Round Pond Trail & East Gilford Fire Road

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Trail Name: Round Pond Trail
Gilford, NH
Trail Description: Hal Graham and Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide. 3rd Edition. 2010. Compiled and Edited by Gene Daniell and Steven D. Smith. Appalachian Mountain Club Books. Boston MA.
Round Pond Trail – Description:
The Round Pond Trail (blazed red) is a multi-use trail of the Gunstock Mt. Resort trail system, running from the main ski area parking lot to Round Pond. In addition to providing access to Round Pond from the resort, it connects with the Overlook Trail, the East Gilford Trail, and Round Pond – Piper Link Trail, making possible a great variety of loop hikes from several trailheads. For the first 0.9 mi. it coincides with the Overlook Trail and is blazed in red and orange; thereafter it is blazed in red.

From the ski area parking lot, follow the access road back past the last of the maintenance buildings, then turn right on a gravel road leading across a small stone bridge. Here there are signs for the Round Pond and Overlook trails; this is also the Cobble Mountain X -C Trail (#5). In 35 yd. the road crosses another road that leads right to the maintenance buildings. Continue straight here and in another 30 yd. turn right onto the Maple Trail (#9), which in 2009 was a recently widened road. After 0.3 mi. the road bears right where the Short Cut Trail joins from the left, and in another 40 yd. it swings left where an alternate access route (the Connector Trail, #15) from the Cobble Mtn. Stables joins from the right.

The Round Pond Trail, still a widened road, climbs to the top of a rise where it passes through a stone wall, bears right uphill at a fork, and passes through another stone wall. The road then levels and descends slightly, and at 0.9 mi. the Oak Trail (#7), also the route of the orange-blazed Overlook Trail, diverges right. Continue ahead on the main road (sign for Round Pond Trail). In 40 yd. a woods road comes in from the right at a sharp angle. In another 10 yd. the Round Pond Trail (arrow), still coinciding with the Maple Trail (#9), diverges right off the main logging road onto an older woods road and descends. In 100 yd. a side path connecting with the Birch Path (#8) diverges left; the Round Pond Trail continues straight and descends into a meadow. It crosses along the right edge of the meadow and in 50 yd. turns right onto the southern end of the Oak Trail (#7). (To the left here is the Birch Path, #8.)

The Round Pond Trail follows the Oak Trail into the woods and across a bridge over a small brook, then 30 yd. from the bridge as the Oak Trail continues to the right on a woods road. The trail continues straight avoiding the foot path to the left that takes you to a private residence and switchbacks uphill, crosses a stone wall, a small brook, a larger brook at 1.4 mi., and another small brook. After a short rise an old woods road enters from the left; here the trail bears right (sign) along the woods road, runs level and then uphill across a skid road, then turns left off the end of the woods road just as it reaches the edge of a swamp. It climbs rather steeply for a short distance, then levels off and reaches the East Gilford Trail at 1.8 mi. Here it turns right and coincides with the East Gilford Trail for 0.2 , then leaves it on the left (sign) and runs with minor ups and downs to ( the jct. with the Fire Road  where it turns left onto the fire road.  It then continues to a brook crossing spanned by a bridge at 2.3 mi., 20 yds. after crossing the brook a woods road (the East Gilford Fire Road) enters on the left.

At this junction the Round Pond Trail turns sharp right on another woods road and climbs moderately. (By turning left on the East Gilford Fire Road, one can descend to the Wood Rd. parking area in 0.6 mi.). At 3.0 mi., just before the Round Pond Trail reaches the height-of-land, the green-blazed Round Pond-Piper Link Trail (part of the Belknap Range Trail) enters on the right. The two trails coincide from here, descending moderately for 250 yds. to a beautiful secluded spot on the shore of Round Pond.

Distances from Gunstock Mountain Resort parking lot (930 ft.):

  • to northern junction with Oak Trail #7 (1,100 ft.): 0.9 mi. (1.4 km), 200 ft., 35 min.,
  • to the first junction with East Gilford Trail (1,200 ft.): 1.8 mi. (2.9 km.), 400 ft.,1 hr. 5 mm.
  • to Round Pond- Piper Link (Belknap Range Trail) (1,710 ft.): 3.0 mi. (4.8 km), 1000 ft. (rev. 100 ft.) , 2 hr.
  • to Round Pond (1652 ft.): 3.2 mi. (5.1 km.), 1000 ft. (rev. 50 ft.), 2 hr. 5 min.

Trail Name: East Gilford Fire Road (aka Fire Road)
Gilford, NH.
Trail Description: Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide. 3rd Edition. 2010. Compiled and Edited by Gene Daniell and Steven D. Smith. Appalachian Mountain Club Books. Boston MA. ________________________________________________________________________________________________
Fire Road: Description
With the closure of the Round Pond Woods Road and Grant Rd. access, an alternate and slightly longer route to Round Pond and access to the central section of the Belknap Range is available from a new trailhead parking area for the East Gilford Trail. From NH 11A, 1. 7 mi. south of Gunstock Mountain Resort and 2.7 mi. west of NH 11, turn west onto Bickford Rd. In 0.2 mi. turn left on Wood Road, and in another 0.1 mi., just before reaching a house, bear left on a narrow, gravel road (sign). Follow this road for 0.1 mi. to a parking area in an old gravel pit. (This area is sometimes used for logging operations and is closed to vehicles after 6 P.M.)

NOTE: The parking Area is not plowed in winter and parking is VERY Limited on Bickford Road. Therefore, car pooling is highly recommended. There is NO PARKING on Wood Road especially in the driveway leading to the house at the end of the road.

The Fire Road (to be blazed purple in 2014) continues along the road on foot past a gate, descending slightly. At 0.1 mi. from the parking area follow the road left across a bridge as the East Gilford Trail (blazed yellow) (sign) diverges to the right. Ascend moderately and bear left at another fork at 0.2 mi. The road (designated as “Fire Rd.” on the unofficial Belknap Range trail map) continues to climb, then the grade eases. At 0.7 mi., just after crossing the Belknap Mountain State Forest boundary (and just before the road crosses a brook), the East Gilford Fire Road meets the red-blazed Round Pond Trail. To reach Round Pond, turn left here and follow the red-blazed Round Pond Trail 0.7 mi. to the Round Pond- Piper Link Trail (blazed green) which is part of the Belknap Range Trail. From that jct., the combined trails descend to the northwest shore of the pond in 0.1 mi. Round Pond-Piper Link then leads around the north end of the pond to the jct. with Mount Klem-Mount Mack Loop on the east shore in another 0.4 mi.

Distances from parking area off Wood Rd. (1,110 ft.):

    • Round Pond Trail (1,330 ft.): 0.7 mi. (1.0 km), 200 ft., 25 min.
    • Round Pond-Piper Link via Round Pond Trail (1,710 ft.): 1.4 mi. (2.3), 600 ft., 1 hr.
    • Mount Klem-Mount Mack Loop (1,652 ft.) via Round Pond-Piper Link: 1.9  mi. (3.0 km), 600 ft. (rev. 50 ft.), 1 hr.  15 min.