Difficulty: Moderate. The hike is 2.6 miles to the summit and back.
How to get there: There are three ways up the mountain. One trailhead (and small parking lot) is located on Route 117 in Limington. Another two trailheads are located Limerick side of the mountain. The Smith Trailhead in Limerick is 1.1 miles north of Emery’s Corner on Sawyer Mountain Road. The trailhead is on the right. For a map of the land, go to www.fsht.org/sawyer.html.
Information: The Sawyer Mountain Highlands area is preserved under the Francis Small Heritage Trust, which owns more than 1,400 acres in northern York County. The mountain is located in the largest unfragmented block of undeveloped forested areas in York and Cumberland counties, and it’s only 22 miles from Portland. For information on the trust, visit www.fsht.org.
The land is open for public use for hiking, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, granted that visitors abide by a few rules. Leave intact any historical artifacts that may be found in the old foundations (of the old Sawyer and Ebenezer Walker homesteads) and the Estes Cemetery located on Trust lands. Please carry out what you carry in and do not cut any vegetation.
The summit of Sawyer Mountain, at 1,213 feet, was once the site of a whale oil light, used for navigation in Portland Harbor. In 1884, the U.S. Geological Survey placed a 15-foot-tall stone tower on the summit. Later, the tower was struck by lightning, and now only scattered stones remain. The mountain is on the border of Limerick and Limington, it’s highest point being in Limington, according to Google Maps.
Personal Note: The Smith Trail isn’t hard to find. You can see the trailhead sign from Sawyer Mountain Road. The trail is wide and marked by small wooden signs nailed to trees. On the signs are carved turtles painted yellow. The Smith Trail is 0.6 miles long. It then intersects with Sawyer Mountain Road and the trail that leads 0.7 miles to the summit. The Smith and Summit Trail is safe to high year-round with the right gear and clothing. Hiking the trail in January, I didn’t run into much ice. Though we saw no one else on the trail that day, the snow was packed down with boot tracks leading up the mountain.