Donnell Pond

We spent much of the early pandemic months enjoying time at home, exploring our usual nearby outdoor spaces, and getting our garden started for the year. But when the weather turned nice, we were ready to get out of town. In June, we opted for a “remote” camping spot we’d researched – lakefront campsites on Donnell Pond.

There are two ways to reach the campsites at Donnell Pond – hiking in or boating in. Boating, we learned, was definitely the more popular option, but my anxiety about canoeing in open water with camping gear and the dog meant we were getting there on foot. The roughly 3-4 mile hike (including the 1049′ summit of Black Mountain) was doable, but would have gone much quicker later in the season, rather than as our first “big” hike of the year.

The trek was fairly smooth, with a steep ascent at first (including stops for me to ditch my bag for a few minutes), followed by a descent and then the last leg down Redmans Beach Trail, which felt longer than it realistically was as we were swarmed by bugs for most of the largely creekside trail to the beach.

When we reached the beach, we found a number of campsites, some occupied by families with multiple tents and others taken up by day trippers who had boated over to enjoy the beach. Later in the summer, we returned for the short hike down to Schoodic Beach, the other area on Donnell Pond with first come campsites, and found it to be a hugely popular spot for both overnight campers and day visitors looking to cool off.

On our visit, we scoped out the open campsites and found one tucked away on the end that offered the most privacy, something that we enjoy anytime we’re camping, but especially when the dog is with us since he likes to alert us (loudly) to anyone he can see or hear nearby. Our spot for the night had a private stretch of beach that was perfect for swimming, a waterfront firepit, and a picnic table (a welcome surprise we weren’t expecting).

We only spent one night, but one of the intriguing aspects of this area is that there is a series of nearby trails you could spend a day exploring if you use the campsites as your home base for a longer visit. Now that we have the lay of the land, it’s definitely on the list for a return trip.

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