Northern Pond Natural Area
From the center of Monroe Village, drive east along Route 139 about a quarter mile to the Monroe Road; turn left and drive 1.2 miles to the Dahlia Farm Road; turn left and drive 1.3 miles to the NPNA. Look for the signpost on the left, posted at the edge of the "outer" parking area with room for 4 to 6 vehicles. Though not plowed during the winter, a narrow but otherwise driveable access road enters the NPNA here and leads to the "inner" parking area with room for 2-4 vehicles. This access continues about 0.1 miles to the canoe launch, but a high clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
Old Tote Road Trail (0.7 miles): This easy trail begins at the "Inner" Parking Area and is the best access to the pond. It passes through mixed forest and crosses wetlands via narrow bog walkways. Along Thurlow Brook it skirts the base of a mature hemlock forest before reaching the ledges on the pond with swimming opportunities. Overnight camping here is not prohibited, but we strongly urge campers to Carry In, Carry Out! Privies are not available. Continuing southwards, the trail passes an area dominated by house-sized boulders draped with ferns. The young at heart love to scamper amongst these boulders. It ends at an irregularly flooded marsh used frequently by waterfowl.
Hemlock Ridge Trail (0.3 miles): This moderately strenuous trail connects the end and middle of the Old Tote Road Trail to form a loop. It ascends to the highest elevation of the area. The ascent and descent are moderately steep and rugged. A beautiful, mature hemlock forest exists on the north slope below the trail.
Thurlow Brook Loop Trail (0.9 miles): This easy trail, which begins at the end of the Old Tote Road Trail, crosses the small stream draining the marsh via stepping stones. A quick right turn will lead you through mixed forest to the top of a steep bank with lovely views of the Northern Pond. The trail then continues to the west, with views of Thurlow Brook. It passes the Beaver Dam Spur junction and continues through mostly mixed forest, soon grading to a mature stand of hemlocks and northern white cedars before it arrives at the western boundary. A power line abuts the NPNA at this point. The trail loops back towards its beginning, passing a vernal pool and other wetlands.
Beaver Dam Spur (0.2 miles): This short, easy trail leads to an approximately 2-acre meadow dominated by sedges good botanizing opportunities, then Thurlow Brook and a large beaver dam - good places to look for birds and other wildlife.
The bogwalk nearest the inner parking area is sometimes un-usable due to flooding caused by beaver activity. When this occurs, an alternative bypass trail, located 1,500 feet southeast of the outer parking area, is the recommended point of entry to the trail network. Signs at trailheads provide guidance, when needed.
Canoes and kayaks can be put in at a primitive launch site beyond a small parking area.
These trails are not recommended for non-expert cross-country skiers due to their narrow width and occasional steepness. While not officially prohibited, snowmobiling and ATVs are discouraged. Hunting, fishing, and trapping are allowed.
Visit Landmark Heritage Trust online for more information or contact:
Landmark Heritage Trust
Red Barn Road
Monroe, ME 04951
Phone: (207) 525-4414
Check for nearby geocaches to Northern Pond Natural Area.
Leave No Trace Principle
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Avoid hypothermia, even in warm weather, by limiting your sweat and exposure to cold water. Bring warm and dry clothes in case the shivers set in.