From the parking area, follow an unmarked woods road east across the meadow. At the end of the meadow, you will notice three red-triangle-on-white blazes, which mark the start of the Arden-Surebridge (A-SB) Trail. Turn right and follow the A-SB Trail south for about 100 feet, where you will see a wooden sign giving...
From the parking area, follow an unmarked woods road east across the meadow. At the end of the meadow, you will notice three red-triangle-on-white blazes, which mark the start of the Arden-Surebridge (A-SB) Trail. Turn right and follow the A-SB Trail south for about 100 feet, where you will see a wooden sign giving mileages along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). You will be following the A.T., marked with white blazes, for the next two and one-half miles of the hike. Turn left onto the A.T., which begins a steady ascent of Green Pond Mountain, first moderately, then more steeply. After a climb of over 500 vertical feet, you'll reach the summit of the mountain, where a large boulder to the left of the trail affords limited views to the west. The A.T. now descends the eastern slope of the mountain on switchbacks.
At the base of the descent, follow the A.T. as it turns left onto Island Pond Road, a dirt road built by Edward Harriman (after whom the park is named) about 1905. You'll soon enter a beautiful hemlock grove. After only about 500 feet on Island Pond Road, the A.T. turns right, goes over a small rise, and crosses a gravel road built in the 1960s to provide access for fishermen to Island Pond. The trail descends to cross an outlet of the pond on a small wooden bridge. The stone spillway you see was built by Civilian Conservation Corps workers in the mid-1930s as part of a plan to increase the size of Island Pond by damming it. The work was never completed, though, and the pond remains in its natural state.
The A.T. now ascends to a knoll overlooking beautiful Island Pond. On the way, you will pass a large rusted metal object to the right. This was a rotary gravel sorter, used to separate different sizes of gravel. The trail then descends and turns right on another woods road, known as the Crooked Road. After a short distance, the white blazes leave to the left and climb to a junction with the A-SB Trail, marked with red triangles on a white background. Turn left at the junction and follow the joint A.T./A-SB to the base of a large rock formation, where the two trails split.
This rock formation, known as the Lemon Squeezer, is one of the most interesting features of the park. Turn left and follow the A.T. as it climbs through a very narrow passage between the rocks and then goes up a steep rock face, where you will need to use both your hands and your feet. Those who are physically able to negotiate these challenges will find them to be a highlight of the hike. But if the climb is too difficult, it is possible to bypass the Lemon Squeezer by following a path to the left.
After reaching the top of the Lemon Squeezer, the A.T. continues on a more moderate grade to the summit of Island Pond Mountain. The stone ruins just north of the summit are the remains of a cabin built by Edward Harriman. This is a good place to stop and take a break.
The A.T. descends from the mountain and enters an attractive hemlock grove. After winding through the hemlocks, you will reach a junction with the aqua-blazed Long Path, marked by a wooden signpost. Turn right, leaving the A.T., and follow the Long Path as it skirts the edge of Dismal Swamp. The ridge visible across the swamp to the east is Surebridge Mountain. A short distance beyond a wet area, crossed on tree roots, you will come to a woods road -- the route of the A-SB Trail (now encountered for the third time). Cross the road and bear left, where you will see three horizontal white blazes, marking the start of the White Bar Trail. Continue ahead on the White Bar Trail, which briefly joins a woods road, then turns left on a wider woods road - the continuation of the Crooked Road that you followed earlier in the hike.
After about a mile on the White Bar Trail, the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail joins from the left. Continue ahead, now following both white and yellow blazes. When the two trails separate a quarter of a mile later, turn right and follow the yellow blazes of the Dunning Trail. After passing a large cliff to the right, the trail ascends a rise, then descends to the base of the Boston Mine. This iron mine -- a large open cut into the hillside, partially filled with water -- is reached by a short path to the right. It was last worked around 1880.
After visiting this mine, continue ahead on the yellow-blazed Dunning Trail. In 500 feet, you will reach a wide woods road - the southern extension of Island Pond Road. Turn right, leaving the yellow-blazed trail, and follow unmarked Island Pond Road as it descends through hemlocks and laurels towards Island Pond. When you once again encounter the red-triangle-on-white blazes of the A-SB Trail, continue ahead, bearing right at the fork. At the next Y-intersection, again bear right, and you will soon arrive at the ruins of a stone building, built by the park as a ranger station. Just beyond, a rock ledge affords an expansive view over scenic Island Pond. This is a great spot to rest and take a break.
When you are ready to continue, retrace your steps along the road to the junction with the A-SB Trail. This time, bear right and follow the A-SB as it heads west, crossing a swamp and the southern outlet of Island Pond. A short distance beyond the swamp, turn left, leaving the road, and follow the red-triangle-on-white blazes across the southern end of Green Pond Mountain. You'll pass through an area with many dead trees, where there are good views to the west. Just beyond, the trail begins a steep descent on switchbacks. The grade soon moderates, and after about a mile on the A-SB, you'll reach a grassy woods road - the Old Arden Road - at the base of the descent. Here, the red-on-white blazed Stahahe Brook Trail begins to the left, but you should turn right and continue to follow this A-SB Trail northward along the road to its terminus, marked by a triple-blaze. Turn left and follow the woods road across the meadow back to the Elk Pen parking area, where the hike began.Publication: Submitted by Daniel Chazin on 08/22/2002 updated/verified on 06/18/2008
This loop hike climbs to the summits of Green Pond and Island Pond Mountains, goes through the narrow Lemon Squeezer, and passes the historic Boston Mine.
Whether you are going for a day hike or backpacking overnight, it is good practice to carry what we call The Hiking Essentials. These essentials will help you enjoy your outing more and will provide basic safety gear if needed. There may also be more essentials, depending on the season and your needs.
Hiking Shoes or Boots
Water - Two quarts per person is recommended in every season. Keep in mind that fluid loss is heightened in winter as well as summer. Don't put yourself in the position of having to end your hike early because you have run out of water.
Map - Know where you are and where you are going. Many of our hiking areas feature interconnecting network of trails. Use a waterproof/tear-resistant Tyvek Trail Conference map if available or enclose your map in a Ziplock plastic bag. If you have a mobile device, download Avenza’s free PDF Maps app and grab some GPS-enhanced Trail Conference maps (a backup Tyvek or paper version of the map is good to have just in case your batteries die or you don't have service). Check out some map-reading basics here.
Food - Snacks/lunch will keep you going as you burn energy walking or climbing. Nuts, seeds, and chocolate are favorites on the trail.
Sunscreen and insect repellent
Rain Gear and Extra Clothing - Rain happens. So does cold. Be prepared for changing weather. Avoid cotton--it traps water against your skin and is slow to dry. If you are wearing wet cotton and must return to your starting point, you risk getting chills that may lead to a dangerous hypothermia. Choose synthetic shirts, sweaters and/or vests and dress in layers for easy on and off.
Compass - A simple compass is all you need to orient you and your map to magnetic north.
Light - A flashlight or small, lightweight headlamp will be welcome gear if you find yourself still on the trail when darkness falls. Check the batteries before you start out and have extras in your pack.
First Aid Kit - Keep it simple, compact, and weatherproof. Know how to use the basic components.
Firestarter and Matches - In an emergency, you may need to keep yourself or someone else warm until help arrives. A firestarter (this could be as simple as leftover birthday candles that are kept inside a waterproof container) and matches (again, make sure to keep them in a waterproof container) could save a life.
Knife or Multi-tool - You may need to cut a piece of moleskin to put over a blister, repair a piece of broken equipment, or solve some other unexpected problem.
Emergency Numbers - Know the emergency numbers for the area you're going to and realize that in many locations--especially mountainous ones, your phone will not get reception.
Common Sense - Pay attention to your environment, your energy, and the condition of your companions. Has the weather turned rainy? Is daylight fading? Did you drink all your water? Did your companion fail to bring rain gear? Are you getting tired? Keep in mind that until you turn around you are (typically) only half-way to completing your hike--you must still get back to where you started from! (Exceptions are loop hikes.)
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Know the rules and regulations of the area.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
- Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
- Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
- Repackage food to minimize waste.
- Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
- Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
- In popular areas:
- Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
- Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
- Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- In pristine areas:
- Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
- Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
- Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
- Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
- Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
- Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
- Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
- Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
- Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
- Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
- Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
- Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
- Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
- Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The Trail Conference is a 2015 Leave No Trace partner.
(c) Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org.