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Thread: Last Minute Trip To Bigelow, ME

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Last Minute Trip To Bigelow, ME

    My friend's son is graduating from high school in Bethel, ME this week and he has a cabin at a campground near there until SAT AM. I'm going to head up there FRI morning to hang out with them and then I'm thinking SAT AM I might drive up to Bigelow and hike the ridge. Thinking I will just take the AT from Rte 27 and just go up to the ridge out and back this way. Does anyone know if there is a parking area at that AT crossing? The satellite shows a road that looks like parking but there isn't a single car in it on the imagery so not sure if it is public parking or a private area of some sort. Does anyone know for sure on that? If that isn't parking what is my next best option? Don't know the area at all.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    In winter we parked on Stratton Pond Brk Rd.

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    Senior Member jrbren's Avatar
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    I have done it a few times in May, I do not recall parking being an issue. Looking at Google maps I did the same thing or something similar to JoshandBaron. I pulled off onto a side dirt road (I see that is called Stratton Pond Brk rd) and passed a few houses and drove for about a mile or two to the road's end there was a decent size parking area. It crossed the AT about half way there. I did not park at the AT, but at the road's end. It is easy to see on the AMC guide book map which I do not have in front of me. I assume you are talking about doing the loop of the two peaks and hitting the horns (I think one of the trails has "Fire Warden" in the name. It one of the best hikes in NE, IMHO. At least it was a few years ago, the last time I was there (2011?) there were the starts of a wind farm not too far away. I know you are experienced from your posts here and that Maine had a huge snow year, so snow on the ridge is not out of the question.

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    FYI - Hiking the entire ridge is long day with long road walk at the end of the day. The most popular loop is parking at Stratton Pond Brook Road and then take the firewardens trail to a junction with a trail that runs to Horns Pond. Then hike the ridge to the Avery Col campsite where the Firewardens Trail meets the ridgeline. Add in a short out and back to Avery Peak and then down the Firewardens trail.

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    Senior Member jrbren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    FYI - Hiking the entire ridge is long day with long road walk at the end of the day. The most popular loop is parking at Stratton Pond Brook Road and then take the firewardens trail to a junction with a trail that runs to Horns Pond. Then hike the ridge to the Avery Col campsite where the Firewardens Trail meets the ridgeline. Add in a short out and back to Avery Peak and then down the Firewardens trail.
    This is probably what I did, I popped up on the ridge at a camping area (hit or miss whether it was snow covered in late May), then the short out & back to one of the peaks, then hike the ridge (over the other Bigelow peak) to the horns (bushwack the Horn peaks), then drop down to horns pond and hit a side trail back to the car, I would guess it was about 10 miles, a good day out but nothing extraordinary. Although my legs were generally rubber for that hike as it was following the Sugarloaf road races. But that was several years and 25 pounds ago.

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    Senior Member Scubahhh's Avatar
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    Looking at my old map on Gaia I made a nice loop by parking on Stratton Pond Rd. right by the pond (there's a lot with plenty of space) and taking the Fire Warden Trail to Avery Shelter; north on the AT to Myron H Avery peak (4049'); then backtracking south on the AT to West Peak (4009')and South Peak (3474'); then a little spur to The Horns and North Peak (3793'); continuing south on the AT to Horn Pond; and back tot he car on Horns Pond Trail. 13 miles, 4000', 6 hours with a little break for lunch, and a great time. I hihgly recommend it!
    Add life to your years!

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    FYI - Hiking the entire ridge is long day with long road walk at the end of the day. The most popular loop is parking at Stratton Pond Brook Road and then take the firewardens trail to a junction with a trail that runs to Horns Pond. Then hike the ridge to the Avery Col campsite where the Firewardens Trail meets the ridgeline. Add in a short out and back to Avery Peak and then down the Firewardens trail.
    There was a trail report recently about this route still having a lot of snow and being tricky so that was why I was avoiding. That same report also made the Stratton Pond Brook Rd sound like it was in rough shape and not passable all the way to the Summer point. So I figured I'd just play safe and park on Rte 27 if that was indeed a lot.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrbren View Post
    I have done it a few times in May, I do not recall parking being an issue. Looking at Google maps I did the same thing or something similar to JoshandBaron. I pulled off onto a side dirt road (I see that is called Stratton Pond Brk rd) and passed a few houses and drove for about a mile or two to the road's end there was a decent size parking area. It crossed the AT about half way there. I did not park at the AT, but at the road's end. It is easy to see on the AMC guide book map which I do not have in front of me. I assume you are talking about doing the loop of the two peaks and hitting the horns (I think one of the trails has "Fire Warden" in the name. It one of the best hikes in NE, IMHO. At least it was a few years ago, the last time I was there (2011?) there were the starts of a wind farm not too far away. I know you are experienced from your posts here and that Maine had a huge snow year, so snow on the ridge is not out of the question.
    A loop was not what I intended. Was going to go up AT from Rte 27 just South of town, climb to I think Cranberry Pond and then across to Avery, back and down with the side trip to the Horn. I don't have the Maine maps. Was looking at Caltopo and satellite.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    There was a trail report recently about this route still having a lot of snow and being tricky so that was why I was avoiding. That same report also made the Stratton Pond Brook Rd sound like it was in rough shape and not passable all the way to the Summer point. So I figured I'd just play safe and park on Rte 27 if that was indeed a lot.
    This LIVE webcam on Sugarloaf shows the Bigs at a distance. No obvious snow in sight.

    cb
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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    This LIVE webcam on Sugarloaf shows the Bigs at a distance. No obvious snow in sight.

    cb
    Trail reports from 5/26 still mention lots of snow in the trees. Could have changed in past week though I guess.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    There is a large parking lot on Rt 27 (south side) at the AT crossing. As others have mentioned, using Stratton Pond Rd (just west of the AT crossing at rt 27) takes you to a large parking lot. However, last spring that road was flooded ( about 6 inches deep) due to a beaver dam near the beginning of the road. I do know its still very wet up there, I'll be mtn biking this weekend at Sugarloaf and at least half of the trails are still closed due to the amount of snow & rain this spring.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    There's a beautiful tentsite overlooking Stratton Brook Pond at the trailhead if you want to get an early start.

    I think most people do this loop clockwise as a few have described. Scubbah's route is identical except counterclockwise. Which you choose probably depends on your priority for bagging Avery and West Peak. That and the entire ridge is very exposed and the weather forecast may determine your route as there is no bailout between Horns Pond and Firewarden's Trails.

    We did this hike many years ago in mid June. It was a beautiful day but the windiest hike I ever experienced. There were a couple short instances we literally had to crawl! Also, there was still some snow in patches but nothing effecting the hike.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTskier View Post
    There is a large parking lot on Rt 27 (south side) at the AT crossing. As others have mentioned, using Stratton Pond Rd (just west of the AT crossing at rt 27) takes you to a large parking lot. However, last spring that road was flooded ( about 6 inches deep) due to a beaver dam near the beginning of the road. I do know its still very wet up there, I'll be mtn biking this weekend at Sugarloaf and at least half of the trails are still closed due to the amount of snow & rain this spring.
    Excellent. Thanks. I figured it had to be a lot on satellite but I don't think I've ever seen a satellite of a parking area with no cars in it so I wondered if it was private.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    Only word that hasn't been said already is "blackflies". Hiked the Bigelows first week of June a few years back and they were out in force. May not be as many this year with a later melt-out, but would be prepared.
    --would rather be hiking than typing.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weatherman View Post
    Only word that hasn't been said already is "blackflies". Hiked the Bigelows first week of June a few years back and they were out in force. May not be as many this year with a later melt-out, but would be prepared.
    One other word... "Horn." You'll never be closer!

    cb
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    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
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