Surf and turf overview: Gull Pond and Gull Pond Hill

A hiker enjoys the view from a ledge on Gull Pond Hill. (Provided photo — Spencer Morrissey)

Distances: Alder Meadow Road to Gull Pond-0.5 miles; To Gull Pond Hill summit-0.5 miles

Type of Route: Trail, herd path

Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate

Quad Map: Pharaoh Mountain

Portage: This pond would be best left for shore fishing. The half mile carry would be a bit of a challenge, while not impossible; I would recommend a very lightweight kayak, canoe or inflatable.

Fishing: There isn’t much option here, but the brook trout and bullhead fishing is fine.

Scenery: This short hike offers nice views of a rocky ledge from its shore, wildflowers and the promise of wildlife. Stellar views from Gull Pond Hill can be had for those wanting to go a bit further.

Trailhead Location: Off exit 28 of Interstate-87, get on state Route 9 and head south. Look for Alder Meadow Road on your left. Follow this road for 3.75 miles to the trailhead on the right.

Trail Hike: This is a well-used trail that flows nicely through the backwoods and is relatively flat with the slightest incline. After the walk through the attractive forest you will arrive at 0.5 miles and it end at a rocky outcrop overlooking Gull Pond and its intriguing lone island off to the right. Gull Pond Hill rises above the water on the far end. The pond and trail are perfect for kids, the next portion, not so much.

Herd Path Hike: This herd path doesn’t get as much use as the High Peaks herd path, so don’t expect a perfectly outlined course. A GPS and map and compass are always a great idea. The path is off to the right near the rock outcropping at the end of the trail. Once on it, it remains fairly obvious for a while as it passes by a couple illegal campsites on the water.

Once near the south ridge of Gull Pond Hill a faint herd path heads up the steep and rocky slopes. Be very careful here, especially on the descent to avoid ankle injuries. The top of the cliffs are very shear and should be respected. Do not go to close to the edges, no horseplay. Use backcountry smarts. This portion of the trip is not one I would recommend to children, and only people with experience in route finding and proper equipment.

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