By hiking the Ducktail and Partridge Pond Trails and a section of road between the two trail's trailheads, hikers can explore both ponds via a 3.3 mile loop route. This description begins at the Ducktail Pond trailhead.
The Ducktail Pond Trail travels steeply at times uphill from the road. The narrow and at times quite rocky footpath loosely parallels Ducktail Brook up to the pond, which is reached in a little under half a mile. At the pond's outlet, look for a place to ford the small outlet stream to continue on the trail as it swings along the southeast edge of the pond. Shortly after crossing the outlet, the trail passes by a primitive campsite.
Roughly 0.3 miles past the outlet of Ducktail Pond, the trail connects to the Partridge Pond trails. This link from Ducktail Pond and much of the other trail segments near Partridge Pond are generally wider than the Ducktail Pond segment. Here, the trail passes over a diverse forest floor, including granite outcroppings, and lower, wetter areas. The Partridge Pond Trails also show signs of past ATV use, prior to the Bureau of Parks and Lands owning the property.
At the intersection 0.3 miles from Ducktail Pond's outlet, turn right to head west/northwest towards Partridge Pond. Turn left to head towards the road and the Partridge Pond trailhead. Heading towards Partridge Pond, It is another 0.3 miles to reach second junction. Bear right to reach the southeast shore of the pond and a primitive campsite reached by crossing a small outlet near an attractive ledge shelf that the stream plunges over. Continue past the campsite a short ways to reach a granite ledge beach worth a visit.
To return to the main trail loop, retrace your steps back to the first T intersection described above. Continue heading straight (southeast) to reach the Partridge Pond trailhead. It is roughly 0.8 miles to reach the road. On the way, the trail passes through a section of forest harvested not long before the property was purchased. Skidder ruts, regenerating trees, and other signs of harvesting are readily apparent.
It is approximately a 0.7 miles walk along the road from Partridge Pond trailhead to Ducktail Pond trailhead, thus completing a loop including both ponds. Visitors may also choose to visit a small day-use area with picnic tables along Indian Camp Stream; it is roughly 0.2 miles one-way from the parking area at the Ducktail Pond trailhead to the day-use area on the stream. Look for the access trail at the rear of the parking area.
There are primitive campsites at each pond, with an outhouse at Ducktail Pond and a small box style privy ("wet willie") at Partridge. If camping, camp responsibly (see Leave No Trace principles for more information on appropriate techniques).
On June 18, 2009 the Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands purchased the 4,974 acre Amherst Mountains Community Forest parcel with funding from the federal Forest Legacy Program and the Land for Maine’s Future Program. The property is to be managed through a unique state-municipal-private partnership. The Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands owns the property but it will be managed jointly with the Town of Amherst, which will receive assistance from the Forest Society of Maine.
This trail passes through a property that was acquired in part with funds from the Land for Maine’s Future program. For more information about the LMF program and the places it has helped to protect, please visit the LMF webpage.
This trail was made possible in part with funds from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund (MOHF). For more information about MOHF and the wildlife and conservation projects it has contributed to, please visit the MOHF webpage.
The Amherst Mountains Community Forest property is accessed via ME Route 9 ("the Airline") in the Town of Amherst. Look for a blue yard-arm sign indicating the access road for the property, which is on the north side of the road. Shortly after turning onto the gravel access road listed on Google Earth and DeLorme atlases as the Ducktail Pond Road, there is a set of signs with distances to recreation sites listed. There are two trailheads for this trail; this description starts at the Ducktail Pond trailhead (second trailhead) further north on the road, reached at approximately 2 miles from ME Route 9. Parking is available in a lot on the right-hand side of the road. The parking area provides access to the Ducktail Pond Trail as well as the Indian Stream Day Use Area reached via a short trail from the back of the parking lot.
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