Gentian Ponds and Dream Lake

Trail Overview

The trail ascends along Austin Brook to Gentian Pond and Dream Lake, taking in Dryad Fall on the way down.
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Trail Activity
Hiking Snowshoeing
9.30 miles, Round Trip
Shelburne (NH), Success (NH)
Packed Earth/Dirt, Boardwalk/Bog Bridging, Road, Unpaved
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The Austin Brook Trail ascends at easy and moderate grades along the west side of Austin Brook. It travels primarily on woods roads, passing a clearing offering some views of the ridges to the west about halfway to the junction with the Dryad Fall Trail. At this junction, 2.5 miles from the trailhead, the Austin Brook Trail bears right and ascends more steeply at times before reaching a plateau. At 3.1 miles the trail reaches an open area of beaver activity, with views of the surrounding ridges. Bog bridges traverse this stretch, but the trail occasionally becomes flooded. From here there is a steep climb to the Gentian Pond Shelter. A path leads to the shore of Gentian Pond itself, offering a view of the cliffs of Bald Cap Mountain. 

At the north end of the Austin Brook Trail, at the junction with the Mahoosuc/Appalachian Trail, heading left (west) on the Mahoosuc Trail allows for a loop hike. The 2 miles on the Mahoosuc Trail from Gentian Pond to Dream Lake include an open bog which is traversed on wooden walkways.

At Dream Lake, a 0.1 mile section of the Peabody Brook Trail can be utilized to reach the Dryad Fall Trail. Dryad Fall, 1 mile down the trail from the Mahoosuc Trail, is one of the highest cascades in the mountains with over 300 feet of steep ledges. A spur trail descends to ledges near the top of the falls, with a nice view to the southeast. Please use caution: rocks in the vicinity of the falls are slippery and hazardous. 

From the falls it is 0.4 miles on an old woods road back to the junction with the Austin Brook Trail. Looping around the Mahoosuc Trail and the Dryad Fall Trail, then backtracking the bottom portion of the Austin Brook Trail, makes for a total hiking distance of 9.3 miles.

Other Information

Before you hike, know the hiker responsibility code and be prepared:

  • With knowledge and gear
  • To leave your plans
  • To stay together
  • To turn back
  • For emergencies
  • To share the hiker code with others.

Visit the hikeSafe website to learn more!

Trail Manager

These trails are managed by the White Mountains National Forest and maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club. For more information about the trails, please contact:

Appalachian Mountain Club

Appalachian Mountain Club
P.O. Box 298
361 Route 16
Phone: 603-466-2721
View website

White Mountain National Forest: Androscoggin Ranger District

White Mountain National Forest: Androscoggin Ranger District
300 Glen Road
Phone: (603) 466-2713 x 0
View website
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Trailhead Information

From US-2 in Shelburne, head east on Meadow Road, over the Androscoggin River. Go 0.9 miles then turn left on North Road. The Austin Brook trailhead is 0.8 miles down North Road on the right (north) side of the road. There is space to park on the south side of the road.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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