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Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge - Mud Pond Trail

The Mud Pond Trail at Pondicherry NWR is wheelchair-accessible and leads to an observation platform on the shore of Mud Pond.
Trail Activity
Accessible Experience Walking Hiking Snowshoeing
1.10 miles, Round Trip
Jefferson (NH)
Packed Earth/Dirt, Boardwalk/Bog Bridging, Gravel/Crushed Stone/Cinder
Permitted on leash


Just over half a mile in length, the Mud Pond Trail (designated a National Recreation Trail in 2013) is suitable for those in wheelchairs and others with mobility challenges, and leads to an observation platform on the shore of Mud Pond. Leaving the parking lot, the trail follows a gravel path and passes the junction with the Mooseway, a winter-only trail, in 0.2 miles. Soon the trail begins to switchback gently down a slope and reaches a 950-foot long, approximately 3.5 foot wide boardwalk. Follow the boardwalk through a lovely black spruce/northern white cedar swamp out to the 8 x 12 foot observation platform that overlooks Mud Pond. Please stay on the boardwalk and use care if the boardwalk is wet. Dogs must be on a leash on this trail.

Other Information

Refuge History

Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge was created in 1963 when New Hampshire Audubon and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department acquired 312 acres of land around Cherry and Little Cherry Ponds from the Brown Paper Company. Much of the credit for this acquisition goes to Tudor Richards, a longtime member and leader of New Hampshire Audubon. Inspired by Horace Wright’s The Birds of the Jefferson Region in the White Mountains, Richards made many birding trips to Cherry and Little Cherry Ponds, beginning in the late 1940s, and developed a deep love for the area. His vision and determination were instrumental in the creation of the refuge, which he called “Pondicherry”, a name found on early maps of the region.

In 2000, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service acquired 670 acres of land adjacent to the Audubon tract and, partnering with New Hampshire Audubon and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, established the Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge. Using money from the Federal Duck Stamp Program, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service continued to acquire additional tracts of land, so that the refuge now covers nearly 6500 acres.

(From the Friends of Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge website)

Wildlife at Pondicherry

Pondicherry has a wide variety of wildlife, including birds, moose, bears, beavers, snowshoe hares, turtles, butterflies, and dragonflies.  Refuge checklists have been compiled for Birds, Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians, Fish, Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies), and Butterflies. These checklists, as well as more information about Pondicherry’s wildlife, can be found on the Birding and Wildlife pages on the Friends of Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge website.

Trail Manager

The US Fish and Wildlife Service, NH Audubon, NH Fish and Game Department, and the NH Trails Bureau manage Pondicherry as a conservation partnership. A volunteer organization called the Friends of Pondicherry helps maintain the trails and wildlife habitat and sponsors periodic field and work trips on the refuge. For more information, visit the Friends of Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge website.

NH Bureau of Trails

NH Bureau of Trails
172 Pembroke Road
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: (603) 271-3254
View website

NH Fish & Game Department

NH Fish & Game Department
Jim Oehler -
11 Hazen Dr Concord
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: (603) 271-3421
View website

US Fish & Wildlife Service - Silvio O. Conte NWR

US Fish & Wildlife Service - Silvio O. Conte NWR
Refuge Manager
5396 Route 105
Brunswick, VT 05905
Phone: (802) 962-5240 x 112
View website

NH Audubon

NH Audubon
84 Silk Farm Rd.
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: (603) 224-9909
View website

Trail Tips

Dispose of Waste Properly
Keep the Twin States (Vermont & New Hampshire) green and clean! Pick up trash, even if it's not yours. Leave soon-to-be trash like excess packaging, stickers, and twist ties at home.
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Trailhead Information

The Mud Pond Trail is located off NH-116 in Jefferson, about 3 miles from US-2 in Jefferson or 6 miles from US-3 in Whitefield. Driving down NH-116 from Jefferson, look for a Silvio O. Conte sign on the left (coming from Whitefield, the sign will be on your right). Turn onto the gravel access road and drive a short distance to the parking lot. The Mud Pond Trail begins just beyond the kiosk. This parking lot is plowed in the winter, making it a good approach to the refuge in the winter months.

There is no ADA-designated parking; however, the level, hard-packed parking lot is suitable for most users with wheelchairs and other mobility devices, with no barriers between the lot and the trailhead.

E911 address for trailhead:  543 Bailey Road, Jefferson, NH 03583 (NH-116)

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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