Thursday, April 24, 2014
Spring signals road trip time for a lot of us hiker types. Time to gas up the car, pack a picnic lunch and a rucksack of trail gear, grab the guide book and DeLorme atlas, and go. Hit the open road, roll down the windows, enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, take a healthy hike, and celebrate the change of seasons with a meal and a pint with your hiking companions on the drive home. Here's a sampler of spring hikes and suggestions for post-hike revelry.
The views from Borestone Mountain are worth the hike to the craggy twin summits at 1,981 feet. And when the four-mile trek is complete, check out a hiker’s haven on Lake Hebron.
Carey Kish Photo
At Maine Audubon's Borestone Mountain Sanctuary in Elliotsville Plantation, hike the Base and Summit trails to the craggy twin summits that top out at 1,981 feet. Enjoy impressive views over Onawa Lake to Barren Mountain and northward into the 100-Mile Wilderness. Four miles round-trip. After the hike, relax at Lakeshore House in Monson, a hiker's haven on Lake Hebron.
From the trailhead at The Tarn on Route 3 just south of Bar Harbor, combine Beachcroft Path, the stone stairs of Kurt Diederich's Climb, and Schiff Path for a terrific route to the top of Dorr Mountain and great views of the eastern section of Acadia National Park. Descend and loop back around the mountain to the car via Cadillac-Dorr Connector, A. Murray Young Path, Canon Brook Trail and Kane Path. About 5 miles. Lots of options in Bar Harbor afterward.
Travel east of Bangor on Route 9, the old Airline Road, to reach the trailhead. Climb Little Chick Hill and Big Chick Hill separately for grand clifftop views ranging south to Acadia and north to Katahdin. Or connect the peaks via a straightforward bushwhack. Two to three miles total. Belly up to the bar at the Seadog Brewing Co. on the Penobscot River waterfront in Bangor on the way home.
Drive along Route 5 to Lovell. A 1.6-mile trail makes an easy but rewarding loop over the 1,253-foot summit. Atop the cliffs on the southwest side of the mountain, enjoy views from Pleasant Mountain to the Baldfaces. Trundle in to Ebenezer's Pub in Lovell later.
Take Route 17 over the magnificent Height-of-Land to reach Oquossoc and this classic hike. The one-mile trail wends moderately to the summit observation tower, and stunning views of Rangeley, Mooselookmeguntic and Cupsuptic lakes, and a jumble of mountain peaks beyond. The pizza at the Red Onion in Rangeley is a good bet.
At 1,133 feet, this mountain in Rome is the highest in the 6,000-acre Kennebec Highlands. Follow the Round Top Trail for a 4.5-mile loop hike that culminates at a high point with a sweet vista over the hills, lakes and ponds of the Belgrade Lakes region. Try the Sunset Grille in Belgrade Lakes village.
The Goose Ridge Trail in Montville is a pleasant walk leading to several high fields and views of the Camden Hills. Spot a car and enjoy the full 3.6-mile traverse of the 920-foot ridge or simply hike up and back. When done, continue east on Route 3 to Belfast and Rollie's Bar & Grill, a friendly neighborhood pub just up from the waterfront.
From Route 85 in Raymond, the Bri-Mar Trail climbs to the long and undulating ridgeline of the mountain, where frequent outcrops offer views of Crescent Lake, Panther Pond and Sebago Lake. Two miles round-trip. Bray's Brew Pub in Naples is a few miles west via Route 11. Housed in an old Victorian farmhouse, it's known for fine chow and hand-crafted ales.
Carey Kish of Bowdoin is editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide. Send comments and hike suggestions to: