Bald Pate Mountain Preserve and Five Fields Farm, Bridgton
Bald Pate trails in blue; Five Fields Farm X-C trails in green; Holt Pond trails in red
This 486-acre preserve, protected by the Loon Echo Land Trust, offers a quick and easy climb to a beautiful open summit with an ancient pitch pine forest and lovely views. One of the ways to summit, a path with views along the way, is the .8 mile Bob Chase Trail. The South Face Loop is a bit tougher and longer. Both of these trails leave from the main parking area off South Bridgton Road.
You can also park at a smaller lot (which can fill up pretty quickly on nice weekend days) off of the dirt road, Moose Cove Lodge Road. From here, it’s about .5 miles to the intersection with the South Face Loop Trail. You can turn right here to make a more gradual 0.7-mile ascent to the peak, or you can charge up the very steep and shorter Pate Trail, about .4 miles. The benefit of taking the latter choice is a wonderful view from an open ledge, about two-thirds of the way up.
You can also walk from this preserve to the Holt Pond Preserve or close to it via the Town Farm Brook Trail (which is blazed with purple tags. I haven’t done this yet). Cross-country ski trails from Five Fields Farm (in green) also intersect the mountain trail network.
Five Fields Farm grooms their trails in the winter, but call ahead before you head out to check on this (when I visited in late December, they hadn’t gotten around to it yet). The trails are pretty, weaving through the apple orchards and forests. They are also on a fairly significant slop, so expect long up- and downhills. The farm rents snowshoes and skis. (When I returned later in the winter, the trails were groomed and beautiful!)
Directions: From US Route 302 in Bridgton, follow ME Route 117 south. In 1 mile, turn left onto ME Route 107 heading south and drive approximately 4 miles. The Bald Pate Mountain main parking area is located at the crest of the hill, on the left side of the road, just past Five Fields Farm apple orchard and cross country ski area. A short driveway leads to a big parking lot and the kiosk.