Difficulty: Moderate-difficult. The distance of the hike varies from 4 miles to 9.5 miles, depending on where you choose to start the hike. The trail is rocky and increasingly steep as it nears the mountain’s summit at 2,630 feet above sea level. Also, there are several sections of the trail that are criss-crossed with exposed tree roots, making footing a bit tricky.
How to get there: Since Moxie Bald Mountain is on the Appalachian Trail, there are a number of ways a person can hike it. They can approach it southbound or northbound on the A.T. For the shortest day hike of Moxie-Bald Mountain (about 4 miles, round trip) you must travel several miles on rough gravel roads in Bald Mountain Township T2 R3.
The directions are as follows: From the junction of Route 15 and Route 16 in Abbot, take Route 16 west toward Bingham for 19.4 miles. Just past a Recreational Trail Crossing sign and the Moscow town line, turn right onto Town Line Road. Drive 2.6 miles to the end of the road and turn right onto Deadwater Road. Drive 4 miles to a fork in the road and take the left fork onto Trestle Road, staying along the power lines. Drive 2.9 miles and turn right onto an unmarked road (which is just past an unmarked road on the left that has a bridge over Moxie Stream). Drive uphill on the unmarked road 0.7 mile to a fork in the road, and take the left fork onto the unmarked Moxie Bald Road. Drive 3 miles to a bridge over Bald Mountain Brook. Cross the bridge and park on the right, well out of the way of traffic. Walk about 0.1 mile farther to where the Appalachian Trail crosses the road. Take a right to hike the trail northbound to Moxie Bald Mountain.
If you’d prefer to park in a designated parking lot (and not travel so much on woods roads), you can opt for a longer hike (about 9.5 miles, round trip) and start where the A.T. crosses Moxie Pond Road (known as Trestle Road on Google Maps) near the border of Caratunk and Bald Mountain Township T2 R3. The directions to this trailhead are available in the “Official Map and Guide to the Appalachian Trail in Maine” published by the Maine Appalachian Trail Club. This is an excellent resource for anyone looking to hike on the A.T. in Maine.
Information: Rising 2,630 feet above sea level, Moxie Bald Mountain is one of the many peaks visited by the National Scenic Appalachian Trail. The mountain is located in Bald Mountain Township and is a moderate to difficult day hike, depending on where you choose to start the hike.
The Maine Appalachian Trail Club parking area for hiking Moxie-Bald Mountain is located on Moxie Pond Road near Moxie Pond. From there, it’s about a 4.8-mile hike to the summit of the mountain, hiking northbound on the A.T., which is marked with white blazes.
In Maine, the A.T. is almost entirely maintained by volunteers of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club. Because of their efforts, the 281 mile stretch of the trail in Maine is almost always in great condition. However, sever weather can cause blowdowns to block the trail, especially in the winter.
From where the A.T. crosses Moxie Pond Road, you’ll head north on the A.T. and will soon have to ford Baker Stream, which can be difficult during high water (in the spring or after a big rainstorm). About 0.5 mile down the trail, you’ll cross a power transmission right-of-way, according to the MATC “Guide to the Appalachian Trail in Maine,” and you’ll cross Joe’s Hole Brook about 1.2 mile from the trailhead. At 2.6 miles, you’ll pass the Bald Mountain Brook Campsite near the crossing of Bald Mountain Brook; and at 2.8 miles, you’ll come to a side trail that travels to Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to.
Just north of the side trail to Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to, the trail crosses Moxie Bald Road, a rough gravel road where you can park your vehicle if you’d prefer a shorter hike. From Moxie Bald Road, it’s about 2 miles to the summit of Moxie Bald Mountain.
From that point, the trail is a gradual incline through a rocky hardwood forest, which transitions to an evergreen stand, then becomes hardwood again before transitioning back to mostly evergreens. The trail becomes increasingly steep, passing a number of large boulders.
Before reaching the summit, you’ll come to a trail intersection. Veer right to stay on the A.T. and climb to the summit. If you veer left, you’ll take the Summit Bypass Trail, which reconnects with the A.T. north of the summit.
Staying on the A.T., you’ll continue to climb. The trail will become even steeper and rockier. Along the way, you’ll pass through a jumble of boulders that form a doorway and a couple of small narrow caves. Farther along, you’ll break out of the woods and climb along a spine of bare granite following large rock piles known as cairns. The view from this spot is breathtaking.
Before reaching the summit, you’ll come to a A.T. sign. Turn left to take a short side trail to the summit of the mountain, which is marked with a similar sign, surrounded by a pile of rocks. The summit is a wide open space — hills of granite and stunted alpine plants. As you explore, avoid stepping on the delicate plants. There are great views in every direction.
To return, you can backtrack along the A.T. or take the Summit Bypass Trail back to the A.T. to make it a “lollipop” hike (with a loop at the end). The Summit Bypass Trail passes by some interesting landmarks, including a long, narrow granite ledge known as the Devil’s Doorstep.
As always, follow Leave No Trace principles while hiking. Leave the environment as you find it; pick up trash; dispose of waste properly; and respect wildlife and other hikers. Dogs are permitted on this section of the A.T. but must be kept under control.
To learn about the Appalachian Trail in Maine, visit the Maine Appalachian Trail Club website at matc.org. The club is always looking for more volunteers to help them with sections of the trail.
Personal note: The black flies attacked as soon as we stepped out of the car. I’d expected as much. After coating myself and my dog, Oreo, with all-natural bug repellent, we set off at a brisk pace, attempting to leave the pesky flies in the dust of the old woods road.
Heading northbound on the A.T., we waded through a bright green forest of beech and birch, pausing only to inspect bunches of pretty white flowers that I couldn’t name. Farther down the trail, I paused again to check out some large white tree mushrooms, then again, to photograph a light pink flower that I believe was a type of trillium. As I continued to hike, I noticed that the flowers grew in abundance along the trail.
Oreo wasn’t on leash, as it wasn’t required. But I had a leash with me just in case he wandered off trail or out of my sight. He must have known my plans because he was remarkably well-behaved. Running a bit ahead, then back to see me, then ahead, then back to me. He must have climbed the mountain 10 times.
The forest quickly transitioned to mostly evergreen trees and mossy boulders as we ascended the mountain. For a good stretch, I had to watch my feet lest I step in giant piles of moose poop, of which there were many. Oreo took a greater interest in a darker, smaller pile of waste, which I’m guessing was left by a bear or coyote.
The hike itself was well worth the long drive on rough gravel roads. We were up and down in less than four hours, and the views were fantastic. At the summit, Oreo and I sat and shared a bag of jerky and decided to continue north on the A.T. to the Summit Bypass Trail. By taking the bypass trail, we made a loop of the end of our hike, then backtracked to the Subaru. It was sitting beside the old woods road, right where we left it, covered in black flies.