View Full Version : Snow Mt. , Chain of Ponds, ME - 7/1/12

07-02-2012, 10:03 PM
Snow Mt. , Chain of Ponds, ME - 7/1/12
(Penobscot Land)

Road Directions from Stratton / Eustis:
-Rt. 27 north
-proceed 10 miles north of Cathedral Pines Campground
-Left turn onto North Road (dirt) (aka Round Mt. Pond Road)
-Travel for 5 miles, basically straight, ignoring all of the numerous left and right logging roads
-At 5 miles, come to a grassy, "end-of-the line" parking area

Trail directions:

An old ATV trail proceeds out of the right corner of the grassy turn-around. (It is now signed, prohibiting ATV's.) This main ATV trail takes a fairly immediate left, down and across a steep embankment and brook. (Do not go straight! This is a newer ATV path... created it seems, because the bridge over the brook was taken out and the ATV's were looking for way across.)

Proceed about 2 miles towards Snow Mt. Pond. At about 2655', there is a major fork; turn right. You'll see a small sign for "Snow Mt. Pond" nailed to a tree. There is an immediate second fork, and again, go right.. walking around blowdowns.

As you get within .15 of the pond (2820') a new ATV trail bisects the hiking trail. Go straight if you want to see the pond. But turn right on the ATV trail if you want to avoid walking along the flooded and muddy trails along the pond's edge. (The ATV trail rejoins the hiking trail at 3040'.) We went straight, and paid the price, as I wanted to see the pond. And indeed, the trails were majorly flooded by beaver activity.

Once at the pond, turn right and travel along the north side of the pond. At the NW corner of the pond, you'll pick up the trail up to the summit. It climbs steeply now at times. There were numerous blowdowns and attempts at flagging. The trail was easy to follow, but it was evident that there has been no maintenance in a long time.

At 3800' a trail comes in from the west that leads to Big Island Pond. (There was a recent log entry from two fellows that had used this route.)

Close to the summit there is one spot with really nice views south.

Although I had read reports about the ruins of the fire tower, I was surprised by how "littered" it seemed. Decaying wood, aluminum window frames, rotting hut, marine / car battery, propane tanks (some still have gas in them) and broken glass dampened my generally positive mood. Yuck. In the log, many had written about climbing the ladder on the tower skeleton for a view, but we were soaked and everything seemed slippery, so we stayed put on terra firma, not wanting to press our luck and get hurt way the heck out here.

On the descent, we turned left at 3040' onto the much drier ATV trail, which rejoined the hiking trail as described above.

All in all, it takes just under 2 hours to climb, and about 1 1/2 hours to descend. Trails were wet and muddy.. and it was buggy. Plan your footwear accordingly!

Beth Zimmer
btzimr at gmail dot com

07-02-2012, 10:10 PM
Ah, where I finished it all. My last list. Ever. Really.

Great job, Beth! You are making the most of your time in Maine!

07-02-2012, 10:40 PM
After the 48... and the 48W.... there was 52wav, and I started (and finished) the NHHH, because I hated driving out of state to hike. But the NEHH will fall.. and there's always so much more to hike out there!!

07-03-2012, 07:35 AM
Nicely done! The tower ladder views are truly worth it; however, I wouldn't go there solely for that, given the equal views but extra amazingingness of Abraham and the Bigelows.

Hope you have/had an opportunity to hit up the Orange Cat Cafe in Kingfield apres-hike. Awesome coffee, awesome sandwiches.

07-04-2012, 03:51 PM
I've never gone all the way into Kingfield... but Steve, two friends and I are heading back up to Stratton in a few weeks... will tuck that recommendation aside :-) thanks.

07-05-2012, 05:59 AM
Its sad to here about the condtions on the summit. When I climbed it years ago, the cab was on top of the tower and in excellent condition. The windows were even intact.

07-05-2012, 06:28 AM
Back in 2005 the cab was actually already in the process of collapsing around the floorboards of the tower, the windows were gone, and it was bad enough that I was afraid to stand under it.


07-05-2012, 07:57 AM
Once the roof goes, its not long until the rest of the structure is history. I think the Big Island pond camps used to keep an eye on it.