfy rock with an unobstructed view and sat down for a pleasant lunch. Although it was a pleasant hiking temperature, I was actually quite chilly sitting by the pond so I bundled up.

I think I saw a bald eagle. I didn't have my binoculars so I can't be sure, but I don't know of any other large bird that fits those color characteristics. Its head and tail were a bright white and the rest of its body was dark.

A weird thing happened to me while I was exploring the pond's shore - I think I was shot at. A friend told me it's not yet firearm season but that doesn't mean there won't be anybody out shooting. I was kind of in my own world but was vaguely aware of a loud booming noise that sounded like it came from across the pond - corresponding to this boom was a big splashing sound in the water. The second time these noises happened together, the water splashed about 8 feet in front of me and I was suddenly horrified to realize I was probably being shot at. At this point, although just barely offshore, I was behind several trees. So I walked over to a spot nearby that had no trees so that I was clearly visible. I waved my arms to let the yahoos know that they were shooting at a person. After that, I didn't hear any more booms or water splashes, but it was a disconcerting experience and I probably won't want to risk returning to this site.


NH - Central East

  Driving Directions   

  • From I-93, take exit 20 (for Rts. 3, 11, 132, 140).
  • Head east on Rt. 11.
  • Then take Rt. 11A east.
  • Turn right at big sign for Gunstock Ski area and follow the road down to the large parking lot.

After parking in the lot, walk back up the road you just came on, and right after you cross over the bridge (near the pond), the trailhead will be on the right. There's a mailbox there that sometimes has trail guides and there's also a sign for Cobble Mountain.


Bathrooms at the Gunstock complex.

Mountain bike trail maps available at the Gunstock complex.

More Round Pond Trail Reports   


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