Mount Cabot - Unknown Pond Loop Trail

Berlin, New Hampshire 3570

Mount Cabot - Unknown Pond Loop Trail

Mount Cabot - Unknown Pond Loop Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"The Mount Cabot-Unknown Pond Loop is actually three possible hikes in one. Besides the entire loop, Mount Cabot and Unknown Pond are both excellent out-and-back hikes in their own right. For peak-baggers, the former is the northernmost 4000-footer in New Hampshire. For water-lovers, the latter is a scenic remote tarn. When hiked as a loop, there are another two peaks in between The Bulge and The Horn-north of Mount Cabot along the Kilkenny Ridge.

The Bulge (elevation 3920 feet) is a wooded nondescript hump, but The Horn (elevation 3905 feet) is a desirable destination and a viable alternative to Mount Cabot for those who want similar mileage, about 350 feet less vertical, and both a rocky summit and a pond in one hike, neither of which Cabot offers. Do the loop to experience it all."

Mount Cabot - Unknown Pond Loop Trail Trip Reports

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Did this trip as an escape from the heat in southern NH. Worked great. We started off hiking up Unknown Pond trail a nice spot with beautiful scenery surrounding us. The dog had a blast trail blazing for us. The trail was unblazed and unmaintained (for the most part) so it became more of a trek through a game trail. The trails are still muddy with a couple stream crossings that you must get creative for. Unknown Pond is beautiful!!! Enjoyed sitting on the banks of it eating lunch. We decided last minute to change our return trip and we took a right onto Kilkenny Ridge Trail to Mill Brook Trail, which would drop us right at our car. -- If I were to do this hike again I would plan on at least 2 days out.
For the dog it was a GREAT time she had more fun running ahead and testing out all the bridges. I'll try to post a picture of what happened on one of them... let's just say she was chest deep in muck.
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All hikes are rewarding, so it is with minor trepidation that I offer a rating of 3 stars. But, we did not use, but instead planned this trip off of a White Mountain Guide book that was a little misleading. The write up has it pretty much dead to rights. The first part of the hike is a great walk in the woods. Very scenic, but also undulating with the trail going up and down in repetitive fashion. The trail guide we used stated that the whole hike was 7.2 miles so based upon that we were a little bummed to find that we were tempting daylight and the elements from having planned the trip with slightly bad data. The trip is really 9.6 miles and so we ended up needing to hike the last mile in the dark.

Nonetheless, the first 2 miles is spent wondering through rolling hills and clear cut forest winding along the river and crossing it and various tributaries often. Then the trail veers up the side of Mount Cabot a few hundred feet in elevation and then goes back down to join the river. A little while later it does this again and then finally at around 2.1 miles it makes an ascent away from the river and up to the notch between Mount Cabot and another Mountain unnamed on our map to the northwest. After joining the Kilkenney ridge trail the path to the summit descends for a while and then makes a turn up hill and keeps ascending through five or six switch backs to the summit and the cabin.

The cabin is very handy and looks to sleep eight folks at max. There is a spring about a third of a mile from the cabin over the summit. So water is accessible pretty near year round.

All said and done, a day in the Whites is always a blessing and the York Pond / Mount Cabot trails is all of that. Happy Hiking. Duncan and Angus
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We did the Mount Cabot via the York Pond Trail and back - not the loop via the Lost Pond Trail. We had planned to do the loop, but the trail blazing was very poor and in bad weather it was just too much to take on.

Mount Cabot itself is very uninteresting - had it been 3,999 feet, I dont think it would get any visitors - In hindsight, I am very disappointed that we missed the Horn and its views since this part of NH is very isolated and wild.
The first mile is fine, but the next 2 miles are along the side (right bank) of a gently sloping trail which in deep snow is very hard - more so on the return. After that you intersect the Kilkenny trail and head straight up to Mt Cabot, which is a fine steady slog uphill. The top is in a small forest, where the only indication you are at the top is a small sign that says Mount Cabot 4,180 feet. Down is very quick until you hit the 2 mile trail that makes you want to lie down against the side and wait till spring. Needless to say, I did not do that, but was very glad to see my car after a 9.5 mile roundtrip that took 6 hours. The drive along York Pond Road was pretty tough too - a sheet of ice for the whole 5 miles or so.

Overall, I enjoyed the challenge, but would have preferred to do the loop. Unfortunately the trail blazing is very poor - saving paint? - more of a problem in the winter than the summer I imagine. Good luck!
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nice trail to the cabin . took kilkinney ridge from unknown pond. cabin was nice, though there were no kitchen utensils (we left out some cooking stuff in favor of lighter packs). it can be extremely windy up there , eh? wow , we stayed overnight in a decent storm. cabin is airtight and comfortable. we saw a moose walk right by the window then watched a rabbit jump into the firepit and grab a piece of bread. lots of birds, including a canadian blue jay -known to be people friendly= it ate out of my friends hand( after he stood there for 15 minutes) all in all a nice trail and cabin. thanks to the scouts for keeping it up. Amatao.

Mount Cabot - Unknown Pond Loop Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
3,000 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
1 to 3 days
Best spring through fall
White Mountain National Forest - Androscoggin District
Local Contacts
USGS Stark, West Milan, Pliny Range
Local Maps

Trail Log