Baxter State Park – Long Pond Pines Family Adventure Aug 2014

Since our first attempt at back country camping with a three year old went so well we decided to do some more family adventuring. The first night was again spent at Lower Fowler Pond on the northern side of Baxter State Park. You can read the adventure report on our previous trip there for more details. This report picks up on the second day as we headed north to explore a part of the park that we hadn’t visited before.

IMG_3397aLess than a mile from our camp brought us to the Five Ponds Trail intersection. There were some muddy sections on this part of the trail with one small water crossing, but once we turned the corner most of our route was on top of a long esker. Created by glaciers an esker is a long deposit of sand and gravel and this one created High Pond by trapping water above it.  It made for an interesting walk with ponds visible on both sides at times.

IMG_3407aHigh Pond seemed shallow and was quite popular with the local duck population.  We watched several groups swimming about as we walked along the esker.  Eventually the trail dipped down to cross a mostly dry outflow that sends water through the ridge and into Long Pond.

IMG_3408aOne more good look at High Pond from the outflow.

IMG_3401aIf you’re visiting this area be warned that while intersections are well marked with big signs some of the camp sites are not. This is the side trail to the Long Pond Outlet site. That sign doesn’t exactly pop out at you even if you are looking for it.

IMG_3403aJust a bit of Long Pond peeking through the trees.

IMG_3412aThe sign for the Long Pond Pines camp site was more freshly painted, but still a bit hard to spot.

IMG_3415aThe fire pit inside a large pile of stones was only used to make a small marshmallow fire, but would be great for colder weather camping.

IMG_3464aThis site has a large open area under the pines perfect for our three person family tent.


IMG_3453aThe site has a great view of Long Pond and even a bit of Barrel Ridge in the distance.

IMG_3458aAfter a peaceful night listening to the water and a lone loon the girls were ready for some breakfast.


Morning started out looking a bit threatening

IMG_3422aIMG_3417aBut the clouds broke up enough to let a little late summer sun through.

IMG_3465aPerfect for a little more family adventuring…

We retraced our steps back to the car and met a father/daughter pair on the trail. The girl was 6 and they had been out hiking for a week already in a series of short trips exploring the park. Our 3 year old isn’t quite ready for mountains, but this girl had managed to do the Traveler Loop. We were impressed and their company made for a fun walk back to where we’d both parked.

This second trip confirmed that the Fowler Ponds area of Baxter is a great place to get the kids started. The terrain is relatively gentle and just a few miles gets you access to some great sites. We’ll definitely be headed back again next season!

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