Monhegan Island Trails

My map is incomplete!

Almost three-quarters of the 513-acre Monhegan Island—that is, roughly 350 acres of headlands, forests, rocky shore and pebbled pocket coves—are conserved, thanks to the long-reaching vision of Thomas Edison’s son. Ted Edison bought up island land parcel by parcel in the 1920s to 1940s, and donated it to the land trust, Monhegan Associates, to protect it from development forever.

Because of his effort, and the efforts of all the trust members and volunteers who have followed him, the small island (.7 miles wide and 1.7 miles long) is an extraordinary place to visit and walk. It has a nationwide, if not worldwide, reputation for wild, rugged beauty. I’ve heard artists talk about its distinctive quality of light.

The island is 10 miles from shore, so you can take a day ferry and spend about five hours walking between the time the ferry drops you off and picks you up. Or you can stay overnight at an inn or rental cottage. We took a day ferry and attempted to walk as many of the island’s trails as we could. We only managed to do 6.6 of them! (One source I have says there are 12 miles of trails in the island network; another says nine.)

I really recommend buying a $1 paper trail map from your ferry service or from one of the kiosks placed around the village. The money benefits the land trust. Not only is the map well made and detailed, it has short descriptions of the trails and how strenuous they are. It also helps keep you on track. While the island trails aren’t blazed, they are marked with small wooden numbers posted at most intersections. Occasionally it’s a bit hard to follow the trail, but it is always easy to find it again. A couple of walkers we ran into were trying to bring up the AllTrails app on their phones to help them make their way.

The most popular Cliff Trail, which rings the island, is about 5 miles long if you include the sections along the unpaved dirt tracks in the village. Much of it is slow going and tough walking! Monhegan Associates describes its most difficult trails like this: “narrow, rugged, and rocky with wet areas, exposed tree roots, steep climbs, sheer drops and dense growth.” And the trust recommends you leave yourself several hours to complete the Cliff Trail. But the effort is worth it: the views from the exposed bluffs on the eastern shore are astonishing. Seals bob their heads in the waters below and cormorants rest on ledges. In some of the steepest or roughest areas, the trust has created bypass trails marked 1A.

The island’s interior trails are lovely, too, alternating between shady old-growth forests and more thickety and light-filled areas. Many of them are also easier going.

While every spot is lovely, there are a few highlights. Monhegan Associates recommends these ones. I personally loved Pulpit Rock, Whitehead, and Gull Cove. Also, if you have time, check out the views from the Lighthouse Museum or island cemetery (these two sites are off the trail network). At the end of your walk, you can swim at the sandy beach near the dock.

Importantly, you can’t have a car on the island, you can’t mountain bike on the footpaths, and you can’t camp. And you can’t bring drones! You can have dogs on leashes.

Directions: You can catch a ferry from Boothbay, New Harbor, or Port Clyde. Do yourself a big favor and buy a $1 Monhegan Associates walking map on the island if you didn’t grab one from your ferry service! After arriving at Monhegan’s dock , you’ll walk up a dirt road to the iconic inn and the north-south Main Street. To do the Cliff Trail clockwise, veer left and head toward Black Head Road. You’ll pass a righthand turn to the Lighthouse Museum. At the next two intersections stay straight. At the end of the road, a home will be on your left, as well as a path marked “private” straight ahead. Look for the trail slightly to your right marked with a 1 (on a small wooden block affixed to a tree). If you want to start the Cliff Trail from Lobster Cove, head right from the Island Inn. Stay straight on Main Street. When you reach a fork in the road, go left on Lobster Cove Road. The dirt road turns into the trail.

Kineowatha Park, Wilton

Kineowatha Park‘s trails are a bit tangled up with a disc golf course, making the forested trail system a bit hard to figure out if you’re here just for a walk. I think it’s easier to navigate the system if you’re following the course with a frisbee, because that you you can just follow the numbered baskets. The trails aren’t blazed, either.

If you visit the park to walk—and there are many other reasons you might visit, including a public swimming area, basketball courts, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, etc.—I recommend trying to do a walk around the perimeter of the park—it’s just about a mile. And if you’re short for time, stick to the right side of the park (if you’re looking at the lake), so the northern side of the park.

The nicest trail starts down by the swimming area. It follows the shoreline, and then heads back up through the woods toward the park entrance, depositing you at the baseball diamond.

Directions: Kineowatha Park Drive is off High Street, close to the downtown area. You can catch the trails at several places, including right by the swimming area. The trail heads off into the woods to the north of the beach and dock area.

Avery Peak, West Peak, and the Horns, Bigelow Preserve, near Carrabassett Valley

Map shows Bigelow Preserve trails (except for Safford Brook Trail.) The Avery-West-Horns loop is marked in red.

Based on the numbers of people hiking this 12-mile loop on a beautiful Saturday in July, it is probably the most popular hike in the state-run Bigelow Preserve. It doesn’t hurt that you can summit four peaks in one day. Also, it’s easy to get to the trailhead—from Route 27 you just drive 1.6 miles down the fairly well-maintained dirt Stratton Brook Pond Road to the end where there is a large parking lot that fills early on the weekends. There is a large trailhead kiosk here. Here’s a link to the great state map.

This is just one loop of several possible ones you can do in Bigelow Preserve. The complete Range Trial that traverses the preserve and all six peaks is almost 19.5 miles long. (Two other great day hikes are up Cranberry Peak and also up Little Bigelow.) It is mostly wooded (much of it mossy and cool), except when you ascend its six open, rocky summits—each is which has stunning views. There are two ponds tucked in between sharp peaks—Cranberry and Horns ponds—and many campsites, including a large camping area near Horns Pond.

The hike to Avery Peak, West Peak, and the Horns starts on the Fire Warden Trail, which heads north from the parking area and is marked with a Maine Huts and Trails sign to distinguish it from the other dirt road leaving the parking lot. The trail remains a wide track all the way to Stratton Brook Pond and a bit beyond, before it turns into a narrower footpath for the remainder of the hike.

The trail climbs gradually and meets Horns Pond Trail at 2.1 miles. You can certainly do the loop clockwise—Horns Pond to West Peak to Avery and down the Fire Wardens Trail. I think it is equally difficult? But we continued straight. The next 1.4 miles on the Fire Warden Trail becomes more arduous, and as you get higher, you must conquer a seemingly endless and very steep rock staircase. At 3.5 miles, you reach the Bigelow Range Trail/Appalachian Trail. Here you can turn right and climb a steep and rock-strewn .4 miles to the 4,088-ft Avery Peak, which has a nice stone wind block (the base of an old fire tower.)

Turn back the way you came to summit West Peak (4,145-feet), which is .7 miles from Avery Peak. Very beautiful. From here, it’s a bit more than 2 miles to South Horn. You can also hike .2 miles out of your way to summit North Horn (another beauty!), before you head down the steep .6-mile descent to the idyllic Horns Pond. There is a short trail that will take you to the far side of the pond, which is a quieter and lovely place to swim! There is also a large camping area near the pond.

Hike another .2-miles to the intersection with Horns Pond Trail, which felt less steep than the Fire Warden Trail. But it’s always harder to asses this when you are climbing down! You’ll reached Fire Wardens Trail at 2.3 miles. Turn right and walk the fairly flat 2.1 miles back to your car.

Note: In mid-to-late July, the trail was often muddy and wet.

Directions: From the access road to Sugarloaf, drive 3.2 miles to the fairly well-maintained gravel Stratton Brook Pond Road. You’ll cross the Appalachian Trail at .9 miles, and reach the end of the dirt road at slightly more than 1.5 miles, where you’ll see a trailhead kiosk.

St. Clair Trail, Northport

This is an incredibly lovely spot on an undeveloped pond. The trail is very short, just .15 miles, and takes you to some rocks by the water. On a hot day it looks like a great place to swim.

If you continue down Knights Pond Road, you’ll reach the end of the road, where there is a small, sandy beach and a boat launch.

Directions: It’s very easy to miss the trail! From Beech Hill Road, turn onto Knights Pond Road and drive almost all the way to the end. The trail is about .5 or .6 miles from the end, across the street from a private driveway at 207 Knights Pond Road.

Triplet Park and Bartlett Shore Trails, Unity

Triplet Park is a sweet memorial to three children who died in a fire. Mown grassy trails wind around the pocket park, which also has a garden and a bird feeder in the shape of a wooden toy train.

At the backend of Triplet Park, you’ll see an old boardwalk headed through forest that takes you to a municipal-looking building, I believe it’s the Unity Food Hub. To your right you should see a sign for the 1-mile or Bartlett Shore Trail, built and maintained by Unity Barn Raisers. Cross another boardwalk, and in about .1 mile you’ll come to a snowmobile trail. Take a right here, and follow the trail to the shore of Unity Pond. You’ll cross two country roads (Kanokolus and Marina roads), as well as pass along the side of a grassy field and Pond Cemetery.

When you get close to the pond, the road diverges. Both legs take you to the small sandy beach.

Directions: To access Triplet Park, you can park Unity Community Center off of Route 139. Cross 139 and walk up the small Wood Lane to access the park. You can also park at the other end of Bartlett Shores Trail, at a small lot near Unity Pond.

Great Pond Mountain Wildlands, Orland

Great Pond Mountain, protected by the area’s eponymous land trust, offers spectacular views for a relatively small mountain (1,030 feet) and a fairly easy, gradual hike with well-maintained trails. The summit is exposed, which makes for expansive views of three nearby mountain areas—Acadia, Camden’s hills, and even as far, I believe, as Schoodic Mountain—but it can be slick in the winter! Also, the trails in the immediate vicinity around the mountain in the Wildlands are wonderful and well-marked, with occasional views. The two lakes, Craig Pond and Alamoosook Lake, that buttress the trail system here are fabulous for swimming.

There are several access paths to the mountain, and two different trailheads .4 miles apart on the access road (Don Fish Trail on Google maps. It’s plowed in the winter). At Mountain Trailhead, which is the second one farther along the access road, there is parking for four or five cars. From here, the summit is about 1.5 miles along the Stuart Gross Trail and the elevation gained is 850 feet.

The other trailhead, at Dead River Gate, is the first one you reach on the access road. It has parking for five or so cars. From this point, the hike to the summit is a bit more than 2 miles. You’ll begin on the wide Dead River Trail—which, incidentally, is great for skiing and biking. At .5 miles, you’ll come to the intersection with the ~.6-mile Hay Ledges Trail, which includes a nice overlook and bench off to the right about 2/3 of the way along.

The Hay Ledges Trail deposits you at the .9-mile Stuart Gross Trail, which brings you along a gradual ridge to both the mountain’s wooded summit and to its overlook with gorgeous views. Be sure to wear snowshoes or spikes on your boots in the winter! Also, it can be hard to find the trails (there are two loops up here) if snow is covering the blazes—but the hike is popular enough that you will likely be treading upon others’ footprints.

If you have time, I highly suggest checking out the picnic spot on the Dead River, off Dead River Trail. A steepish .3-mile path takes you from Dead River Road to the lakeside, where there is a secluded spot for a swim and snack. The trail begins wide and gradually narrows, with firs enclosing the trail on either side as you get closer to the lake. Or, you can end your hike in the clear aquamarine waters of Craig Pond, a most amazing place for a swim.

The Dead River Road, which includes a looong hill, is good for skiing and biking. There is also a 1.4-mile (and growing) bike trail — the Capstone Trail — woven into the hiking trail system. We hiked along Capstone from Hay Ledges Trail to the Dead River Road, as it served as a connector path.

Directions: Dead River Gate: On the Don Fish Road .5 mi. past Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery, this gate accesses the west side of the Wildlands. Turn off Route 1 in Orland onto Hatchery Road. Go 1.4 miles to the Hatchery and continue another .6 miles. Mountain Trailhead: This trailhead is .4 miles past the Dead River Gate, with parking for about four cars on the right.

Branch Lake Public Forest, Ellsworth

You can do two great loops in this 240-acre public forest on paths that wander to marshes and through old forests to the quiet shores of Branch Lake, Ellsworth’s main drinking water supply. The preserve connects to thousands of acres of adjacent conserved land.

After driving to the trailhead along a 1-mile gravel access road, you’ll continue your walk past a gate and down a tote road. When I visited in January, 2019, I found that the main trails, which branch off the tote road, to be well marked and easy to follow. Maps have been set up at all major intersections. Future trails, which are marked in green on the map, hadn’t yet been constructed.

If you only have time for one of the two beautiful loops, I slightly preferred the Brookside Trail, as the path is lovely, and when you get to the lakeside, there is a picnic table and what appeared to be, under the snow and ice, a little beach?

From the preserve gate, it’s .5 miles to the Pine Trail along the tote road. The Pine Trail (a lovely stretch through a pine forest) is .3 miles. The Lake Loop is 1 mile long — that is, it’s .3 miles to the .7-mile loop.

It’s about .6 miles along the tote road to the junction with Brookside Trail, which is 1 mile long (~.6 miles to the .4-mile lakeside loop).

Directions:  From the corner of Main Street and Route 1A in downtown Ellsworth, drive north 6.5 miles to the Branch Lake Public Forest sign on your left. Turn left and drive 1 mile to the gravel trail parking lot. I don’t believe it’s plowed in the winter?

Cosima’s Preserve, Bristol

The trail map to this 44.5-acre preserve promises a “ledge,” without more explanation. But despite its unprepossessing name, the ledge is one of the more delightful I’ve come across — and a seemingly great perch for swimming in the summer. It is flat, relatively big, and looks out over a pretty spot of the Pemaquid River.

The loop trail is easy, but you do walk down a fairly long hill from the trailhead to reach the ledge (and future boat landing site). The distance from parking area to ledge is .4 miles.

Directions: Cosima’s Preserve is located at 460 Benner Road in Bristol. From Damariscotta, travel 2.7 miles east on Biscay Road. Take a right onto Lessner Road. After 2.1 miles, look for a small wooded parking area on the right.

The Basin Preserve trails, Vinalhaven

Map shows four trail systems in the Basin Preserve: Granite Island trail is blue; Wharf Quarry Road trail is red; Folly Pond trail is green; and Platform trail is yellow.

At Vinalhaven’s Basin Preserve, you have a choice of several trails, exploring different parts of the beautiful 789-acre protected area. The Basin itself is a 360-acre tidal bay. All together there’s about six miles of trails in the network.

Ralph and Peggy Williams Preserve trail (off Wharf Quarry Road): My map showed the loop to be 1.8 miles, which includes a couple of nice spots on the shore, accessible via short side paths. (This number doesn’t include the .3-mile access road, which some will be able to drive.) If you do the trail loop clockwise, you’ll come to a fantastically high and open rocky area close to the end of your walk. The trail first takes you underneath the cliff to its northern end, but then it turns right, and after a short scramble up, you’ll come out onto open ledge spotted with pitch pine, where you can look down on the area you just came from and see the bay between the treetops. Directions: Wharf Quarry Road, which is about three miles from town, can be very rough, so drive carefully with a high-clearance car. (Google maps doesn’t seem to know where Wharf Quarry Road is.) After reaching the road, turn left and go 3/10 of a mile where you’ll see a place to park and the trail to the left. A goat farm on Wharf Quarry Road asks you to keep your dog on a leash.

Watershed Preserve (off Folly Pond Road): A 1.5-mile trail takes you through forest, including Maritime Spruce-Fir, to a high pitch-pine woodland on rock ledge, and back again. (When we visited, the private access road continuing on straight ahead was well trampled, making us wonder whether the views at the end were a local attraction?) Directions: Turn onto Folly Pond Road and go .3 miles. The kiosk will be on your left when the road bends to the right and turns into a driveway. Continue straight up the rough track ahead for 500 feet until it splits. Bear left and follow an old woods road until you reach the footpath, and the start of the loop. This point is .4 miles from the trailhead. The footpath will head uphill to your right, and is marked with a sign.

Granite Island Trail Loop: Perhaps this is the most popular of the four trails in the Basin Preserve? It seemed to have the most foot traffic. Two short loops include spots to enjoy views of The Basin. It’s just .3 miles from the parking lot to the shore, and there are roughly 1.2 mile of trails in the network. When we visited, we saw at least nine or ten juvenile bald eagles hanging out, seemingly together, with a few more mature ones nearby. Directions: Take Old Harbor Road out of town for 2.25 miles to the parking area on the right.

Platform Loop Trail: This trail is the longest of the four, with a roughly 2.1-mile loop. It includes diverse habitat and a platform with a view through trees of the basin, recommended at sunset. A .4-mile side trail takes you to a .3-mile loop to views of Old Harbor Pond and a sweet stream and little waterfall. Directions: Take Old Harbor Road out of town and look for the trailhead on your right in 1.5 miles. There is a small pullover area lined with rocks where you can leave your car.

(Side note: As a West Bath resident who lives close to another magnificent Basin Preserve in Phippsburg, I am beginning to think people should perk up at the mention of a basin in the context of walking trails.)

Lane’s Island Preserve, Vinalhaven

I haven’t yet explored the whole of Vinalhaven, but this 45-acre preserve on a small island bluff is exceptionally beautiful! After leaving the parking area, the trail quickly come out on a bright open area, with picnic tables and views of a protected cove. From here, you can venture off on a walk around the island tip. On my visit, the trails were not blazed and there were no posted maps on the preserve. But the trails are obvious and easy to follow.

We started off by heading out along the rounded bend of the beach to access the perimeter loop trail, which is roughly one mile long. This trail rounds the bluff, with spectacular views the whole way. Or, you can make your way more directly and quickly to the far seaside by crossing the interior paths through the shrubland. These are less rocky and easier to navigate, although they do have a few minor ups and downs. There is a small cemetery in the heart of the preserve, as well, with a monument to the man, Captain Lane, for whom the island is named.

You can read a bit more about The Nature Conservancy preserve on its Maine website.

Directions: Lane’s Island is connected to the mainland by a causeway. Drive down Lane’s Island Road and take your second left down a narrow lane that dead ends at the trailhead.

Blackcap Mountain and Fitts Pond, Eddington

Blackcap Mountain is a 1,018-foot mountain with a long ridgeline. The elevation gain is about 800 feet. I recommend walking beyond the summit towers, which you reach at roughly 1.2 miles, for another .7 miles or so to the far southern end of the ridge. At the roughly 1.9-mile mark, look for a very short trail to the left that takes you to a clifftop with a beautiful view. If you start steeply descending an open ledge, you’ve gone a touch too far.

You can pick up the trailhead in Camp Roosevelt, next to Fitts Pond. During the summer when the camp is in session, you should check in with the camp staff before starting your hike. A kiosk (that was bare when we visited) marks the trailhead. Very soon after starting you walk across a small bridge and continue .4 miles around the pond until you get to an intersection and the trail system’s first sign. The sign indicates you can continue straight on the trail to circumnavigate the pond, or head right to start the ascent up Blackcap Mountain. It’s .8 miles from this point to the summit and tower equipment.

After turning right at this intersection, you continue to follow the old painted blazes up the mountain. At about .25 miles, you’ll cross a dirt road (you should turn left on the road and walk a few feet to the footpath that continues on the right). Then the way gets quite steep for about ~.4 miles before mellowing out. Close to the summit, you’ll reach another wide track, which you follow left to the tower equipment. There’s a nice view here to the east.

But don’t turn back here! If you can, continue following the path—marked intermittently with blazes and tags—along the relatively flat ridge of the mountain. At 2 miles, skirt left to a very steep cliff—be very careful—for beautiful northern and northeastern views.

After this point, we found the remainder of the loop trail difficult to follow in winter. It curves around the cliff and makes its way underneath the ledge and back through the woods to the pond. Thank goodness a solo hiker had hiked here just an hour or so before us who seemed to have a good sense of the lay of the land. We followed her footsteps faithfully back to the pond, every once in a while spotting a blaze on a tree.

When you get back to Fitts Pond, you can go either direction around the lake to return to the trailhead. I highly recommend in the warmer months going right and skirting the pond’s eastern shore, since I saw some great spots from which to launch your tired, hot self into the water. (But I didn’t do the full circuit around the lake so can’t vouch for the western side. I assume there are swimming spots there, as well? There is a campsite.) The thing about swimming after you hike on the eastern side of the pond is you have the sun on your side….

Note: The Blackcap Mountain and Fitts Pond trail is blazed with old blue blazes, which could use a bit of updating. As it was winter, with snow disguising the path, we often had to search for a few minutes to locate the next blaze.

Directions: The trailhead is on Camp Roosevelt Road. Park at Roosevelt Scout Camp’s large parking area, next to Fitts Pond. You’ll see a small kiosk to the right of a small boat ramp; the trail begins behind it. The trail skirts the western shore of the pond for .4 miles to an intersection for Blackcap Mountain summit.

Woodchuck Hill, Eddington

Woodchuck Hill is a small mountain—815 feet—but it packs a fairly big adventure because one of the routes to the summit goes up a rather craggy and steep mountain face. (Plus, it looks like Snowshoe Pond would make a lovely place to swim at the end of the hike, increasing the adventure factor.) The elevation gained is a bit more than 500 feet. The summit is wooded, but you can catch some views to the east through a small clearing.

The path between Fitts Pond, where you start your walk, to Snowshoe Pond is fairly level, and roughly .8 miles. When the trails comes out shortly after Snowshow Pond onto Bangor Waterworks Road, continue straight across the road if you want to attempt the steeper ascent, which is another .5 miles to the summit. This path goes up a scraggly cliffside that involves a bit of ledge scrambling and the scaling of two short wooden ladders—one has rope handrails. But this climb is not technical at all, and it’s really not scary, either—I think most children should have no problem, and indeed, should find it very fun. Dogs might have trouble with the ladders, however. And I’m sure it’s dicey when there’s snow and ice.

If you want to avoid the steep section—either going up or down—take a right on Bangor Waterworks Road after Snowshoe Pond and walk about .4 miles on the road until you reach a locked gate. You’ll see a blue-and-yellow blazed trail on your left. This trail is steepish but requires no climbing of rocks. This path, from the summit to Fitts Pond, is about 1.8 miles.

Directions: The trailhead is on Camp Roosevelt Road. Park at Roosevelt Scout Camp’s large parking area, next to Fitts Pond. The road into the camp is gated off season. (Camp Roosevelt asks hikers to check in when the camp is in session.) To find the trailhead, walk .2 miles up Camp Roosevelt Road into the camp and bear left onto Tonini Road, right before a sign with a camp map. Continue walking straight up this road—it is blazed yellow and blue. Stay straight when you see a sign for Pamola. When you come to an intersecting wide track just ahead turn right and look for the footpath that continues on the other side into the forest.

Houston Brook Falls, Bingham

Houston Brook Falls makes for lovely photos in the fall, when it’s framed by colorful leaves, but it also must make for great swimming in the summer The falls are high (40 feet or so), the pools are deep, the rocks seem to be perfectly placed for kids to jump from pool to pool above the big falls. Below the falls, the stream enters Wyman Lake. The .2-mile trail is easy, but does head downhill and has many exposed roots.

I climbed a little way above the falls, and the pools and small cascades seemed to go on and on. Since it was getting dark, we turned around without exploring too far.

Directions: From Route 201 in Bingham, turn onto Route 16 and cross the bridge over Kennebec River. Turn right immediately after crossing the bridge, onto Pleasant Ridge Road. Go 3.5 miles to the transfer station. The trail will be on the right side of the road, immediately after the transfer station. It has a sign. You can park in front of the transfer station fence, I think. The trail has a sign at the trailhead. The rest of the way is not marked, but it is well worn and you can just follow the hill down to the stream and then to the falls. On the return, you want to stick close to the stream before veering left and back up to the road.

Pleasant Pond Mountain, The Forks and Caratunk

If you have a choice of mountains in this area, I really recommend Mosquito or Moxie Bald or even Coburn over Pleasant. But to not be too disparaging: the 2,447-foot Pleasant Pond is a fine mountain on the AT with really great views.

There are two ways to summit Pleasant Pond Mountain. The eastern route (also called northern side since the AT goes north) is longer (almost 5 miles one way) and more gradual, through old spruce and fir forests. The western route is 1.6 miles and steeper, with some great ledges around 1.5 miles. Because it’s the AT, the trail is well maintained and well blazed. There is a side trail near the bottom that goes to the shores of Pleasant Pond (take a dip if you’re hot!) and the Pleasant Pond lean-to and tent sites.

While the official summit has nice views, I think the best place to eat your sandwich is on the trail a couple hundred feet north or south of the summit.

Directions: To hike the mountain from the north: From Route 201 in West Forks, drive 5.2 miles on Lake Moxie Road to where it splits in a T-intersection. Go right on Troutdale Road, a narrow dirt road that can have potholes. In roughly 7.8 miles, you’ll see the AT sign on your right for Pleasant Pond Mountain. In another .2 miles, you’ll come to the AT trail sign for Moxie Bald Mountain. A small parking area is farther up on your right. You can also reach the trailhead from Bingham. Here are the AMC directions for this route (I can’t vouch for these): From Route 201, turn right (east) on Route 16 and drive 5.5 miles. Turn left on Townline Road. At 2.8 miles from this intersection, bear right at a fork onto Dead Water Road. At 4.4 miles, cross a bridge onto the road, now called Troutdale road, which you can follow until, at mile 11.2 (from Route 16), you reach the AT parking area on your left.

Moxie Bald Mountain, near The Forks

There is much to love about this heavenly mountain! Except maybe for the long (about 4.5 miles) hike to the 2,630-ft. summit. But those miles are for the most part gradual and easy through pretty forest. (For those with 4-wheel drive vehicles, there is an alternative place to park that sheds several miles from the hike: see directions below).

If you start your hike from Troutdale Road on the shores of Moxie Pond, you first have to jump some rocks across a narrow section of the pond. Then in about 2.4 miles, you’ll reach a short side trail to the Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to. I recommend checking it out to see the miniature gorge. A couple hundred feet farther on, you’ll cross a gravel road (which is where some park to to begin their hike). Continue through the forest for another 1.2 miles—the path begins to get a bit steeper on this section—to an intersection, which is the start of the 1.3-mile loop around and to the summit. I recommend going right, up the steeper .5-mile trail to the summit, passing massive slabs of boulders that form caves and narrow passageways, like tunnels through ancient pyramids. Once you get to the top, you’ll have 360-degree views. Beautiful.

From the summit, you can continue on the AT trail north. In .4 lovely miles, on a thin ledge that a fellow hiker says “was perfectly made to be walked on,” you’ll reach another intersection. You can go straight here to circle around the summit on the bypass trail and return, in .5 mile, to the AT path you came in on. But if you have the time and the stamina, I highly recommend turning right and walking another 1.4 miles to the North Peak. You don’t lose too much elevation, and the last .5 mile, across open ledges, is thrillingly beautiful.

Directions: From Route 201 in West Forks, drive 5.2 miles on Lake Moxie Road to where it splits in a T-intersection. Go right on Troutdale Road, a narrow dirt road that can have potholes. In roughly 8 miles, you’ll see the AT sign on your left for Moxie Bald (earlier on the road, you might have seen the AT sign for Pleasant Pond Mountain on your right). A small parking area is farther on your right. You can also reach the trailhead from Bingham. Here are the AMC directions for this route (I can’t vouch for these!): From Route 201, turn right (east) on Route 16 and drive 5.5 miles. Turn left on Town Line Road. At 2.8 miles from this intersection, bear right at a fork onto Deadwater Road. At 4.4 miles, cross a bridge onto the road, now called Troutdale road, which you can follow until, at mile 11.2 (from Route 16). you reach the AT parking area on your left. Along the way, at 9.7 miles, you will reach a four-way junction. An unnamed road leaves to the right (Baker Dimmock Road departs on your left across a bridge.) Take this unnamed road if you want to do a shorter hike. At some point, you’ll see the AT trail cross it (a bit above the Brook Lean-to). Find a place to park off-road.

Mosquito Mountain, The Forks

This little mountain (2,215 ft.) stands up from the surrounding countryside like a small insect bite. Regardless of the less than positive connotations derived from its name, this mountain is wonderful—with great views of the deep valleys, distant mountains, and ponds surrounding it.

After leaving the trailhead and crossing the powerlines, the trail quickly becomes steep. At 1.1 miles, you’ll come to an intersection, immediately after you’ve walked by a long moss-covered rock wall on your left (a natural wall). You should be able to see a faded yellow bear paw print on a tree here. Take the short side trail to the left to some extravagantly beautiful views. The summit trail continues on your right up some jumbled boulders.

When you return to the intersection, continue climbing steeply up the main trail (you’ll see a few faded yellow bear paw prints on the boulders). The summit and its views are .3 miles away.

Directions: From Route 201 in The Forks, turn onto Lake Moxie Road. Go 5.2 miles to the T-intersection. Take a right onto Troutdale Road. In 1.9 miles, after driving along an open section of road next to power lines, you’ll come to the small cleared area (there’s room for two or three cars) with a boulder on the right with a red bear paw print. The trailhead is at the upper left hand corner of the clearing.