QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: Not sure
- Trail Mileage: 11.5 miles in system
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: moderate
- Sights: ponds
The Blue Ridge trail system must be named for the slate that you hike over and around at severals points. The smooth rock is a deep blue-gray, and you’ll see quite a lot of in this area.
I’m a bit conflicted about this trail system because it requires quite a lot of effort — both to drive to its trailheads along rough dirt roads, and also to hike its lengthy trails. Meanwhile its delights are subtle. The AMC says the Maine Bureau of Public Lands is working to extend the trail system here, connecting it to the Appalachian Trail and other nearby trail systems.
In the summer of 2022, we ended up hiking every trail we could find — for nearly 18 miles! — and were disappointed that the views weren’t more impressive and that the shores of Cranberry and Notch Ponds were hard to reach. The highlights for me were the varied forests — enchanting in the sunlight as you pass through different tree stands — and also the grey blueness of the rock.
If you do decide to explore the area, I highly recommend you a) have a high-clearance car and b) start at the Rum Pond trailhead. Then you can do the 3.1-mile Rum-Cranberry Loop Trail, and possibly including the first 1.2-mile section of the 3.9-mile Blue Ridge Trail, which ends at Notch Pond. Along this spur, you’ll have a few glimpses of views through trees, as well as encounter a couple of long boardwalks.
The loop includes a modest climb from Rum Pond up the ridge with switchbacks. Before you head up, check out the side trail to a nice, open camping and picnicking spot on Rum Pond (Site C on the map. Site A is littered with boats! And doesn’t have easy shore access).
If you do the 1.2-mile spur along the Blue Ridge Trail, you’ll climb for about 0.5 mile after leaving Cranberry Pond. Then you’ll cross a dirt road, passing through brush and along some bog bridges, before arriving at a section of trail that hugs the side of the ridge. Be careful on the boardwalks in wet or icy weather.
The full length of the ridge trail, until it connects to the AMC land or is extended into a possible loop, is best to skip. The blazes are intermittent along its 3.9-mile length, and parts are overgrown.
Directions: From Lily Bay Road in downtown Greenville, turn onto Pleasant Street, which passes the airport and eventually turns to gravel. Just over 7 miles, you can turn left onto the rough Rum Pond Road. In 1.1 miles, the road ends at the trailhead and a parking area. Alternatively, you can remain on Pleasant Street (which turns into Katahdin Iron Works Road) and go another approximately 2 miles to the Vaughn Stream Trailhead. Just before the stream, turn left up a rough road. You’ll see the first red blaze of the trail on your right roughly 200 or so feet from the intersection, and you can park alongside the edge of the road.