Posted on August 31, 2021 and last updated on August 31, 2021

Spaulding Mountain, near Carrabassett Valley


  • Preserve Size: Part of Appalachian Trail
  • Trail Mileage: 5 miles one way
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: challenging
  • Sights: views, mossy forest

Mt. Abraham and Spaulding Mountain trail in yellow; North/South Crocker and Sugarloaf Mountain in blue; Mt. Redington trail in red

Spaulding Mountain, at 4,010 feet, is on many Mainers’ bucket list since it’s higher than 4,000 feet. As a destination of its own merits, it’s not that inspiring! Although I do hate to denigrate mountains. Anyway, it can be tackled from several directions. The shortest way up is leaving from Caribou Pond Road (also called Caribou Valley Road, or just Caribou Road, I think!) on the Appalachian Trail, a five-mile ascent.

If you leave from Caribou Pond Road, you’ll head north along a dirt road for a half mile before reaching the intersection with the Appalachian Trail. Take a left on the AT, and you’ll soon cross a river before starting a very steep, rough path up Sugarloaf. Thankfully, the steep stretch does come to an end after a half mile or so! The rest of the way to the junction with the side trail to Sugarloaf’s summit is less difficult. From the junction with Sugarloaf’s side trail, it’s another 2.1 miles to the 0.1-mile side trail to the summit of Spaulding. (Don’t miss the short spur to a view of Mt. Abraham along the way.) While the summit is wooded, there is a short path north to a small spot with a view of Sugarloaf.

The other way up Spaulding is via Mt. Abraham, an 8-mile hike. The first 4.5 miles take you to the stunning summit of Mt. Abraham. The path to the Appalachian Trail and to Spaulding leaves west from the summit, and is marked with cairns. In 1.7 descending miles, you’ll come to the AT. Turning right here, you’ll reach the 0.1-mile spur to Spaulding in another 1.7 miles. On the AT ridge, you’ll have a bit of a respite from climbing for a mile or so, before ascending again to Spaulding’s summit.

If you hike Mt. Abraham to Spaulding Mountain and down to Caribou Pond Road (Caribou Valley Road), it’s about 13 miles.

Directions: One of Spaulding’s trailheads leaves from Caribou Pond Road, which is a rough dirt road best tackled with high-clearance vehicles. From the access road to Sugarloaf, drive 1 mile west on Route 27 to the junction with Caribou Pond Road. Turn left and drive carefully another 3.8 miles down the road to a yellow gate and large parking area (often filled with cars on nice summer days). If you’re leaving from Mt Abraham, check out my directions here. If you don’t want to drive the treacherous road to Mt Abraham’s trailhead, I highly recommend booking a shuttle ride with All Points Transportation.


Let me know if you have any trail updates or corrections!