QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: Appalachian Trail section
- Trail Mileage: ~3.5 miles one way
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: moderate
- Sights: waterfalls, pools, gorge, Pierce Pond, Kennebec River
No matter if you go for a shorter or a longer walk on this approximately 3.5-mile section of the Appalachian Trail, you will get to enjoy all of the drama and beauty this place has to offer.
That’s because the most dramatic waterfalls of Pierce Stream are just .6 miles from the trailhead. After following the streamside trail for a bit more than a half mile, you’ll come to an intersection with a side trail (blazed in blue) that takes you to a big waterfall in about .2 miles. Enjoy this lovely trail with falls every 25 feet or so!
If you continue on the AT beyond this point, you’ll reach another side trail in about 1.3 miles. After that, the trail continues (mostly evenly with a few steep ups and downs) along Pierce Stream all the way to where it empties into Kennebec River. From May 24 to Oct. 14, a canoe ferry offers rides to through-hikers across the river. I actually thought the last section of trail the most pleasant part of the walk, as the path hews closely to the by-now gentle stream.
Starting from where you started, you can also hike north to Pierce Pond on the AT, which is another pretty half-mile walk. The pond is nice and swimmable. Close to the pond, you’ll see an intersection of the AT with another blue-blazed trail. Follow this for a couple hundred yards to a beautiful, 30-foot waterfall. (If you continue on this side trail, it comes out at Harrison Camps.)
Directions: The dirt roads to the trailhead are long. It’s best to have a four-wheel, high-clearance vehicle. Also helpful to download road maps on your phone so you can follow your route even when you don’t have a cell signal. From Route 201 in Bingham, turn (west) onto Route 16 and cross the river. Take an immediate right after the bridge onto Pleasant Ridge Road. Go roughly 3.6 miles and turn right onto Carry Pond Road. Soon it will turn into gravel. Continue on Carry Pond Road for 8.6 miles or so until it intersects with what’s called Otter Pond Road on Google maps (I swear it was called Bowtown Road?). Stay right on Otter Pond Road and follow it for about 5.7 miles as it twists and curves to the trailhead. Right before you come to the trailhead, you’ll pass a sign to Harrison Camps on your left and you’ll drive over a little bridge. Look for the AT signs on your right. You can pull over to the side of the road and park.