Fairly easy ascent to Bacon Ledge along an old abandoned (100 years ago) road. Discover old homestead of early settlers (cellar holes-stone walled paddocks, etc) where the road splits and turns to "trail." The trail most travelled goes on to the base of Bacon Ledge, which is a moderate hand-over-hand climb of about 100 feet to the out-cropping known as "Bacon Ledge." There is a nearly 360 degree vista - south to Monadnock - west to the Green Mountains of Vermont, and all the way north to the Presidentials on a clear day. This is an ideal place to stop for lunch and relax.
Onward - the trail descends down through the spruce-laden ridge toward Trout Pond. This is an easy meander with no elevation gain and lots of wildlife signs or sightings. In winter look for plentiful moose, fox/coyote, bobcat and other mammals tracks and scats.
You will come out of the woods just about a mile from Bacon Ledge, into a spectacular vista above Trout Pond and the hills that surround it. Here, almost in the middle of this 4,000+ acres reservation you will hear no distant traffic, and will not likely meet more than a few hikers. Rest or picnic above Trout Pond, or visit the shore and take a swim in the pristine water. The walk out is along an old wooded road. It is about 2.5 miles of relatively easy terrain with solid footing through dense hardwoods and open wetlands. It is a great path to step-out and stretch your legs at the end of this half-day hike in the wilds of Stoddard.
Best way to approach this loop-trail is to stage an auto at one end (Shedd Hill Road Trailhead) and start from the Bacon Ledge trail-head (Old Antrim Road trailhead).
Take Route 31 north off of Route 9 in Stoddard. When you enter the village, you'll see the Stoddard Fire Station on your right. Take the road just past the station house and cross over the wooden bridge. The road forks after the bridge: left is up Shedd Hill road and right is on to Old Antirm Road.
Trailhead off Old Antrim Road is up the road about 1 mile - look for green Forest Society pipe-gate on the left - and find some parking up from there, up about 50 yards.
Trailhead off Shedd Hill Road is about a mile up, and when you get to the height-of-land on Shedd Hill Road, look for the Forest Society sign for the Pierce Reservation on the right - there is also a green pipe-gate there.
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