Fitts Pond on the grounds of Camp Roosevelt in Eddington is the starting point for hikes on Blackcap Mountain and Woodchuck Hill. Carey Kish photo

Camp Roosevelt is situated on Fitts Pond amid 1,800 wooded acres in Eddington, about 15 miles east of Bangor. Named for Theodore Roosevelt, the camp is the property of the Katahdin Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and has served as an outdoor classroom for many thousands of youngsters since its establishment in 1921.

The summer camp season long over, Camp Roosevelt’s facilities are idle, and its grounds deserted now as the last of the autumn leaves swirl about. For hikers, this is a good time to visit Fitts Pond and its boat launch, the shared starting point for two nice hikes that easily can be done in a single day’s wandering.

According to the “History of Penobscot County, Maine,” an 1882 publication by Williams, Chase & Co., “The most remarkable and famous feature of (Eddington), next to the Penobscot River … is the Blackcap Mountain. … It towers up to quite a respectable height, and is conspicuous across the country for long distances in each direction.”

Blackcap Mountain rises prominently above the west shore of Fitts Pond. The camp’s Blue Trail leads along the pond to the Blue and White Trail, which then ascends steadily to the summit ridgeline. On top, ledges yield a southeasterly view over the Downeast landscape to the mountains of Acadia on Mt. Desert Island and to the peaks around Donnell Pond.

Trundle south on the access road past the communication towers and step back into the woods, where a well-defined footpath leads onward. After a half-mile or so of delightful walking along the gently undulating ridge through the beautiful deep green spruce forest, you’ll be left with little doubt about how Blackcap Mountain got its name.

Not far after the unmarked, wooded summit, there’s a large open ledge and another expansive view to the southeast that includes a look at Burnt Pond and Mountainy Pond. Faded blue blazes continue on, but don’t be deceived. The trail peters out and the route down to the pond and back along it morphs into a less-than-fun bushwhack. Better to retrace your steps.


Back at the Fitts Pond trailhead, meander through Camp Roosevelt on Tonini Road toward Woodchuck Hill. At a large boulder on the left with yellow and blue paint on it, leave the road for a yellow-blazed footpath, which leads over a low ridge to pretty Snowshoe Pond. Just beyond, cross the Bangor Water Works Road and begin the ascent of Woodchuck Hill.

The climb up Woodchuck Hill is also steep, and punctuated by a series of ledges that require several wooden ladders to aid in the otherwise improbable ascent. The woods on the hillside are fragrant with white pine, the rock slabs are adorned with lichen and needles, and the views over Snowshoe Pond to Blackcap Mountain are superb.

On the hike up Woodchuck Hill, several wooden ladders are needed to scale the cliff faces. Carey Kish photo

As the trail winds down the south slope, several openings in the trees offer views of the Acadia and Donnell Pond mountain profiles. And as the path turns off the ridge, it passes a really cool concave granite face before dropping back down to the road at a large gate blocking access to Burnt Pond and Floods Pond.

Access is restricted because Floods Pond and its watershed is the public drinking water supply for Bangor, Eddington, Hampden and portions of Clifton, Hermon and Orrington. Over the last 63 years, the Bangor Water District has protected 4,500 acres in this area through fee or easements, and that’s a big reason why this area remains so pristine.

The road leads back to Snowshoe Pond, where you’ll close this pleasant lollipop loop. By the time you’ve returned to Fitts Pond, you’ll have covered about 6 1/2 miles and gained a little over 1,500 feet of elevation on both Blackcap and Woodchuck Hill.

For the record, don’t be deterred by the “Private Property Not For Public Use” sign near the Fitts Pond trailhead. Camp Roosevelt welcomes hikers year-round, but the notice is meant for those who might be less respectful of the land than the hiking public. In summer, you’re asked only to check in at the visitor center to let them know you’re on the property.

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island is an award winning member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. His latest book, “Beer Hiking New England,” will be out in print in mid-February. Follow more of Carey’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram @careykish

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