View Full Version : Saddleback / 4WD road?

10-29-2008, 01:34 PM
I've been looking to finish my NE4Ks on Saddleback and the Horn. Given the short days and varying hiking speeds of the group, I have been looking for ways to shorten the distance.

With the ski area closed to hiking, the only option seems to be a 4WD road that crosses the AT just north of Eddy Pond/Piazza rock.

Two questions -

1) Does anyone know anything about the access to, and condition of this road?

2) Would using this road invalidate these peaks for the AMC NE4K list purposes.

Thanks in advance!

10-29-2008, 02:07 PM
I've only crossed the road, while following the AT. It was clear that the road got used, I'm guessing by ATVs (heard several in the distance).

From the AMC website: "For peaks in areas with rough logging roads you may drive as far as you dare with a normal car (that includes four wheel drive), but ATVs are not allowed. "

I didn't follow the road or pay much attention to its condition, but it didn't strike me as either very smooth or very treacherous, for whatever that's worth.

10-29-2008, 02:53 PM
Google Earth seems to show that road pretty rough going to the east, especially around Moose & Deer Pond, but if it's passable, it hooks up with some very well-defined roads with nice-looking intersections and bridges.

On the westerly side, it looks well-defined all the way to City Pond Road, though there appear to be some steep sections where it switches back.

Could be passable with a passenger 4WD, hard to say, though, from this imagery.

10-29-2008, 03:03 PM
I was checking that rd on Delorme to get to Unamed pk Ledge pond.On 1 map it's called city pond rd and shows a gate on the saddleback side.The other side goes in between the sandy river ponds,near the AT parking lot.I was gonna take that and see how far I could go.At Eddy pond the rd looked real good but thats all I know.Could be a little snow on it now tho.

Tom Rankin
10-29-2008, 03:15 PM
With the ski area closed to hiking, the only option seems to be a 4WD road that crosses the AT just north of Eddy Pond/Piazza rock.Is this a permanent closing to hikers, or just seasonal?

10-29-2008, 03:53 PM
This trip report describes a way to cut some of the distance by avoiding the route 4 trail head (see Trail Head section), and references the "road" that McRat mentions as an ATV road. It is dated from Sept. of this year. http://www.amateur-hikers.com/mountain.asp?id=2369

I've only hiked Saddleback via the ski trails.

10-29-2008, 04:04 PM
This thread (http://vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=7962&highlight=Perham+Stream&page=2) and in particular post #20 is the route I gave for getting into the AT between Abraham & Saddleback and you can park your car at the AT xing. However, this route I used back in 2005. So try and get confirmation that this route is still usable. Here (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/1505236289063208931jvlJra) in photos 297-299 are pictures I took of that road in 2005. Hope this helps.

10-29-2008, 04:18 PM
Do note that we meant it when we used the word "ford" to describe crossing Orbeton Stream (http://www.saletnik.org/gallery2/v/hiking/me/carrabassett/357681729TVXKLZ_fs.jpg.html).

Sounds like you might have a plan, Russ. Do it quick while there's good weather!

10-29-2008, 04:20 PM
Is this a permanent closing to hikers, or just seasonal?
There is construction (snowmaking and a new lift) at the top of Tri-Color where the trail leads from the slopes to the AT. It's pretty heavy construction and pretty spread out, effectively blocking the route, and the owners have asked people to stay away for safety reasons. I imagine once the work is done, hiking will be fine again (it's currently permitted elsewhere in the ski area.)

10-29-2008, 04:25 PM
Orbeton Stream could be a rock hop as I had on Aug. 25, 2005. See here (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/1498054464063208931gVRcjb).

10-29-2008, 07:13 PM
I was there last april PIC (http://www.julillustration.com/album%20Saddleback%20ME/pages/Maine%20039_jpg.htm)

We parked just near the AT crossing.

10-29-2008, 07:20 PM
Seems everyone had an easier time than we did!
(but probably not as much fun as we had :) )

10-30-2008, 02:52 AM
I donít remember that road as being much more than an hour into the hike from Route 4 anyway, but maybe Iím wrong.

10-30-2008, 04:39 AM
I have dayhiked Saddleback and the Horn a couple of times from RT 4 driving from Gorham NH or Portland. The walk in from RT 4 goes fast and its probably quicker than trying to find your way in via logging roads.

10-30-2008, 08:42 AM
I think we are talking about two different roads. I know nothing about a logging road or its navigability by auto that runs to near Eddy Pond on the south side of Saddleback. Mark J, Michael J & Raymond are referring to this road. So I gave the info for the logging road from the east that runs to the north of Orbeton Stream (close to Perham Stream) as an alternate.

10-30-2008, 08:49 AM
Indeed - we are talking about two different roads. Sorry if I led anyone astray with my poor wording in that regard.

10-30-2008, 08:57 AM
The road I was referring to is marked "4WD" on USGS maps and crosses the AT on the shore of Eddy Pond (by a clearing that shows evidence of camping).

I think it's less than three miles of flat and easy hiking along the AT from route 4 to that point. I did it with an overnight pack up to the Piazza Rock campsite, dropped my stuff (except for lunch: some eggs that turned out not to be hard-boiled, but that's another story) and hiked Saddleback and the Horn as a sunset hike.
I wouldn't risk my sedan on an unknown road to save that distance, but I'll risk McRat's truck anytime :)

10-30-2008, 01:20 PM
Some confusion. Are the ski area trails to summit usable?? Some posters indicate they have used, but another says that they are closed to hikers. Which is it?? Or if they are 'closed', do you use them anyhow??

10-30-2008, 02:05 PM
Saddleback's ski trails do not go all the way to the summit. In order to get to the summit, one generally takes a hiking trail off a ski trail over to the AT, then to the top from there. There is construction in the area of that hiking trail / ski trail junction, and for safety's sake no hiking is allowed through that spot. Don't use them anyhow. If they're not working when you go up but are working when you try to come down, you're going to be stuck and/or really tick off a bunch of people.

10-30-2008, 03:47 PM
When I last hiked here there was a trail network to the west of the main ski trails at Saddleback, at the time I believe they were used for backcountry skiing. They eventually led to the AT and the summit .

Since then I expect there have been some relocations but I think it would be more productive, and fun, to navigate the ski trails and periphery than to potentially waste time on the logging roads where wet or other conditions, or perhaps a gate, could delay your trip further.

As peakbagger says, it's not that long to go the AT from rt. 4, either.

10-30-2008, 05:07 PM
It's never NEVER a good idea to use logging roads trying to get closer to summit with your car.

Please stay on well maintained roads, always use the most common trailheads, it is so much more secure.

And, the most important thing to remember, if you use alternative options, don't write about it on internet forums.

10-31-2008, 09:30 AM
Thanks to all for the info.

I might want to explore the other options when there is more daylight, but for now, I'll plan on taking the traditional route up the AT from Rt 4.

If our group gets to enjoy a headlamp finish, the last couple of miles look fairly easy anyways.

Soon I hope to stand on Saddleback Horn and shout, "The list is dead! Long live the new list!"

11-01-2008, 04:20 PM
Because I brought it up in here...word on RoT is the construction has ended and the ski area's all open for hiking again.