MacNaughton Mountain | Snowshoe

Peak Name

MacNaughton Mountain

Most Popular Winter Trailhead 

Indian Pass Trail and Wallface Ponds Trail

Elevation

4000’

Round Trip Distance

16.0 miles

Average Round-trip Time

10 to 12 hours 

Winter Obstacles to be Aware Of

This is a full on bushwhack from Wallface Ponds, be aware that there is most likely no trail broken out. In fact, the trail past Scott Clearing may not be touched very often either. Waterproof jacket is essential to stay dry from falling snow from the trees. 

Route Overview

MacNaughton is not technically a 46 High Peak, but upon completion of the 46, MacNaughton is on many hikers radar. MacNaughton is by far one of the most difficult if not THE most difficult of the High Peaks. Its seclusion, lack of consistent usage, and lack of a defined trail and route make this a sure-fire challenge for even the most experienced and fit snowshoers. 

From the parking area return to the toll booth and cross the road to access the Indian Pass Trail. Follow this well-developed trail as you circle around Heart Lake, on your left. Passing by the trails to Mount Jo, Rocky Falls and a couple designated ski trails you will come to the Scott Clearing Lean-to. Scott Clearing is not that far away from this point. It has been a steady but easy uphill hike most of the way.  

At Scott Clearing locate the trail on the right for Scott and Wallface Ponds. This trail gets very little use in the winter and if it is broken out it’s by a group that is trying to attempt or has climbed MacNaughton recently. To reach the ponds it is nearly all uphill and at times a bit steep. If it is not broken out expect very deep and possibly unconsolidated snow. 

Once at Wallface Pond, the trail ends. In winter, many hike on the ice along shore to access the herdpath that is located between Upper and Lower Wallface Ponds.  The herdpath at this point is very hard to follow but it does give a clearer path through the woods than without, the difficulty is finding it. At the base of MacNaughton where the climbing really begins the herdpath disappears and you are on your own to find your own way. From here the slopes are very steep and it will be hard to get footing in unconsolidated snow. This will be the most demanding part of the day. DO NOT head straight for the summit, it is unforgivingly thick and hard to pass at any time of the year. Instead aim for the center of the long ridge and locate the herdpath along that ridge and head to the right to the signed summit. Modest views can be had from the summit. 

Essential Gear

Highly consider a larger group for this hike, minimum of two of course, but 4-8 would be best for breaking trail. GPS and/or map and Compass a must.

Please refer to our basic list of winter gear recommendations for day trips and remember this list is only a recommendation and you should take into light your experience, group size, length of trip, conditions, weather forecast, and any unforeseen incidences. 

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