Sargent Ponds are located in the approximately 45,000 acre Sargent Ponds Wild Forest and are open to all kinds of outdoor activities, including mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, fishing, trail running, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and hunting.
The Sargent Ponds Loop makes for an excellent outing for the entire family. One of the nice things about this loop is it can be hiked in its entirety or only in parts. With three very distinctive ponds along the loop, a visitor could visit one or all of them depending on what they have in mind.
For this entire loop it would be required for the hiker to walk North Point Road for 1.5 miles back to their car, unless a second car were available to spot. However, as a visitor to the area a second car might not be an option. With that in mind, the road is a nice walk at the end of a day, but an out and back to Upper Sargent Pond might just be the ticket.
How to get there
You can find these two trailheads off the Forked Lake Road in Long Lake. Start at the three corners in Long Lake and drive south toward Blue Mountain Lake on Route 28N/30. Turn onto North Point Road on the right at 3 miles. There will be a fork in the road a few miles in; right leads to Forked Lake Campsite, left to the trailheads. The trailheads will both be marked with state DEC signs on the left side of the road. The first trailhead is at 3.1 miles from the intersection with Forked Lake Road and the second trailhead is 1.5 miles farther.
Starting from the eastern trailhead and hiking in a clockwise direction, just because. After a surprisingly quick 1.2 miles over a somewhat heavily used trail you will come to a trail intersection on your left, with only one sign. The sign points to Lower Sargent Pond; left is a 0.2 mile trail to the shore of Upper Sargent Pond. Upper Sargent Pond is worth the short hike, if for no other reason than to just look out over the calm waters. This is a fabulous place for a picnic or to wade out and cool off on a hot day. The waters are very shallow allowing hikers to wade out well beyond what most ponds offer.
Returning back to the junction, and go left toward Lower Sargent Pond. This segment of trail is a little more serious with small ups and downs, possible wet crossings, and sections of trail that are very narrow and getting overgrown. Along this route you will begin to see a long marshy area to your left which is part of Middle Sargent Pond but not actually the pond itself – no trail leads to Middle Sargent Pond. At 2.7 miles you will come to another intersection - right is to Grass Pond (the trail you will need to return to) and left is to Upper Sargent Pond. The sign reads Upper Sargent Pond 0.1 miles. A trail then continues along the northern shore for about 0.2 miles to a lean-to if you wish to see it. The trail also continues straight and ends at the shore of Raquette Lake, 4 miles away.
Retrace your steps to the intersection, take that left toward Grass Pond and continue the loop. This will bring you along a well-maintained trail to the western trailhead. It's only about 0.6 miles to Grass Pond, whose shore is just that - grass-covered, wet and mossy.
The slap of a beaver tail or the laughing cackle of a pileated woodpecker could be heard in the distance. The remaining 1.3 miles to the road is a nice, mellow stroll. Small rolling hills dot the landscape and add to the experience. Once at the North Point Road you will need to get back to your vehicle if a second car is not available. It's a 1.5-mile walk along the windy, somewhat well-traveled road, back to the other trailhead.
There is great variety in the area. The trail complex has lean-tos, primitive camping sites, and backcountry camping allowed as long as the site is at least 150 feet from a waterbody, road, or trail.
It is challenging to reach open water, however, with that being said, it is a great place to do a bit of bird watching. Great blue herons, red-wing blackbirds, and numerous species of song birds frequent the tall grasses.
Loop = 6.8 miles
Family with Young Kids
- 4 to 5 hours, loop. This hike as a full loop may be too extensive of a hike for young children; consider a shorter version with an out-and-back to Upper Sargent Pond
- 2.5 to 3 hours, loop
Out of Shape Hiker
- 3 to 4 hours, loop
Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing
This loop makes for an excellent snowshoe trip, as well as a decent cross-country ski outing. Parts of this loop get subtle use from snowmobiles, so it may have track set for you. If not, you can expect heavy snow and fresh powder.