QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 20,000 acres
- Trail Mileage: 3 miles to the summit, elevation gain 1,047 ft.
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: challenging
- Sights: sandy, secluded beaches; views from the 2,221-ft summit and ridge
While you can walk down the railroad tracks to reach the trailhead of this 2,221-foot mountain, some people recommend canoeing to the trailhead! You can put in your canoe at the end of Attean Road, at the boat launch. This is also the start of the splendid 34-mile Moose River Bow canoe loop. You paddle along the north shore of the lake until you get to a sandy beach and campsite—it’ll be the second campsite you see. There you’ll find a trail sign for Sally Mountain and a couple other trails I don’t know much about. The Forest Society of Maine protects this land.
If you’re stuck, however, with just your hiking shoes, you can park in a clearing dedicated to Sally Mountain hikers, about a quarter mile before the boat launch on Attean Road. Walk 200 feet down the road, back toward town, and you’ll see a gated drive on your left. Pass through the gate and down the short drive. It’ll emerge in .1 mile on the train tracks, in front of a lake house. Take a left on the tracks and walk over the trestle. You’ll then follow the tracks for about 1.8 miles. When you come to the railroad’s mile 77 sign, start to look for the narrow path to the summit on your right. It is not signed, but it is easy to see and is tagged and blazed. The trail directly opposite goes to a small, beautiful beach and campsite.
The trail up Sally Mountain is quite steep. In 1.1 miles, it’ll come out onto a more level ridge. Follow the well-marked path along this pretty stretch for .4 miles, past the old fire tower (now just four pieces of metal bolted into the rock and a good place to check out views) to the summit with even more stunning views. From this point, you can continue to follow the blue-blazed trail down the other side of the mountain for a more gradual ascent. In just under 2 miles, it emerges onto the train tracks, a bit past mile 79. Directly opposite from where it comes out on the tracks is a short path to another beautiful sandy beach. Then you can return to your car along the train tracks. It’s rather a slog! If you want to ascend the latter trail first and need to find it from the tracks, start looking for it after you pass the Mile 79 sign. You’ll find the trail a few feet after you walk by a ledge on your right spray-painted with the letter C. The full loop hike is bit more than 10 miles.
Directions: From Route 201 in Jackman, soon after its junction with Route 15/6, turn left down Attean Drive. Go 1.4 miles, and park in a large cleared area on the right. The trail begins 200 feet back the way you came on the left side of the road.