QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 3,598 acres
- Trail Mileage: ~6 miles round trip
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: moderate
- Sights: views from 80-foot tower
I learned about The Nature Conservancy’s trail up Trout Mountain from the AMC’s 12th edition of its Maine Mountain Guide, a great resource! When I hiked the trail, I met a fellow who had just hiked Katahdin the day before and was walking off the stiffness in his legs on this relatively easy hike with good views.
The only caveat to truly enjoying this hike is you must have a stomach for heights. You won’t get any views from the 1,409-foot summit unless you are willing to walk up six flights of stairs to a very tall (80 feet, but it looks higher!) observatory platform. TNC built the tower in 2020 and welcomes hikers to climb up it at their own risk. Additionally, you can still see the ruins of the old fire tower it replaced just beyond it. I don’t have a stomach for heights, plus it was so foggy I wouldn’t have had views. But I hear they’re incredible!
The 3-mile hike to the mountain top starts out easy. (Note: TNC says it’s 2.3 miles; AMC calls it 2.6! It’s probably closer to 2.6.) You don’t really start climbing until you’re approximately 1.3 miles or so in, after you cross a stream. Even then the trail doesn’t get much steeper until you’ve gone 2.3 miles or so, with just 0.7 miles left to the tower, according to my GPS.
Directions: The trailhead is a short ways down a rutted gravel road off Baxter Park Road. It is just over 1 mile south of Togue Pond Gatehouse, the check in for Baxter State Park. When I visited in 2023, there was no sign on the road indicating the turn for Trout Mountain — you must drive 450 feet down the gravel road to the parking area and trailhead kiosk on the left. The road is passable for low-clearance cars, just take care.