Hiking Burnt Mountain in Maine

January 24, 2023 4:05 pm29 commentsViews: 302

Burnt Mountain in Western Maine sits in the shadow of its lofty neighbor, Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine’s premier ski resort. However, even though it’s not as tall as Sugarloaf, Burnt Mountain offers hikers a pleasurable climb and great views.

Hiking Burnt Mountain in Maine

Burnt Mountain Trail

Burnt Mountain is just over 3,600 feet in elevation. The trail is approximately 3 miles one way and provides hikers a long uphill grade (about 1,900 feet elevation gain), but only moderately steep in a few spots.

To get to the trailhead: turn onto the Sugarloaf USA Access Road off State Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley. Turn left onto Mountainside Road and then left onto Bigelow Road. This area is a web of roads and driveways and may seem confusing to newcomers.

At the south end of Bigelow Road after the condos is a narrow path through the grass. Once on this path, hikers will soon see small signs for Burnt Mountain. Follow the signs across a small bridge over the east branch of Brackett Brook, then take an immediate right turn into the woods (marked by a small Burnt Mountain Trail sign).

Approximately two-thirds of the Burnt Mountain Trail is through a mixed hardwood/conifer forest on a well-trodden path with pale blue blazes. The start of the trail follows a branch of Brackett Brook (which has a small, but nice swimming hole near the trailhead for those hot summer days).

The remaining third of the trail is above the treeline through an attractive rocky alpine environment. Blue blazes along with cairns help show hikers the way to the summit. Keep alert, it’s easy to miss the trail once on this open, rocky section. The summit is marked with one huge cairn.

From the top, Sugarloaf with its gondolas and trails is obvious. On either side of Sugarloaf are the Crocker Mountains, plus the long skyline of Mount Abraham. To the east is the daunting multi-peaked Bigelow range (Cranberry Peak, The Horns, West Peak, Avery Peak, and Little Bigelow Mountain).

For more adventuresome hikers, the hike can be made into a loop by continuing down the south side of Burnt Mountain. This is a less well-defined route (but still marked). This complete loop measures about 9 miles total.

For those interested in activities and events in the area, Sugarloaf USA is not merely a winter destination, but also offers mountain biking, golfing, adventure camps, etc.

More Delightful Maine Day Hikes

Maine is full of delightful hikes, from the rigorous Appalachian Trail and Katahdin in Baxter State Park to hikes easily accomplished in an afternoon or in the coolness of a summer’s morning.

Audubon’s Borestone Mountain is east of Burnt Mountain and offers gorgeous views of three alpine ponds, Lake Onawa, and the Monson area.

Bald Mountain near Webb Lake is south of Burnt Mountain and offers extensive views of Mount Blue, Big Jackson, and Tumbledown mountains.

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