Source: Discover Maine

What you’ll see
Deep in Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness, the West Branch of the Pleasant River cuts through a spectacular gorge—Gulf Hagas. For more than 2 miles, the river tumbles and churns through the slate canyon, forming an attractive series of waterfalls, pools, and chutes. A registered landmark, Gulf Hagas is popularly known as the “Grand Canyon of Maine.” You can hike along the rim of the canyon, which offers outstanding views from atop its sheer cliffs.

Though there is relatively little elevation gain along the length of the trail, the rim is largely uneven, rocky, and rugged, and can be slippery when wet, so tread with caution.

What you’ll experience
  • Aerobic Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Technical Difficulty: Moderate-to-Difficult
  • Distance: 8.0-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 700 feet
  • Estimated Time: 6 hours
  • Maps: AMC Maine Mountain Guide Map, 9th edition; Delorme Maine Atlast, map 42; USGS Barren Mountain East; USGS Hay Mountain
What’s in the area
  • The “Grand Canyon” of Maine
  • Waterfalls, cascades, chutes, and pools       
  • Remnants of the blast furnace, a charcoal kiln, and storyboards depicting the history of the Katahdin Iron Works, which thrived in the region in the late 1800s, are located next to the gatehouse entrance east of Gulf Hagas
  • Lodging—AMC’s Little Lyford is located just 4 miles from Gulf Hagas
Getting There
  • To reach the eastern trailhead, drive north on ME 11 and turn west on the Katahdin Iron Works Road, 4.0 miles north of Brownville Junction. Follow this road for 6.8 miles to the gatehouse. Register with the caretake and pay the gate fee. Beyond the gate, take the right fork. In 3.4 miles from the gatehouse, the road reaches a second fork. Stay left here, crossing the West Branch of the Pleasant River. The road reaches the trailhead parking area 6.8 miles from the gatehouse.
  • Guests staying at Little Lyford Lodge and Cabins can reach the trailhead from the west by a path that leaves directly from the camps. To reach LLPC from Greenville, turn right on Pleasant Street from Main Street. Stay on this road, following signs for LLPC, to the North Maine Woods gate (fee), approximately 12 miles from Greenville. Beyond the gate, continue following the LLPC signs for approximately 5 miles to reach the camps. 
Photo credit: Jerry and Marcy Monkman/EcoPhotography