Bald and Speckled Mountains, Peru and Woodstock
This is a really satisfying hike: you get a blood-pumping climb, but it’s not too strenuous; you get lovely views from two mountains, if you choose to do both; and you can swim at the end in the clear waters of Little Concord Pond.
The trail starts off on a wide track, which in about .5 miles brings you to the pond, a popular swimming hole. Continue on to your right, walking past the pond. Shortly you’ll come to an intersection with a sign to the peaks, and to the left you’ll see the trail that circumnavigates the pond. The 1.1-mile pond trail is scratchy and a bit rough, but passable. It was blazed just sporadically when I was there, but always visible. While most people swim close to the south end of the pond, there is a really nice place to swim at the far end, too.
If you head right, up to Bald Peak, you’ll reach the open ledges in another half mile (so 1 mile from the parking lot), with views of Shagg Pond below. You can do a little .2-mile loop trail along the ledges and back into the woods. Note: There’s an unmarked trail to the right as you are heading up Bald Peak that takes you to the rock climbing walls.
But you can also continue on to the summit of Speckled Mountain, 1.3 miles away. So, the total length to Speckled from the parking lot is 2.3 miles. After dipping down into the woods, and then ambling along a relatively level section for .6 miles, you’ll get to the start of the final push to the summit. This section is very steep, and brings you to open ledges. Push on here past the rock cairn here and back into the woods again, and walk another .3 miles to the summit. Although there are places to rest and take in the views, carry on until you reach the open top, marked by a long, thin pole.
There is another 3.2-mile trail down the backside of Speckled Mountain to Dickvale Road, according to the Appalachian Mountain Club guidebook, Maine Mountain Guide. One day I’ll attempt it.
Directions: From West Peru, head south on Dickvale Road approximately 8 miles, turning left at the intersection with Shagg Pond Road. The trailhead is on the left after just over a mile. From the junction of Rtes. 26 and 219 in West Pari, go east on Route 219 for 4.8 miles before turning left on Tuell Hill Road. Once Tuell Hill dead-ends, turn left on Redding Road. Drive past Shagg Pond and up a hill you’ll find a small parking area on the left and the trailhead on the right.