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U.S. Forest Service

Eastern Region Viewing Area


blue bead lily. Blue bead lily (Clintonia borealis). Photo by Christopher Mattrick.

the forest along the Sawyer Pond Trail. The forest along the Sawyer Pond Trail. Photo by Christopher Mattrick.

Close-up pink lady's slipper. Pink Lady's slipper (Cypripedium acaule). Photo by Christopher Mattrick.

red trillium. Red trillium (Trillium erectum). Photo by Christopher Mattrick.

wood sorrel. Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella). Photo by Christopher Mattrick.

Sawyer Pond Trail

Forest: White Mountain National Forest

District: Saco Ranger District

Description: Trails are travel corridors. We walk through them with a destination in mind – the top of that mountain, the shelter where we will sleep at that night or on the way down, the safety and security of our vehicle and home. We often travel trails without observing the beauty and complexity of what is at our feet the whole trip. Sometimes, we rarely reach the end of the trail or my original destination. We may become intrigued by the complexity and beauty of my surroundings and the plants that grow along the way.

The White Mountain National Forest encompasses many unique ecologically significant areas from high elevation lakes and bogs to lowland red spruce forests. Each of these natural communities is home to a wide variety of interesting and beautiful plants species. The well maintained trail network on the Forest provides visitors with the opportunity to safely visit many of these areas. A mix of northern hardwoods (sugar maple, beech, yellow birch) and spruce/fir (red/white spruce and balsam fir) occupy much of the White Mountain National Forest and the Sawyer Pond Trail provides a wonderful glimpse into the subtle beauty of this habitat.

Sawyer Pond Trail, at less than four miles round trip, is a wonderful hike for those less adventurous wildflower lovers or those with small children. The wildflowers to be seen along this route are fairly common and can be encountered in many locations both on and off the White Mountain National Forest. What is unusual about the Sawyer Pond Trail is the abundance of wildflowers along its path. Great sweeps of pink lady’s slipper, bluebead lily, partridgeberry, Indian cucumber root, red trillium, mountain wood sorrel, and more occur right along the path edge. A hike up this trail in early June through early July is a delight for the eye. Not only are these wonderful plants at your feet nearly the entire trip, but the trail passes through a series of wetlands, where you might catch a glimpse of a moose grazing. The trail ends at Sawyer Pond, one of the prettiest ponds on the Forest. There are primitive campsites scattered around the lake if you want to spend the night.

Directions: Sawyer Pond Trail can be reached from either the Kancamagus Highway (route 112) or route 302. The suggested (and described) route leaves from route 302. From interstate 93 take exit 35 onto route 3 north. At the intersection of route 3 and route 302 turn right (south) onto route 302 towards Bretton Woods. Proceed for approximately 19 miles to the intersection of 302 and Sawyer River Road (FR34). Turn right onto Sawyer River Road (FR34) Follow Sawyer River Road to its end. Sawyer Pond Trail begins just pass the gate and quickly crosses Sawyer River via a footbridge.

Ownership and Management: USDA Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest, Saco Ranger District (603) 447-5448.

Closest Town: Bartlett, New Hampshire.