Six hikes in Western Maine

The Mahoosuc Land Trust offers hiking opportunities on MLT lands, ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. These hikes include Bethel Pathway (easy), Step Falls (moderate), Black and White Trail (moderate/advanced), Rumford Whitecap (moderate/advanced), Maggie’s Nature Park (moderate), and Stewart Family Preserve: Puzzle Mountain (advanced).

Bethel Pathway (easy)

This flat, hard-surfaced, 2.5-mile path is right in the village. It goes along the Androscoggin River and across the beautiful Gateway property owned by the Land Trust. It is maintained by the town of Bethel and has spectacular views northward to Old Speck, the Baldpates, and Puzzle Mountain. It is handicapped-accessible and has two geocaches hidden near it. The Bethel Pathway connects several public facilities, including Telstar Middle/High School, the skate park, play ground, picnic area, and a boat launch site on the Androscoggin River Trail. It also accesses several related businesses.

Step Falls (moderate)

On MLT’s newest preserve, this trail goes up Wight Brook along the falls for approximately half a mile. There are numerous flat rocks along the way to have picnics and waterslides for playing in the brook. Respect the landowners on both sides of the property and stay on the marked trail. This is an easy walk to the foot of Step Falls, with a longer, moderate climb to the top, this trail leads to popular swimming holes and striking views of the Mahoosuc Mountains around Grafton Notch.

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Black and White Trail (moderate/advanced)

This newly-constructed 6-mile trail branches off the main trail on Rumford Whitecap, circles below the summit, and continues on Land Trust property over to the summit of Black Mountain and then down to the parking lot of the ski lodge. Hikers may choose to start the trail at Black Mountain. Yse the lodge parking lot.

Rumford Whitecap (moderate/advanced)

A network of trails reaches the bald summit of Rumford Whitecap, popular with hikers, snowshoers, and even backcountry skiers as a four-season destination. Famous for its blueberries, Whitecap also attracts picnickers and wildlife observers. Two geocaches can be found on Rumford Whitecap.

Maggie’s Nature Park (moderate)

Located in Greenwood with views of North Pond, South Pond, and Twitchell Pond, this preserve, donated by Maggie Ring, has a lovely network of trails totaling 3.2 miles. Mostly wooded, the trails have several outlooks with impressive views. Two geocaches are located on Maggie’s trails.

Stewart Family Preserve: Puzzle Mountain (advanced)

Part of the Grafton Loop Trail, this strenuous hike is partly on the Stewart Family Preserve owned by the Mahoosuc Land Trust. The section of the Grafton Loop Trail that ascends Puzzle Mountain from ME Route 26 is a popular day hike. A rigorous but exceptional option is to loop around the open ridges on the unique Woodsum Spur Trail before descending. There are spectacular views, first from ledges below the summit, then from several places on the summit. The new Woodsum Loop is a challenging high-altitude loop off the main trail. Total hike of 8.6 miles includes the loop. There is one geocache on the Trail.

Mahoosuc Land Trust’s Annual Gourmet Hike on Rumford Whitecap is at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 9. Meet at the Trail Head on the East Andover Road, Rumford. The hike is approximately four-plus miles round trip and is moderately strenuous. Bring a dish to share at the top. Let your culinary imagination run wild. Also, bring utensils, plate and something to drink. Don’t forget water, snack, bug and sun protection. *Gourmet is anything beyond gorp or peanut butter and jelly. Make your reservations at 207-824-3806.


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