Saturday, June 29, 2013


During a hot, hazy and humid stretch of weather, there's no better place in the backcountry to beat the heat than Sawyer Pond. Accessed  by a mellow 1.5 mi. hike off the end of the gravel Sawyer River Rd. (FR 34) off Rt. 302, the waters of this gem are broad, clear and deep. There are plenty of shoreline spots from which too admire the views across to Owl's Cliff and Mt. Tremont, and to take a cooling dip.

Carol and I started off in hot sun at the end of the road...

...but soon entered a cool mixed forest.

The grades on the Sawyer Pond Trail are easy to briefly moderate, with a few muddy/rocky stretches. There are also some nice soft footing sections like this.

We passed an open swamp on the right shortly before reaching the pond.

The classic view of Mt. Tremont and Owl's Cliff from Sawyer Pond.

A shoreline side path leads 0.2 mi. to the shelter. It was fully occupied (see photo below), but the campers soon took off for a day hike somewhere and we had the area to ourselves for an hour or more.

Before settling in at Sawyer Pond for a swim, lunch and a siesta, we climbed the herd path to Little Sawyer Pond, which rests on a shelf 125 ft. higher than the big pond, and briefly enjoyed its quiet isolation. This is the view from the pond's outlet, looking across to a spur ridge of Mt. Tremont.

A view of Little Sawyer from a spot along the shore.

Back down at Sawyer Pond, we continued on the shoreline path beyond the shelter to a rock with a view back to Green's Cliff.

We backtracked a bit to a nice shady opening with a good entry point for the water. A dip in the pond was most refreshing. Then we just hung out in the shade, listening to the birds (including the far-carrying call of an Olive-sided Flycatcher). At one point a loon briefly surfaced just off shore, undoubtedly pursuing some of the trout we saw leaping from the water.

Lots of White Admirals around. These three held a conference by our siesta spot.

We could have easily stayed an hour or two longer, but possible severe thunderstorms were in the forecast for later in the afternoon, and another camping group had arrived. After a last look at the view, we headed out.

A zoom on Owl's Cliff and its great craggy eye.

We passed by this colorful scene at the shelter on our way out. Summertime, and the livin' is easy...


  1. Thanks for the suggestion for a hot day, Steve!

  2. Do you think this trail is runnable? I am getting into trail running and I am always looking for new adventures

    1. Tami,

      I would say this trail is mostly runnable, as is the longer (4.5 miles) section of the Sawyer Pond Trail between the pond and the Kancamagus Highway. At that end of the trail you have to ford the Swift River right at the start.