Explorer | 20 pts
The Ethan Pond trail is a difficult 3 mile hike off the US Route 302 located in Crawford Notch in the White Mountains of NH. It is actually part of the Appalachian Trail in Franconia Ridge. The entrance to the trail is about 2 miles North on US Route 302 from the Harts Location General Store or less than a mile South of the Willey Homestead Site. There is plenty of parking either at the base of the trail or on a short paved road that leads to Route 302. The site is well marked and well maintained. My fellow hikers and I started hiking the trail at about 10:00 a.m. and about a half mile in chose to check out Ripley falls. To do this we took a round trip of just under a mile and a half hour of moderate medium pace climbing. There were a few hikers on the trail and a few more sitting enjoying the falls. Once we returned to the Ethan Pond trail we started the most challenging part of the climb, ascending about 1500 feet in 2 miles. On this stretch of trail we passed trails to the Kendron Flume Trail and The Willey House trail. After this stretch we settled in for the next mile on a relatively flat terrain until reaching Ethan Pond. Traffic on a Saturday was fairly light, we passed probably eight people during this stretch. Ethan Pond has a beautiful view where the trail enters. Here we stopped, had a friendly hiker take our photo and settled in for a little lunch. Up from the pond about an eighth of a mile is tent camping and an AMC shelter and outhouse. We did not partake in these items but did read some of the stories left behind by fellow hikers. At this point it started to rain a little so we hustled back to the car. Overall this hike was quite enjoyable and took us about 3 hours. Challenging, but not extreme, lacking the sensation of summitting, but a hike that contained some choice sites. I recommend it highly for a day hike.