Posted: April 12, 2016
10 Maine mountains with fabulous views without the big climbing effort
Written by: Carey Kish
Up Next: Shorter lines, more room and warm treats at Hadlock Field for chilly April Sea Dogs games
MOUNT AGAMENTICUS, YORK
Much of the summit of this old ski mountain in York was cleared in 2013 to restore habitat for the American woodcock, Blanding’s and spotted turtles and New England cottontails. For a nice loop (about 2.5 miles), combine the Ring Trail and any of the five spurs off of it to reach the grassy meadow, former ski lodge and observation decks on top.
Getting there: From Exit 7 on the Maine Turnpike/I-95, follow Chases Pond Road west and then north for 3.5 miles. Turn left onto Mountain Road, and in another 2.5 miles, reach the main trailhead parking on the right, at the base of the summit auto road. Photo by Carey Kish
BORESTONE MOUNTAIN, ELLIOTSVILLE
The Base and Summit trails lead hikers to the twin alpine-like peaks of this scenic 1,981-foot mountain in Elliotsville. Make the 2-mile climb (one-way) to enjoy spectacular views north over Onawa Lake to Baker Mountain and the rugged Barren-Chairback Range, and beyond into the famed 100-Mile Wilderness. A nature center at Sunrise Pond provides respite en route.
Getting there: From Monson, drive north on ME 15 for 0.5 miles. Turn right (east) on Elliotsville Road and go 7.7 miles to Big Wilson Stream. Cross the bridge and immediately turn left on Bodfish Road. Go uphill, cross the railroad tracks, and 0.1 miles beyond, reach a parking area on the left. Photo by Carey Kish
MOUNT CHASE, PENOBSCOT COUNTY
The open rock ledges on top of this 2,240-foot peak in the town of the same name afford excellent views ranging the length of Baxter State Park from Katahdin to Traveler, and include a multitude of other hills in the big woods north of the park. A 1.5-mile trail leads past the old fire warden cabin to an outlook at Eagle Point and then on to the summit.
Getting there: From the northernmost junction of ME 11 and ME 159 in Patten, drive north on ME 11 for 6.4 miles. Turn left (west) on Mountain Road and drive 2.1 miles to a grassy parking area on the right. The sign marking the start of the trail is 100 feet farther down the road.
Photo by Carey Kish
CONNERS NUBBLE, ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
Bag this little-heralded 570-foot crag just north of the Bubbles in Acadia National Park for a long and lovely look up the length of Eagle Lake and across to the steep western flank of Cadillac Mountain. Combine the Jordan Pond Carry, a section of the carriage road, and Bubbles and Eagle Lake trails for a 4-mile loop.
Getting there: The Bubbles trailhead is found on the Park Loop Road, on the right about 3 miles south of its junction with ME 233. nps.gov/acad Photo by Carey Kish
PEARY MOUNTAIN, BROWNFIELD
The extensive open ledges of this 958-foot mountain in Brownfield feature wide ranging views of the high peaks of the White Mountains as well as the mountains of western Maine. Be sure to continue on from the unmistakable granite bench; another 0.4 miles through semi-open scrub leads to a nice lookout to the bulk of Pleasant Mountain.
Getting there: From the junction of ME 160 and ME 113 in East Brownfield, drive north on ME 113 for 2.2 miles. Turn left (west) on Farnsworth Road and follow it 1.3 miles to a bridge over the Little Saco River. Parking is on the right. Photo by Carey Kish
PIGEON HILL, STEUBEN
Enjoy grand coastal vistas from this 317-foot peak in Steuben, the highest on the oceanfront in Washington County. For a nice figure-eight loop hike (about 1.5 miles), take the relatively steep Historic Trail to the mostly barren top of the hill. Descend via the milder Summit Loop Trail or slightly longer Ledge Woods Trail to join the Silver Mine Trail.
Getting there: From Ellsworth, travel east on Route 1 for 20 miles to Steuben. Continue east on Route 1 for another couple miles, then turn right (south) on Pigeon Hill Road, which leads to trailhead parking on the right in 4.5 miles. Photo by Carey Kish
MOUNT PISGAH, WINTHROP
The spectacular 360-degree views from the 60-foot fire tower atop this 809-foot summit in Winthrop range west over Androscoggin Lake to the Presidential Range of New Hampshire and east as far as the Camden Hills on the Maine coast. Combine the Tower and Blueberry trails for a very enjoyable 2-mile loop hike through this 950-acre conservation area.
Getting there: From the junction of US 202 and ME 132 in Monmouth, proceed east on US 202 for 0.5 miles. Turn left (north) onto North Main Street and drive 0.8 miles to the crossroads in North Monmouth. Turn right onto Wilson Pond Road and go 0.2 miles. Turn left onto Mount Pisgah Road and travel 1.6 miles to the signed trailhead on the right.
Photo by Carey Kish
RAGGED MOUNTAIN, ROCKPORT/CAMDEN
The extensive open ledges on the long ridgeline of this 1,280-foot mountain in Rockport and Camden afford wonderful views ranging from the Georges River Watershed east across Penobscot Bay to Acadia and northwest to the White Mountains. Follow the Georges Highland Path for a 5-mile one-way traverse that takes it all in.
Getting there: From the junction of ME 17 and ME 90 in West Rockport, drive northwest on ME 17. In 1.8 miles, arrive at the ending trailhead parking lot. Spot a car (or bikes) here. Then continue on ME 17 for another 0.7 miles to Hope Street. Turn right (north) and follow Hope Street for 0.4 miles to the Thorndike Brook trailhead on the right. Photo by Carey Kish
RUMFORD WHITECAP, RUMFORD
The bald summit ridge and southerly slopes of this 2,214-foot mountain in Rumford reward hikers with sweeping views that include the Mahoosucs and White Mountains to the west, the Mexico Hills to the east, and Androscoggin River Valley to the south. The Orange/Red Trail is the recommended ascent/descent route; about 5 miles round-trip.
Getting there: From the junction of US 2 and ME 5, a half-mile west of Rumford Point, drive north on ME 5 toward Andover. At 2.8 miles, turn right (east) and cross the Ellis River. In another 0.4 miles, turn left (north) onto East Andover Road and follow this for an additional 0.2 miles to parking on the left. Photo by Carey Kish
SABATTUS MOUNTAIN, CENTER LOVELL
From the brink of the immense cliffs on the southwest face of this 1,253-foot mountain in Center Lovell, hikers will enjoy extensive views ranging from Pleasant Mountain to the Baldfaces to the White Mountains. A yellow-blazed loop trail (1.6 miles) leads to an airy perch with a park bench, a front row seat for lunching and looking.
Getting there: From the junction of ME 5 and 93 in Lovell, follow ME 5 north 4.5 miles to Center Lovell. Turn east (right) onto Sabattus Road and follow it 1.5 miles, then bear right at a fork onto Sabattus Trail Road. Drive another 0.7 miles to the signed parking lot on the right. Photo by Carey Kish
Spring signals “road trip” for a lot of Maine hikers. Time to gas up the car, pack a trail lunch, grab the guidebook and the venerable DeLorme atlas, and head for the mountains.
Hikers hoping to bag a few summits don’t have to climb to 4,000 feet and above to enjoy great mountain views. Here are 10 hikes of 5 miles or less scattered across Maine that are very achievable for hikers with a reasonable level of fitness.