TAKE A HIKE!! Climb a mountain, swim in a cold mountain stream, listen to the quiet or see an amazing view from a beautiful open ledge. Hiking is a very popular activity along and adjacent to the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway and is supported by a coalition of trail and health organizations working together to build a healthier Maine. Many trails are available in our area, so feel free to contact our local Chambers for details on all the trails within their region. Most of these trails are on private property and State of Maine Public Lands, which is open to the public. In order for these areas to remain open to the public it is important to respect the owners rights, ie., build fires in designated areas, pack in/pack out all trash, take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but tracks. For additional information or maps you may contact a local chamber of commerce.
A suggestion of things to take along: Camera, binoculars, local maps, compass, wind breaker/poncho, bandana/hat, sunscreen/bug dope, sunglasses, snack/water, litterbag and a hardy sense of adventure.
Remember you are out to have fun, test your skills and see the beauty of this area. The following are just a few destination hiking trails in the Upper Kennebec Valley/Old Canada Road region of Maine.
Distance: 1.4 miles Difficulty: Challenging
The views are outstanding from this 3,718-foot mountain’s small observation deck.
The trailhead is 2.1 miles down Enchanted Mountain Road, a passable but rough road (stay right when the road splits early on). You’ll come to the old ski mountain base, where you can park. The trailhead is 0.2 miles away from the parking area.
The trail is really steep. You climb a good ways on this rocky route, approximately 1 mile, until you reach a small radio tower. Continue ascending on the snowmobile path for 150 feet. You’ll see the footpath on your right, marked with a cairn. It heads into mossy spruce woods. In about .25 mile you’ll reach the open top, where there’s more radio equipment and the viewing platform. To return, you can take the footpath back down, or follow the longer (8/10 of a mile) and gradual snowmobile path, which offers some additional views but can be quite wet in areas.
Distance: .6 miles Difficulty: Easy hike on well maintained trails/boardwalk/stairs.
Moxie Falls is the highest falls in New England with a 92 foot vertical drop. Moxie Stream drops from Moxie Pond(elevation 970’) for five miles to the top of the Stair Case Falls(elevation 800’). The next 2000’ from the top of the Stair Case to the bottom of the main falls the drop is 100’. It is a spectacular view in any season and at all water levels. You will find a well maintained trail through mixed hardwoods, many examples of local flora and fauna and the occasional wildlife to include: deer, rabbits, many bird species like hawks and bald eagles. To control erosion on steep banks, stairways and boardwalks have been installed. There are multiple viewing platforms for easy picture taking.
To get to Moxie Falls take US Route 201 to The Forks. At the bridge over the Kennebec River, turn right onto the Lake Moxie Road on the south side of the bridge. At approx two miles there is a sign at the trailhead – Moxie Falls Scenic Area and a parking area for vehicles.
Distance 1.6 miles to summit from Heald Pond Road. Difficulty: Challenging
While this mountain is wonderful, the drive out to the trailhead off Heald Pond Road is long, rough and rocky. Best to have a high-clearance vehicle.
The southern trail which departs from Heald Pond Road, is very well marked with cairns, signs, and plastic blue tags. It starts off on an overgrown logging road before taking a sharp right (marked with a cairn and an arrow) into a low spruce forest interspersed with sections of loose rock. This trail goes steeply uphill. At about 1.2 miles, you see a side spur leading to an outlook. Shortly after that, you’ll reach the intersection with the West Trail heading down to Deer Bog. Go right at this point to reach the summit in .4 miles.
It has fairly wide expanses of arid, rocky areas that look a bit like they could be the surface of the moon. Also, at the top, like many other mountains, there is a radio tower powered with solar panels and a helipad.
Moxie Bald Mountain
Part of the Appalachian Trail- Kennebec & Moose River Region
Distance: 9.6 miles. Difficulty: Strenuous
This is a beautiful trail with ledges, moss and spruce covered hillsides. Summit elevation is 2630 feet. Wonderful views of Bigelow, Katahdin , Sugarloaf and Abraham mountain ranges.
Take Rt. 201 north from exit 133 of the Maine Turnpike to The Forks, take right onto Lake Moxie Road, just before the Kennebec Bridge. At Lake Moxie Station/dam, turn right onto the Troutdale Road and proceed approx 8 miles to an AT marker. There is parking on the right. Trail goes off to the left side of the road and crosses a brook. It is one mile to Joe’s Hole Lean- to.
Owl’s Head Trail
Jackman, ME Upper Kennebec Valley Region
Distance: 1.5 miles round trip from trailhead Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Attean Overlook just prior to entering Jackman, Maine has spectacular views of all surrounding mountains and lakes. This overlook is a rest area with picnic tables and portable facilities and is the beginning of the Owl’s Head Trail. The trail is clearly
marked and takes approx 30 minutes. From Skowhegan take Route 201 North to Jackman and watch for the picnic area and large pullout on the right.
Magic Falls Trail on the Kennebec River
Moxie Gore Township-Upper Kennebec Valley
Distance: approx 4 miles round trip. Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Magic Falls is one of the most exciting whitewater rapids on the Kennebec River. This is where the photographers go to take pictures of rafting trips and you can watch rafters challenge the falls.
Route 201 North from Skowhegan to The Forks, then right onto the Lake Moxie Road, just before the Kennebec Bridge. Proceed 5 miles to Lake Moxie and turn left onto The Harris Station/ Indian Pond Road. Travel 4.7 miles, where the road crosses Black Brook and turn left onto Take Out Road. Approx 1.4 miles in on the right there is a small pullout at the trailhead. This is a two mile hike with great opportunities to spot wildlife. As you approach the end of the trail the river will get louder. Watch for a trail to the left down the bank into the gorge. It will be steep and more difficult at this point. Be careful.
Pleasant Pond Mountain
Distance: 1.2 Miles from AT Lean- Difficulty: Moderate Elevation: 2477
Pleasant Pond Mountain has an open ledge peak, scattered with small trees and a 360 degree view. Trail is steep in places. There are views of icy cold and deep Pleasant Pond below.
From Skowhegan take Route 201 North to Caratunk. Turn left at the Maine Forest Service Station into Caratunk village. At 3/10ths miles, turn left across from the Post Office and head towards Pleasant Pond, at approx3.7 miles. Road forks-keep left-travel approx 6/10ths of a mile. Pavement ends and the road narrows. At 8/10ths of a mile take the small dirt road to the right onto fire lane #13. At 5/10ths of a mile you will be at the AT Lean-To. Find parking off road.
Distance 1.2 Mies Difficulty: Easy to moderate Elevation: 2215 feet. Vertical rise: 1223 feet. 1 to 2 hours
Mosquito Mountain is a ledge topped gem, with a 360 degree view overlooking Moxie Pond, Moxie Bald Mountain, Pleasant Pond Mountain. Bigelow Mountain can be seen in the SW and Squaw to the NE. Little mountains can surprise you and this one does! Take US Route 201 to The Forks and then take a right onto The Lake Moxie Road, just before the Kennebec River Bridge. Travel five miles to Moxie Pond and take a right onto the Troutdale Road. Follow this dirt camp road approx 2 miles to a pull out where the road and power lines meet , you should be able to see Mosquito Mt from here and proceed to the trail.
No. 5 Mountain
Difficulty: Moderate Elevation: 3,186
feet. Vertical rise: 1250 feet. 1 to 2 hours, 1.2 Miles.
Though it has a an austere, colorless name, this 3,186-foot mountain in the Leuthold Forest Preserve offers lovely views for not too much effort. The 2.6-mile trail covers its roughly 1,250 feet in elevation gain at a relatively gentle pitch. The path is forested until it emerges close to the ledgy summit, which has an intact fire tower that The Nature Conservancy warns people not to climb.
The hardest part of this mountain is driving the 17 miles or so to the trailhead on back roads. If you have the vehicle to do this, you’ll eventually see a small Nature Conservancy trail sign at mile 16.6. Most cars should park here and walk the .5 miles up the rough jeep track. At the open grassy area, you’ll find a large and informative trail kiosk that has a trail map and information about the many thousands of protected acres in this area.
From this point, the trail ascends for about .4 miles up an overgrown logging track. This section of the trail is not marked but is easy to follow. At .4 mile, you’ll see Nature Conservancy signs and the blazed trail to your right. Follow this another 1.6 miles (it is well marked), to the lovely summit.
Directions: From Route 201, turn onto Spencer Road (aka Hardscrabble Road) and continue 16.6 miles to the trailhead, marked with a Nature Conservancy sign. I find downloading maps to my phone before I leave to be helpful navigating in rural areas where I don’t have a cell signal.