Posted on January 9, 2023 and last updated on January 12, 2023

Carlton Pond Trails, Readfield


  • Preserve Size: Not sure
  • Trail Mileage: ~3-mile loop
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
  • Sights: mature forest, Carlton Pond

A footpath follows the shoreline of Carlton Pond for almost two-thirds its length, allowing hikers the chance to spend time on this quiet, undeveloped pond. While the first part of the path brings you through bright, mostly deciduous forest, the second half gets darker and — if the sun is out — more dramatic as the light breaks up through a forest of tall white pines and hemlock.

From the large parking lot and trailhead on Route 17, the path begins on a logging road/snowmobile trail. About 0.2 miles, you’ll see a sign for Pond Trail on your right. The trail is marked with bright yellow blazes. While it can be rough and wet at times, it is easy to follow and mostly flat and brings you close to the water’s edge. The Pond Trail is approximately 1.5 miles to its end, according to my GPS. About halfway, you can cut your walk short by taking the steep cut-off trail up to the upper logging road. (This can be easy to miss, though!)

At the end of the Pond Trail, you can retrace your steps along the pond (recommended) or walk back along the upper road, which can be rutted and uneven in places and, I presume, muddy at times. Because it’s so high up, you can see the pond through the trees. If you do the whole loop, it is about 3 miles. I didn’t see a great spot to swim, but I was also there in the midst of winter.

Directions: The trailhead kiosk and good-sized parking area are easily visible from Route 17. The lot is about three hundred feet south of the intersection with Gorden Road and about one mile south of the intersection with Route 135. If you’re coming from the south or the Augusta area, the trailhead is about 3 miles north of the intersection of Routes 202 and 17 in Manchester.

Let me know if you have any trail updates or corrections!