New Hampshire’s Presidential Rail Trail: Hiking Through the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge

I took a day by myself to tackle the geocaches on this section of the Presidential Rail Trail. This isn’t quite the end of the trail in Whitefield, but it’s getting close to it. The geocaches on this stretch seemed to indicate smaller containers, so I didn’t think bringing the kids would be a good idea, plus I needed a day to myself.

The Presidential Rail Trail stretches 18 miles along an old railroad bed from Gorham, NH to Whitefield, NH. Some stretches are nicer than others. This section was an absolute joy to be on. It stretches west from Route 115A to Cherry Pond. This took me through the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge. I never knew that existed before yesterday. There are 16 geocaches along this section of the trail, and I found all but one of them. They were good-sized containers for the most part, with some swag in them, which I wasn’t expecting. The kids probably would have enjoyed it. Oh well.

The trail bed here is pretty solid, with some grass in the bed. This made for nice walking. I walked a total of 7 miles today. The trail is also used for bicycling, horseback riding, and in some sections ATVs. I didn’t see any ATVs here. I think they are more on the eastern part of the trail. In the winter, snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, and snowshoers use the trail.

I came across several groups of bicyclists on the trail. Most were on mountain bicycles or fat-tire bicycles. I would think those would be best for this trail, although most of it isn’t very loose. There were a couple of people on regular street bicycles who seemed to be doing okay.

The area is prime for wildlife viewing. I was hoping to see some while I was out, but all I saw were geese. Plenty of signs of beaver along the way. They’d constructed a few dams and I saw at least 3 of their homes. I am sure moose and deer frequent the area, I just wasn’t lucky enough to see one.

There was a bench in one spot to sit on about two miles from where I started. I sat there for quite a while after my initial walk. There was a light breeze so the bugs weren’t around. On the way back, the breeze had died and this particular spot was loaded with black flies, or May flies as we call them. My bug spray had died off by then and I hadn’t brought the can with me (my mistake) so I really suffered until I was out of that particular stretch of trail.

You can find information about who Tudor Richards was here: It’s quite interesting.

This spot is on the south side of Cherry Pond and there’s a viewing platform there, with benches to sit and view the wildlife.

I sat here for a while, enjoying the view. I imagine in the other seasons it’s even more beautiful, particularly the fall. Just keep in mind hunting season on the trail. Although Cherry Pond is a no hunting zone, I found out that the rest of the area is. I thought a Wildlife Refuge meant there was no hunting in the area, but I learned something new from a friend.

This was one of my favorite walks. I’ll be back to pick up the trail to Cherry Pond from the Whitefield end near the Mt. Washington Regional Airport. It’s a very nice trail and location. It’s quiet, not too popular, and beautiful. There’s about a dozen geocaches on the trail coming from that direction. After that I think it will take me two trips to find the caches in the middle section and I will have actually finished geocaching on this trail.

Leave a Reply