I recently visited the 100-Mile Wilderness in Maine and was able to discover many of the nearby trails. Although I didn’t have the best weather I was still able to get some great views! The pictures above and below are from Third Mountain (elv. 2,061′). There is a trail that starts from Gorman Chairback or you can also access the Third Mountain Trail at the trailhead on Chairback Mountain Road (4.2 miles round trip).The Third Mountain Trail is a moderate blue blazed trail crossing several streams with fantastic wooden bridges, and some wet areas with bog bridges on the beginning part of the trail. The trail then starts to gain elevation with a series of long switchbacks, then climbs a few rock staircases and a wooden ladder. The trail then intersects with the white blazed Appalachian Trail (AT) where there are a few false summits, make sure to keep hiking until you see the sign that says Monument Cliff! From here there are great views of Long Pond, and north towards the Barren-Chairback Range. To make a longer hike you can also do the 9.7 mile loop going over the peaks of Chairback Mountain (2,190 feet), Columbus Mountain (2,350 feet), and Third Mountain (2,061 feet) this is a great challenging day hike and of the Top 10 Fall Hikes in Maine!
Near Little Lyford Cabins there are great networks of trails. One of my favorite hikes is the Nation’s Nature Trail which is an easy 1.3 mile loop hike that passes through wetlands, woodlands, a short climb up to The Pinnacle and then down to the West Branch of the Pleasant River (bottom picture). There are 12 interpretive stations; a more detailed trail brochure is available at Little Lyford.
At Little Lyford and Gorman there are kayaks and canoes available to use, as there is also fantastic fly fishing! The picture above is of South Pond.
I was also able to hike up the Laurie’s Ledge Trail which has great views of the Lyford Ponds (photo below). You can also continue hiking up to Indian Mountain (elv. 2,338′) which has spectacular views looking into the 100 Mile Wilderness towards Gulf Hagas and White Cap Mountains, and on a clear day you can see Katahdin!
Another great hike to do is Gulf Hagas known as the “Grand Canyon of Maine” (bottom right picture). There are great variations of this hike which involves loops of 4-10 miles depending on what your preference is. This slate canyon is on the West Branch of the Pleasant River which runs about 4 miles long and drops 400 feet.
The history of this area is also incredibly fascinating since this surrounding area was once used for smelting operations for Katahdin Iron Works; logs were once ‘driven’ down the gulf to provide fuel for the smelting operations.
The 100 Mile Wilderness offers hiking, wildlife watching, paddling, fly fishing, skiing, and more! Although when I was there during my trip I had some rainy weather, but the outlook for the next few days including this weekend is looking fantastic! Stay tuned as we will be having some foliage updates as it is looking like prime foliage in the next few days!
For any general questions, conditions information, or trail advice, please feel free to contact us here at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center front desk. We are available by phone at (603) 466-2721 every day from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM or by email at [email protected]. To make reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603)466-2727 available Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm.
Backcountry Information Specialist
AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center