1-minute hike: Bald Mountain, Camden, Maine

Difficulty: Easy-moderate. The hike to the top of Bald Mountain (1,260 feet in elevation) and back to the trailhead is about 1.8 miles total. The second half of the hike is more difficult; some parts are steep with tricky footing. Total elevation gain is 700 feet according to www.summitpost.org.
How to find it: The trailhead to Bald Mountain Trail is off Barnestown in Camden. Driving from Camden to Hope, the noticeable parking lot for the trailhead will be on your right. The trailhead sign reads “Georges Highland Path – Barnstown Access” and can be seen from the parking lot. Take this path to a kiosk for Georges River Land Trust farther into the woods. Keep going on the trail. Soon you’ll reach a trail sign that states Bald Mountain is to the left and Ragged Mountain is to the right. Turn left. Follow the trail to the summit. Turn around and come right back down the same way. (Note: The trail to Bald Mountain summit is usually a small loop, but as of spring 2012, the loop was closed for rehabilitation. Hikers should take the new trail up and down the mountain. Small white laminated signs will point you onto the new trail).

Information:
Bald Mountain (not to be confused by the nearby Bald Rock Mountain in Camden Hills State Park) is 1,260 feet in elevation and has a treeless top, offering great views of surrounding land, The Camden Snow Bowl, the town of Camden and the nearby ocean. The trail to the summit of the mountain is part of the Coastal Mountains Land Trust Bald Mountain Preserve, established in 2001. As of 2010, the preserve consisted of 537 acres in Camden and Hope. The Bald Mountain Trail was originally built by Georges River Land Trust in 1997 as part of the Georges Highland Path system.

The preserve contains interesting geologic features, several unusual vegetation community types, few nonnative invasive plants and intact forested habitat for small animals, birds, deer, coyote and black bear, according to the Coastal Mountains Land Trust website. The summit is marked by a large rock pile  and a plaque that reads “The Summit of Bald Mountain is forever protected and available to all thanks to Allen and Sally Fernald.” In January 2005, the two deeded the 86-acre summit to the Coastal Mountains Land Trust.

To learn about the trust’s campaign to protect Bald Mountain and Ragged Mountain, visitwww.coastalmountains.org/protecting_land/active_campaigns.html#bald_ragged. The Coastal Mountain Land Trust protects properties through 15 towns in the western Penobscot Bay region.

Personal Note: This hike is a local favorite spring through fall, though it can be dangerous in the winter because of multiple ledges, rock scrambles and stone steps. Bring sunscreen. Much of the trail is in the open.

Photo by Aislinn Sarnacki. A tree grows across a trail on Bald Mountain in Camden, Maine, on March 17, 2012.

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.