Of the many hikes in the area, this one is very good for familes and it shows that I am not the only one who knows this. Sadly the... more » short hike and proximity of Sterling Pond has made it a target for abuse and overuse. (One mile from the Smugglers' Notch Road parking lot) That said, it does not mean that one shouldn't make the trip. During the week or early in the morning, this pond is beyond idyllic featuring subalpine plants, wildlife and quiet water.
Starting off directly across from the info station at the parking lot, the first quarter mile is saturated with carefully built stone steps, which belie the high traffic of this blue blazed mile. Much of the first three quarters of a mile is lined with deciduous forest, trickling water and everything else you would expect in a wild area. I did the hike in hiking sandals (Chacos), but those unaccustomed to rocky and uneven surfaces may be interested in something with a bit of ankle support.
The climb itself is not completely constant like the Hell Brook trail or the Long Trail up Mansfield, climbing comes in bursts and flats are thrown in often. It's a good starter hike. Once you reach the Long Trail, turn left and within a tenth of a mile, you will approach the pond area. Note though that this area has a very limited growing season and despite what many folks may do, due to inadequate signage, one should not approach the pond or walk in the grass; stay on the trail and the rocks to protect this landmark for years and generations to come. less «