Monday, August 8, 2011

Hiking around Hawksnest and Black ponds

The cove--or the "hawks head"-- from Walker Rd near the cemetery.

There's some lovely hiking at Hawksnest.  You can hike most of the way around the park, although at some distance from the ponds, on Nathan Walker Rd, combined with Seth Whitfield Rd (Hawksnest Rd).  These historic roads, looking much as they did 50 or 100 years ago, are one of the assets of the park.

There's a particularly charming loop that goes around both Hawksnest and Black ponds.  To avoid some very rough driving, you can park on Seth Whitfield Road near the "four corners," or closer to Queen Ann Rd.

View Hawksnest State Park Trails in a larger map

All trails are open to hikers and horses--with the exception that horses are not allowed on the beach.  All trails and rustic roads are closed to ATVs and motorized dirt bikes.

As you head west along the fire road, you'll notice on the map a jog in the route towards Round Cove Rd, then back.  This jog includes some of the loveliest woods in the park.

See Oliver Pond too

There is a trail from Seth Whitfield Rd along the north side of Oliver Pond, and then up to Spruce Rd.  One fork of this trail leads to a landing at the east end of the pond (photo below).
However, I haven't found a trail along the south side of Oliver Pond.

South side of Oliver Pond (on left)--no trail here.

To complete the loop around the south side of Oliver, you either have to bushwhack along the top of the south bluff, or else head south from the east end of Oliver Pond towards Round Cove Rd.  However--caution--reaching Round Cove Rd probably involves crossing private property.

View from south bluff above Oliver Pond.  No trail here!

The isthmus between Black and Hawksnest ponds

Black Pond is completely choked with plants.
It's overfertilized, or "eutrophic."

There is a faint trail heading from the west end of Round Cove Rd towards the isthmus.  Formerly, this was a road to the ruined cabin at the edge of the isthmus.  A trail does cross the isthmus, but it's usually very wet, and crosses private property.  It's used by duck hunters in the fall.  This trail links up with the beach access road to Hawksnest Pond from Nathan Walker Rd.

Besides being private property, it's best to stay off the isthmus, because when water levels are low, Plymouth Gentian grows there.  It's a rare plant, easily trampled.


One truly exceptional quality of Hawksnest is the near-perfect preservation of the shore vegetation.  This protects water quality, and can serve as a conservation example for the rest of the USA.  Everywhere, lake shores are a magnet for people, and mostly destroyed.  People have forgotten the importance of intact shore plants in protecting our waters. 

So please, don't approach the shores where there are steep slopes--especially west of the Round Cove parking area, and on the north side of the pond.  These areas could quickly become eroded.

The former trail over the top of a hill, from the upper Round Cove Rd towards Walker Rd, has been closed for erosion control.  It was feeding runoff into the parking area, eroding the parking lot, and threatening the pond with filth from the parking area.

A new bypass trail has been cut, leading from the lower parking area on Round Cove Rd towards Walker Rd.

Link to information on Head of the Bay Cemetery.
Slideshow of walk along north side of Hawksnest and Oliver ponds.

No comments:

Post a Comment