Whether you’re looking for riverside trails right in the village or challenging mountain hikes, the Bethel area has it all. Here is a sampling of walks and hikes:

Bethel Pathway, 2.5 miles total. This ADA accessible gravel/paved trail runs alongside the Androscoggin River and is within easy walking distance of Bethel Village. It crosses the river over a recreational bridge. Along the trail are a skatepark, playground and picnic area.

A mix of existing cross-country ski trails and newly built trails, Bethel Village Trails summer network is open to the public and accessible from behind The Bethel Inn Resort on the Common, in Bethel Village.

Six miles of trails have a defined treadway for walking, running, and mountain-biking, with banked curves, and a series of sturdy wooden bridges across small brooks. The trail crosses two narrow sections of the The Bethel Inn Resort golf course before entering a forest.

Helix, a more intermediate trail, offers another three miles of machine-built flowing berms and a few exciting downhills. This trail is perfect for beginner mountain bikers looking to expand their skills, or for experienced riders who just want to go fast and have fun. Trail runners and walkers will love the increased distance this trail offers when added to the Bingham Loop.

The Mill Brook Trail follows an old road from the Bingham Loop Trail, crossing the picturesque brook shortly before reaching Route 5. A 2.5-mile loop can be walked from the Common by going down Mill Hill, out Route 5 for about 0.3 mile, then into the woods on the Mill Brook Trail, and back to the Common by way of the Bingham Loop.

Several programs — all open to the public — incorporate use of the trails, including the Summer Trail Series. More information on programs, ways to volunteer, and membership options can be found on the Mahoosuc Pathways website: mahoosucpathways.org/bethel-village

Mount Will, 3.3 miles total: This loop hike in Bethel and Newry is one of the recreational gems of the Western Mountains. Two outlooks beckon. The northern ledges are reached via a moderate at first climb, which then switchbacks up to the ledges and then continues on to a south-facing cliff, overlooking Bethel’s broad river valley and its fertile farmlands. Descending from the south cliffs, the trail winds through spruce and fir before it switchbacks through young hardwoods.

An example of a longer hike is Puzzle Mountain, 6.4 miles total, 8.6 miles with the Woodsum Spur loop: The Grafton Loop Trail in Newry has become one of the most popular medium distance wilderness trails in the region. This first section of the GLT that climbs to the inspiring open summit of Puzzle Mountain is gained via a 3.2-mile segment. The best views are to the west, with the Mahoosuc Range and the two peaks of Baldpate dominating the horizon.  The Woodsum Spur offers a more remote and rugged hiking experience, with excellent views east toward the Kennebec Highlands and the far off Camden Hills. It then descends through spectacular open areas and high elevation forest.

Some hikes involve rugged footing and walking atop dramatic cliffs and drop-offs. Hikers should be prepared with sturdy footwear and waterproof clothing. They should carry lunch and water as well as detailed maps and hiking guides.

A great reference tool for hikes in the Bethel region can be found at mahoosucpathways.org.


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