On Sundays, the South Gate will be open from about 8 am until 6 pm. Valley Road will be open to a parking lot (shown on the map) about .9 miles in, just after the Drumlin trailhead. This means easier access to Mead Mtn Loop, Hillside/Oak Hill, and Drumlin trails.
- Go early. If the parking lots at the Gates/Trailheads are full, PLEASE GO to the SOUTH GATE Parking Lot or ELSEWHERE.
- See below for other hikes with summits and views in the Wildlands.
- At the South Gate, if the lot is full, you have the option of carefully parking on Route 1 off the pavement. Traffic is fast: be careful.
- Observe social distancing when parking as well as on the trail. Resources for enjoying the outdoors from the ME Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry are HERE.
- Please stay on the trail on the ledges on Great Pond Mountain; there is fragile low elevation bald habitat immediately adjacent to the trail in many places (photo).
- Please keep your pets leashed for the benefit of others (and see above).
- The North and South Gates will not be opened on the traditional summer schedule this year. Because of our financial situation, we have no Ranger this summer; because of heavy spring storms, the Valley Road is not ready for regular vehicle traffic. Please bear with us as we work to remedy this. Any changes will be posted here and on the kiosks at trailheads.
Alternative Hikes in the Wildlands
Been up Great Pond Mountain more than 5 times? Is the Mountain Trailhead parking lot full? Try these hikes, which all cover great terrain and have great views. Times are round trip and approximate:
From the North Gate:
Flying Moose Mountain (2 hours):
Walk down the Valley Road about 1.5 miles. Just after the Baker Brook bridge, go sharply left on the Flying Moose gravel road and climb gradually about .5 miles, until the road levels off. Turn left at the sign and follow the narrowing trail to the summit (about .4 miles). Enjoy the views from the ledges, including fine views of the Mount Desert Island mountains.
Birches Path (2.5 hours):
Walk down the Valley Road about 1.5 miles. Just after the Baker Brook bridge, go sharply left on the Flying Moose gravel road and climb gradually about .5 miles. The road levels off and continues to a bench with great views of the Wildlands . The trail continues as Birches Path, traversing under the summit of Flag Hill, with views of Great Pond Mountain and the Hothole Valley. Birches Path ends at Mountain View Road, where you turn right and follow it gradually down back to Valley Road. Turn right to go back to the North Gate.
From the South Gate:
Oak Hill (2 hours):
Walk in on the Valley Road a short distance and at the sign, take Esker Trail, which follows a glacial esker past beaver ponds, through the woods about 1.2 miles to its end. Turn right on the Hillside Trail. After about .4 miles, turn right on Oak Hill Trail. You will soon reach the summit with several views of Hothole Valley and beyond. On your way back, you can take Hillside Trail down to the Valley Road and then back to the South Gate.
Mead Mountain Loop (3 hours):
Walk in on the Valley Road 1.5 miles to Mead Mountain Road on your left. Follow the road over the bridge (large beaver house on the left) to its end. Follow the footpath to the top and then to the right down to ledges and a fine view of Hothole Valley. Care is needed here if the ledges are wet. Continue back downhill on the north side of the loop trail. After you rock-hop across Hothole Stream you will come back out on the Valley Road. Head back to the right to the South Gate.