The Maine Mountain Guide, published by the Appalachian Mountain Club, is the only comprehensive hiking guide to the mountain trails of Maine and is considered by many to be the hiker’s bible. The newest edition, the 11th since the book first appeared in print in 1961, became available online, in bookstores and at outdoors retailers in early August.
For the second straight edition, this hiker has served as the author/editor of the guide. I can tell you firsthand, therefore, that this book continues its long tradition as a trusted resource and essential companion for all those who seek adventure and fun on the pathways through the woods and mountains of Maine.
Two full years in the making, the latest edition of the guide has been painstakingly revised, updated and expanded. The beefy 590-page book, now as thick as the gold standard AMC White Mountain Guide, describes a whole host of new trails and summits as well as all of the old favorites.
More than 175 trails on 50 previously undescribed mountains have been added, increasing the already wide variety of hiking possibilities available for every interest and ability level. In all, 625 trails are described on 300 mountains, a hiking bounty totaling close to 1,500 miles, from easy woodland walks to moderate hill climbs to strenuous mountain traverses.
The hiking trails are segmented into 12 geographic regions and range from Mount Agamenticus in the southwestern corner of the state to Deboullie Mountain and Black Mountain in northern Aroostook County, and from Aziscohos Mountain in northwestern Maine near the New Hampshire border to Klondike Mountain in Lubec, not far from the easternmost point in Maine and the border with New Brunswick, Canada.
Two folded, full-color topographic map sheets highlight six popular hiking destinations: Baxter State Park and the Katahdin region, the 100-Mile Wilderness, the Bigelow Range, the Camden Hills, Eastern Mount Desert Island and the Mahoosuc Range and Evans Notch regions. There are also 17 new black and white maps within the text of the guide – for a total of 22 – depicting concentrated trail networks in areas like Donnell Pond, the Kennebec Highlands, Bradbury Mountain and Bald Pate Preserve.
The front of the guide provides a wealth of useful information, from an overview of Maine’s public and private lands, the state’s geography, geology, climate and vegetation to trip planning, weather and safety information, to a complete hiking gear list, backcountry hazards and Leave No Trace principles.
Each trail section begins with an introduction to the region, then provides an overview of the area’s geography and general information on road access and camping options. This is followed by a list of suggested hikes, grouped as easy, moderate and strenuous, making it easy to choose.
For each trail description, detailed directions to the trailhead are provided. A summary table lists distances, estimated times and elevation gain, which are cumulative from the beginning of the hike.
The back of the book features helpful information and contacts for every organization and concern mentioned in the text, and for peakbaggers, a list of New England’s 4,000-foot mountains as well as the New England Hundred Highest.
Open the new Maine Mountain Guide wide, thumb through the pages, scribble some notes, pore over the maps, dream a little and plan your next adventure or two. So many wild and scenic natural places in our beautiful state await your footsteps, your eyes and ears, and the company of family and friends. Start your journey with this guide, then go savor some time in the Maine woods.
I’ll be speaking on Maine’s remarkable bounty of hiking covered by the guide at numerous locations around the state this summer, fall and winter. Check my Facebook page for information on dates, times and locations. And I hope to see you out on the trail somewhere!