9 Ponds Loop Round 2, Frederick Municipal Forest

This is the second time we’ve hiked this trail. For a lengthier review, see the first iteration of 9 Ponds Loop, Frederick Municipal Forest. We attacked 9 Ponds Loop again with the intention to visit all nine ponds this time. Backwards. In heels! No wait, that’s Rent. No heels, and zero commiserating about that horrible Maureen.

Total distance: 9.19 mi
Max elevation: 1750 ft
Min elevation: 1268 ft
Total climbing: 1405 ft
Total descent: -1406 ft
Average speed: 2.50 mi/h
Total time: 05:05:44

With the snow some weeks gone at our elevation, and temperatures in the high 50s experienced, we expected it also to be gone in the Frederick forest, but wore gaiters and toted spikes along juuuuuust in case. 100 feet from the car, rounding the bend of the first pond, spikes were donned, in the middle of the trail. The MFMS was still in force.

Ponds were still covered in ice and snow.

The ice on this pond was so thick that Dar could stand on it.


There were neat ice threads where there had been standing water.

Water running under thick frozen ice alongside the trail!

A later pond.

After taking a spur to ponds 36 and 37, the trail directions have you backtrack to the main loop, then take another spur north to White Rock. Looking at the map, Dar observed that we could follow the spur to a parallel northward trail and make our way to White Rock without repetition. Adventure awaits, so off we went. After coming down a steep hill, we were faced with this wide, rushing torrent running off one of the 273 ponds.

Had the logs not all been paved with ice, this might have been fordable with poles to assist with balance, but they were quite slick, and the water too deep and the day too cold for falling in. So, tails between legs, we backtracked as directed, up the Hill of Chagrin.

Unexpectedly, we had White Rock all to ourselves. The valley is bare, the mountainside is still covered in snow.

Dar surveyed her domain while enjoying a burrito. Dar has exciting new hot pink waterproof hiking shoes.

I also took a turn at surveying. The waterproof version of the shoes my feet like comes in glum gray and glum black. My feet are sad and jealous.

Overlook selfie.

So much snow!

Backpacks o’er White Rock.

Dar resumed her KOTOW photo series.

Departing White Rock, back on the main Ponds loop, we noticed this fun outcropping that we’d walked right past the last time.




Distance9.17 miles
Elevation Gain918 feet
Moving Time4 hours, 12 minutes
Total Time5 hours, 6 minutes
Average Pace27 minutes per mile / 2.2 mph
Water ConsumedDidn’t notice.
Food ConsumedBefore the hike: nothing
During the hike: minestrone in a very leaky insulated food jar, 3-4 clif bars
Temperature Rangelow 40s °F
Cell ReceptionShitty
Phone Battery PerformanceKeep your phone plugged into a battery pack for the duration of the hike. The wobbly cell reception drains the battery swiftly.


BackpackCamelBak Aventura hydration pack
NavigationiPhone 6 with AllTrails Pro
ShoesHoka One One Speedgoat 4 Gore Tex trailing running shoes
SocksInjinji Trail Midweight Mini Crew Toesocks
GaitersGeneric waterproof nylon gaiters, which were too hot with sweatpants at 33°F in the sun
MicrospikesKahtoola MICROspikes Traction System
PolesGeneric collapsible trekking poles
See my current gear, clothing, and thoughts about it on the Hiking Gear page.