Take a hike!
A woodland path. Riverside rail trails.
In-town secret hiking places.
The Kennebec and Moose River Valleys hold an untold wealth of places to walk, hike or trek. Somerset County, up near The Forks, is even home to a section of the storied Appalachian Trail. It would take a lifetime to walk or describe every mile of trail the region offers. There are vast resources both on the ground and on the internet (trails.com and mainetrailfinder.com) that will point you in the right direction. All you need to do is ask. Here we offer 5 of our faves.
1. Sally Mountain
Location: Jackman Area, Length: 3 Miles, Challenge: Moderate
The view from the top of Sally Mountain is remarkable, with unobstructed views south to Coburn Mtn., west to the Bigelow Range, east to Mount Katahdin and north into Canada. This small mountain, once home to a fire-lookout tower, overlooks #5 Bog, one of Maine’s largest peat deposits, nationally known for rare plants and its large stand of jack pines.
Directions: North on Rt. 201 from The Forks turn left on Attean Rd, proceed 1.4 miles to parking and boat landing area. Park in upper right corner of field. Cut through the woods until reaching the RR tracks — tracks are active, so use caution. Follow the tracks for 2 miles until you see metal pipe on right marking the trail up the mountain.
2. Moxie Falls
Location: The Forks Area, Length: 0.6 Miles, Challenge: Easy
This well-maintained, family-friendly trail gradually winds through mixed hardwoods, trillium and bunch berries. Deer can be spotted occasionally along the trail. One of the highest waterfalls in New England, the main drop is over 80 feet, plummeting into a deep, slate gorge. There is a viewing platform for the main falls that allows for trouble-free picture taking. Moxie Falls is breathtaking in any season and at all water levels. A great snowshoeing hike in the wintertime.
Directions: From The Forks, US Rt. 201 at the bridge over the Kennebec River, turn onto Lake Moxie Rd. at the south of the bridge, roughly 2 miles up road, there is a sign and parking area on the left. Trail is clearly marked.
3. Pleasant Pond Mountain
Location: Caratunk, Length: 1.2 Miles, Elevation: 2,477 feet, Challenge: Moderate
On a clear day this trail, on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (2,178 mile trail), offers hikers a 360 degree view including one of Mount Katahdin (Maine’s highest peak 5,267 ft.) from an open ledge peak scattered with small trees and wild blueberries.
Directions: North on Rt. 201 turn right into Caratunk, right at the US Post office onto Pleasant Pond Rd, road forks at top, keep left, pavement ends and road narrows, but keep going. Eventually take Fire Lane #13 on your right (a smaller dirt road at bottom of hill). Find parking off this unmaintained road (might be overgrown). Trail is marked with brown trail signs and white paint blazes on trees.
4. French’s Mountain
Location: Belgrade Lakes Area, Length: 15 to 20 minutes to top, Challenge: Easy
This short loop hike offers excellent views of Great and Long Pond.
Directions: From Belgrade Lakes village, follow Rt. 27 north past Rome Corner (junction of Rt. 225). Continue on Rt. 27 for 1.2 miles, turn left onto Watson Pond Rd. The trail is on the left 0.7 miles from Rt. 27.
5. Kennebec River Rail Trail
Location: Augusta, Length: 6.5 Miles, Challenge: Easy
This public path, which parallels the existing rail bed along the Kennebec River, stretches from Augusta’s Waterfront Park through the towns of Hallowell and Farmingdale to its conclusion in Gardiner, offering opportunities for walking, running, cycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, dog walking and cross-country skiing.
Directions: Access and parking for the trail can be found along Rt. 201 in several locations between Gardiner and Augusta.