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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at

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Posted: May 29, 2018

6 simple spring hikes (and nearby snacking spots)

Written by: Carey Kish

The long winter that seemed like it would never end has finally come to a close, and Maine has finally melted off nicely. With spring here, we can now confidently stow away the skis and break out the day-hiking gear. Rucksack, boots, survival gear, some snacks and water, and you’re good to go. Here’s a half-dozen recommendations for great spring hikes (ranging from 1 to 4 miles, easy to moderate) around the state to get you into the swing of the hiking season, plus suggestions on where to go post-hike for good food and drink.

Bald Mountain is a popular hike in the Rangeley Lakes region.
Photo by Carey Kish


One of the most popular hikes in the Rangeley Lakes region is Bald Mountain in Oquossoc, the central feature of 1,923 acres of state-owned conservation land. The observation tower atop the 2,470-foot peak rewards with a fabulous vista, from the surrounding lakes of Mooselookmeguntic, Rangeley and Cupsuptic to the peaks of Saddleback Mountain, the Bemis Range, and Elephant Mountain, onto Mount Washington and the Presidentials. For more hiking possibilities, check in with Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust. Later, enjoy a visit to the Rangeley Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum, then head to Rangeley village and the Red Onion, a favorite for pizza and drafts. Info & map:

Klondike Mountain Preserve is in Lubec, the easternmost town in Maine and the U.S.

Photo by Carey Kish


The beautiful little village of Lubec is as far Down East as you can go, or in the eastern U.S. for that matter. Remote as this place is, miles of oceanfront hiking trails await adventurous travelers at five Downeast Coastal Conservancy lands, a Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserve and Quoddy Head State Park. The conservancy’s Klondike Mountain (150 feet) is a local favorite that features two low but craggy summits overlooking the big tidal waters of South Bay. Add a side trip to Fowler’s Mill Pond for a good hour of tramping about. Head for Lubec Brewing Co. afterward to consider your next area hike over a pint and some good chow. Info & map:

Mount Pisgah is co-managed by Kennebec Land Trust, the town of Winthrop and a private landowner.
Photo by Carey Kish


The Mount Pisgah Conservation Area, co-owned and co-managed by Kennebec Land Trust, the town of Winthrop and a private landowner, protects 950 acres just east of Androscoggin Lake. Combine portions of Tower Trail, Ledges Trail and Blueberry Trail for an outstanding loop over the summit of Pisgah (809 feet), capped by a 60-foot firetower. A Maine Forest Service lookout from 1949 to 1991, the tower provides an impressive 360-degree view, which on a clear day ranges from the Camden Hills to Mount Washington. For more, Monument Hill in nearby Leeds has good views and a Civil War obelisk on top, reached via a nice loop hike. Rehydrate and refuel in Winthrop at Pond Town Tavern or Sully’s. Info & map:


Ragged Mountain is known as the home of the Camden Snow Bowl in winter, but in the warmer months, is a hiking destination.
Photo by Carey Kish


Ragged Mountain is probably best known for the ski trails of the Camden Snow Bowl on its northeastern slopes, but come summer, this side of the mountain is a gem of a hiking destination. From the A-frame ski area base lodge, you can tackle an excellent counterclockwise loop via Hosmer Brook Trail, a section of the Georges Highland Path and Red Diamond Trail. Sundown Ledge and the Ragged summit (1,310 feet) are highlights en route. Just north, Camden Hills State Park has many more miles of nice trails. At quitting time, head for Camden village, where the Sea Dog, Drouthy Bear and numerous other fine establishments offer suitable refreshments. Info & map:


Rumford Whitecap Mountain has far-reaching views in every direction.
Photo by Carey Kish


The 752-acre Rumford Whitecap Mountain Preserve in Rumford, the signature conservation property of Mahoosuc Land Trust, encompasses the mostly bare summit ridge and southern slopes of namesake Rumford Whitecap (2,214 feet). Ascend by way of the Red/Orange Trail, then descend via Starr Trail to complete the loop. Enjoy far-reaching views in every direction: Black Mountain to the east, the Mahoosuc Range to the west, the White Mountains farther west and Mt. Zircon and more of the Oxford Hills to the south. Post-hike, head west to Bethel for microbrews and pub fare at Sunday River Brewing Co. Info & map:

A scenic drive and a post-hike beer at world-renowned Ebenezer’s in Lovell round out a trip to Sabattus Mountain.
Photo by Carey Kish


After a wonderfully scenic drive on Route 5, either south from Bethel or north from Fryeburg, you’ll be primed for the great loop hike on the trails of Sabattus Mountain (1,253 feet), which is jointly managed by Greater Lovell Land Trust and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. Hike the circuit clockwise, climbing moderately to the summit ridge. Just ahead are the great cliffs of the southwest face, two park benches and a sweeping panorama ranging from Pleasant Mountain to the Presidential Range. Nearby, Heald and Bradley Ponds Reserve is home to plenty more hiking. Relax and recharge afterward at Ebenezer’s Pub, where the beer selection is simply mind-boggling. Info & map:


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