Folly Pond in the York Watershed, York
Map above shows Folly Pond loop in blue; Mt. Agamenticus trails in red; and Highland Farm/Smelt Brook Preserve in yellow. These trails are all connected, mostly via multi-use tracks. I’m slowly working on making a complete map. All Trails has a good map of this area.
The protected land of the York and Kittery watersheds is a wonderful place to explore, and is connected to large tracts of abutting public lands, like Mt. Agamenticus Conservation Region to the north, and Highland Farm and McIntire Highlands Preserve to the south.
While most of the trails in the district are wide tracks more suitable for ATVs — and mountain bikers — than hikers, there are a few footpaths. A very pretty one is the 3.5-mile loop around Folly Pond; it is half footpath and half wide track. The views are great and while the pond might tempt you, don’t jump in for a dip! It’s prohibited and the area is regularly patrolled.
You can access the Folly Pond loop several ways. I parked at the gate on Mountain Road and walked the .7 miles in on the access road. You can also get to the pond loop from Mill Lane, Cider Hill Road, or Scituate Road, among other entrances, most likely. (See the York Watershed District map.)
If you walk the Folly Pond loop counter-clockwise, starting from the northern end, you’ll begin on the Yellow Trail for four-wheelers. It’s easy to find; all the ATV trails are well marked. The footpaths here, however, are not blazed. At about .9 or so miles along on the Yellow Trail, you will come to a side path that heads in toward the pond. Don’t skip this! It leads out to a pretty bluff with views over the pond. When you are ready to return, you’ll see a little, steep path leading back down to the main track.
A bit farther along the Yellow Trail, at the far end of the pond, a side trail again heads off to the left. The Yellow Trail continues straight. This is a good shortcut to take — it’s not blazed but is easy to follow. It’ll connect back to the main path after about .4 miles. A little farther on from this point, you’ll reach lower Folly Pond and the dam. Cross the brook below the dam to find the footpath. The footpath is not marked but is well used and easy to follow. The friendly York police officer who patrols the watershed told me that there is another footpath that splits off to the right close to the dam that circles Middle Pond (also called Lower Folly Pond). I’ll return one day to check this out.
All the ATV tracks throughout this water district area are blazed. You can pick up a map of these at the Mountain Road trailhead or download one from the York Water District website. The protected town watershed area also connects to the Highland Farm Preserve and McIntire Highlands Preserve, and is across the street from the Mount Agamenticus trail system, so there’s lots of walking to be done! Alltrails has a great map of the network of the tracks and trails around here.
Directions: The Mountain Road access road is across the street from the Center for Wildlife, at 385 Mountain Road. Park outside the gate and make sure you don’t block it. You can pick up maps here. You can also enter via Mill Lane, Cider Hill Road, and Scituate Road.