Difficulty: Moderate. The hike is 5.8 miles, from the parking lot, up and over Derry Mountain, up to the summit of Frohock Mountain, and back. The trail switchbacks up both mountains, making the incline more gradual for hikers.
How to get there: From Route 1 in the town of Lincolnville, turn onto Route 173 (Beach Road), drive a little less than two miles and turn left onto Youngtown Road. The parking lot to Camden Hills State Park trails will be on your left. Park and walk around the red gate closing off the multi-use trail. You will see a kiosk with a trail map and park information, as well as a sign listing the mileage down the multi-use trail to each trailhead. The Frohock Mountain Trail head is 0.8 mile down the multi-use trail on the left. From there, it’s 2.1 miles to the summit of Frohock Mountain.
Information: Frohock Mountain is one of the many mountains in Camden Hills State Park, a 6,138-acre park in Camden and Lincolnville. The park is the site of an old Civilian Conservation Corps camp built in the 1930s, and some CC structures still exist there, including the ski lodge, which can be rented by groups. One of Maine’s most popular parks, Camden Hills has about 30 miles of hiking trails and a campground with 112 sites, some with electric and water hookups and WiFi. In 2011, the park had 135,000 day-use visitors and 25,000 campers, according to a press release issued by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands in July 2012.
Leaving from the park’s multi-use trail, the 2.1-mile Frohock Mountain Trail travels up and over Derry Mountain, which is 777 feet in elevation, then dips down and continues northeast to the summit of Frohock Mountain, 454 feet in elevation.
The summit of Derry Mountain is not marked by a sign, but there is a side trail to a rest spot, where hikers can sit on crude rock seats in a clearing. When the leaves are not on the trees, hikers get a partial view of the nearby ocean, broken up by tree trunks and branches.
The trail then descends from Derry Mountain and climbs up through tall, beautiful evergreens to the summit of Frohock Mountain, 454 feet above sea level. The summit, marked by a tall sign surrounded by a pile of rocks, is surrounded by trees, but glimpses of ocean can be seen along the trail.
According to the book “Mountains of Maine: Intriguing Stories Behind Their Names” by Steve Pinkham, Frohock Mountain is named after a rather heroic family. Thomas Frohock was pressed into service in the British Army during the Revolutionary War, but soon deserted and joined the Continental Army. For his services, he was granted land in New Hampshire, where he settled and raised a family. His two sons, Solomon and Thomas, moved to Maine and settled in Searsmont. During the War of 1812, the two brothers defended the town against British soldiers and were driven back. Thomas Frohock, the younger brother, then moved to Lincolnville and ran a farm on Frohock Brook, which runs between Frohock Mountain and Pendleton Hill.
Derry Mountain was also named after settlers. Jesse and John Derry settled in Camden as early as 1810, according to Pinkham.
Camden Hills State Park fees: free for Maine residents 65 and older; free for children younger than 5; $1.50 for senior non-residents; $3 for adult Maine residents; and $4.50 for adult non-residents. For information about the park, visit www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/doc/parksearch/index.pl.
Dogs are allowed on a leash. For state park rules, visit www.maine.gov/doc/parks/programs/parkrules.html.
Personal note: While hiking the Frohock Mountain Trail with my hiking buddy Derek Runnells on Feb. 2, 2013, we saw evidence of woodpeckers everywhere, and about halfway up the trail, we heard drumming on a tree and paused to observe a male downy woodpecker searching for insects high up in a dead, moss-covered tree. The snow had melted away from the landscape during a heatwave at the end of January, but on the day of our hike, temperatures hovered in the low 20s, and we had to be careful of ice on the trail. It was clear to me that the forest in this area would be beautiful to visit year round.
The hike always takes me longer than regular hikers, since I am videotaping and chasing woodpeckers. Derek and I hiked from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but for most people, the hike would probably only take about three hours. The mental challenge of the trail is hiking the same mountain (Derry Mountain) twice.