QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: NA
- Trail Mileage: 1.1 miles to Bald; 2.85 to Saddleback
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: Challenging
- Sights: views, wind turbines
This hike has rocketed to my favorite in Maine, so far. It’s probably heavenly in any season, but hiking it at peak foliage is an extraordinary and uplifting experience!
The trail has been extended, all the way from the trail head on Route 156 to the Saddleback Ridge Wind facility, off of Winter Hill Road. If you have two cars, you can leave one at the Saddleback Wind parking lot. It will save you from a rather arduous return back over Bald Mountain. From the top of Saddleback, you’ll see a trail headed down toward the wind farm. Then I believe you walk back along the wind farm road. Saddleback Ridge Wind prefers that you call them (they have a number on a sign in their parking lot) to let them know you will be walking along their road, which is a winding 3.5 mile or so trek.
From the trail head on Route 156, it is a pretty steep climb through woods to the beginning of Bald Mountain’s open ridge. The views at this point are breathtaking. You can stop at the top of Bald mountain (2,370 ft.), a roughly 1.1-mile hike one way, or continue another 1.8 miles to Saddleback’s summit (2,590 ft.). If you have the energy to do this, I highly recommend it. The views are even better from Saddleback, and it’s interesting to look out over the nearby wind turbines.
Doing the traverse does require summiting two not insubstantial mountains, with a fairly deep col between them, so be prepared for a tiring hike.
Close to the summit of Saddleback, you’ll come to an intersection, with the trail to the summit heading right and a trail heading left to the mountain’s eastern ridge. The trail to the east ridge ends roughly .8 miles away at another view. I am wondering whether this trail might be extended one day to form a satisfying loop back to the parking area?
As it is now (Fall 2018), if you complete the traverse from Bald Mountain to Saddleback Wind Mountain, you either have to return the way you came or head down from the summit to the wind farm access road. While I saw this trail from the Saddleback summit, I was too tired to explore it, so I didn’t mark exactly where it came out, unfortunately. I’ll do that next time I’m there.
In every description I read of this hike, it is mentioned that the trail crosses private property, and continued public access requires users respecting the land.
Directions: The trail head is on the west side of Rt. 156, approximately 9 miles from Wilton, and 5.3 miles from the junction of Routes 142 and 156 in Weld. Parking is on the road’s side, along its wide shoulder.