QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: ~6,800 acres
- Trail Mileage: 9-mile loop
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy to moderate
- Sights: views
Round Top Mountain in blue; A Trail in orange; trail to the lake in pink
The A Trail, which shares a parking lot with Round Top Mountain and is one of several hikes in the Kennebec Highlands, has been created for both mountain bikers and hikers. But I think it’s probably more popular with bikers. That being said, it’s not a bad hike for people on foot. After about 3.3 miles of gradual, easy uphill through dappled forest, you get to a lovely lookout. Then, if you want to summit McGaffey Mountain, you’ll walk another 1.2 miles along the ledgy ridge line to the view-less mountaintop. There are ledges here that make for a good resting spot, though.
When I hiked here in the summer of 2018, there were additional bike trails that were not included on the official map. The one I followed connected to the system of unimproved logging roads that crisscross the highlands and are better for biking and skiing than walking.
Also, if you would like to end your walk at a beautiful swimming spot on Long Pond, below the highlands, hike the .7-mile (approximately) mountain bicycle trail down to the shore. There is a private road that bisects this public land (I believe it’s called Monataka Recreation Area); the bike paths loop either side of it.
Be sure and stay off the private roads around here, especially Wildflower Estates; otherwise you might run into ornery locals.
Directions: A parking lot is located at the corner of Watson Pond Road and Wildflower Estates, 4 miles south of Route 27.