QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 996 acres
- Trail Mileage: Several miles
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy to moderate
- Sights: Spectacle Pond, Tolman Pond, beaver ponds
Spectacle Pond is a quiet, undeveloped pond with several good swimming spots. Access is from either the east or west, from Cross Hill Road or Church Hill Road. From Church Hill Road, on the west side, you can drive to the pond if you have a high-clearance vehicle.
From Cross Hill Road, you can hike 0.7 miles to the edge of the pond, where there is a small clearing with a fire pit. It’s possible to swim. Or you can keep going another 0.3 miles to or so to where the path has been flooded, seemingly permanently, so you can’t cross over to the other side unless you are willing to swim.
If you’re starting from Cross Hill Road, you’ll begin on a marked snowmobile track. In about 200 or so feet, you’ll see a footpath on your left that you can follow for the most direct access to the pond. A snowmobile track will continue on straight, past a huge, old tree, and eventually swoop around to form a 1.6-mile loop. The paths are unmarked but easy to follow, although they do include some steep sections down to the pond.
On the other side of Spectacle Pond, coming from Church Hill Road, you can drive all the way to the pond on a dirt road that is most appropriate for high-clearance vehicles. I’ve marked this in brown on my map. If you make it to the pond, you can park in front of the gate at a clearing big enough for several cars. As for walking trails, you can walk north a short distance, 1,200 feet or so, to reach really impressive beaver ponds. Then the trail appears to pass onto private property.
From the gate, you could also walk south, following the pond edge, on a rough track to meet the ITS-85 snowmobile trail. At the junction with the ITS, in about 0.6 mile, take a right (the path becomes easier and is better maintained), which will bring you back to the access road. This loop is about three miles.
Additionally, farther south on Cross Hill Road, you’ll find a small grassy pullover, big enough for two or so cars, and marked with a big sign for the Alonzo H. Garcelon Wildlife Management Area. Slip past the boulders to follow an unmarked but distinct and easy trail to a junction at 0.2 miles. Go left to reach the shores of Tolman Pond, where you can swim. If you go right, the path appears to peter out at the edge of a marshy area. Explore more if you wish! We ran out of time.
Directions: Cross Hill Road. You’ll see two a small place to pull over a car and some snowmobile signs at the trailhead on Cross Hill Road. It’ll be on your left if you’re going north, 300 feet after the intersection with Ingraham Mountain Road. From the intersection of Hannaford Hill Road and Cross Hill Road, it’s 0.8 mile south on Cross Hill Rd. A bit farther north of the trailhead is another parking place for one car and another trailhead. Church Hill Road: The access drive is marked with a big sign for the wildlife management area, about 1.1 miles north of the intersection with Stevens Road and Church Hill Road. If you’re going to drive the 1.5 miles to the pond, take care. While the road is in good condition for a dirt road, it has potholes, largish rocks in places, and is narrow. But there are lots of places to pull over and let other vehicles by.