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Thread: Saddleback And Abraham In Maine

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Saddleback And Abraham In Maine

    So I'm interested in climbing Saddleback and Abraham in Maine and I discovered that the map set included with the AMC Maine Guide does not cover these areas for some reason despite covering other areas East and West of these mountains. So I went to CalTopo for a reference and the Forest Service Maps don't show either trails and/or roads for some of this area. If I recall correctly Saddleback Ski Area is still closed so I wasn't sure about access via their roads and trails from a legal and logistical perspective (i.e. gated roads, etc).

    So what would be the "de facto" approaches to these summits and are there any year round roads that get within reasonable range of trail heads? Was thinking about this for Columbus Day weekend. And I guess as a secondary question, it sounds like any campgrounds in the area would be closed so is "at large" camping in these areas permissible? Appreciate any info. Thanks in advance.
    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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    OK so I think I half answered my own question. I zoomed in and followed the map from a city and it looks like there is a lot for the AT on Rte 4 to climb Saddleback. Looks to be approx 6.5 miles out to the Horn past Saddleback. So I presume that would be the way to go. So I guess I just need info on Abraham. Sorry.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    Can also take the Berrypickers trail up.

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    Junior Member JB's Avatar
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    My hiking partner and I hiked Abraham as an out and back. Most people we met up with while hiking the ME 4,000 footers did Abraham as part of a traverse with Sugarloaf and Spaulding, but you'd need to car spot to accomplish this.

    We also climbed Saddleback and the Horn as an out and back. Both of these hikes were done in early/mid-October and were spectacular.

    If memory serves, the road to Abraham trail head was a little tricky on the way in, look for rustic signs showing you the way. We went the wrong way at one point. Saddleback parking was no problem, we climbed a ski trail. My notes say it was called "Grey Ghost" trail.

    We stayed at the no-frills Dear Farm Campground. It should still be open. The owners are excellent. When we hiked the Bigelows we stayed at Cathedral Pines Campground, one of the nicer campgrounds I've stayed at, but it was probably 50ish miles from Saddleback.

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    The natgeo map sets of the AT covers that section pretty well.

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    Member Kyle D's Avatar
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    Found the ski trails up to the Saddlebacks much more enjoyable than most other ski trail hikes. Went in early July and the Lupines were in full bloom - thousands and thousands covering the lower slopes with the trail winding through. Ski area is closed but access road is good and open. http://4000footers.com/saddleback.shtml

    Just did Abraham a few weeks ago as part of an out and back traverse from Caribou Pond Rd. Long hike to do it that way but easy miles and Abraham is certainly the highlight peak of that area. Saw a few hikers on Abraham who had taken the Fire Wardens trail up and they said the road access was fine and they really enjoyed the trail.

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    Abraham is pretty simple via the firewardens trail. The biggest challenge is the drive to the trailhead via a logging road which varies year to year. There is also a bridge that has washed out in the past which made the walk a bit longer.

    Saddleback via RT 4 is nice out and back. The hike up from Eddy Pond is typical Maine straight up with no switchbacks. If out are adding Saddleback Horn it adds some distance, about 2 1/4 miles round trip over mostly above treeline boulders. I have heard good things of the new Berry pickers trail from the south but haven't done it. I think the ski area road is still open as the ownership hasn't changed. There are privately owned ski home and condos near the base so the road would need to be open for them to access their properties.

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    The Wilderness Map Company publishes a nice map of the Rangeley region, including the 4000 footers. It does not include the 100 Highest "six-pack" just to the North. I haven't been up there in a few years, but I believe that you are still allowed to park at the Saddleback Lodge and hike up to the peak. The out-and-back to the Horn is a great hike and above treeline most of the way. The "Berry Picker's Trail" is not on that map for some reason, but there is information about it on Maine Trail Finder. Here's information about Abraham via the Firewarden Trail.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the excellent information.
    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 Kyle D View Post

    Just did Abraham a few weeks ago as part of an out and back traverse from Caribou Pond Rd. .
    Is that the same thing as the Caribou Pond Snowmobile Trail? I don't see a road by that name but there is a lengthy snowmobile track by that name on MapBuilder layer.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Caribou Pond Road goes in the NNW side of Sugarloaf, Spaulding and Abraham.

    I thought I read somewhere that the bridge on the way to the Firewarden's Trail was repaired. Should be able to drive further than I did in 2015:



    Tim
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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    Caribou Pond Road goes in the NNW side of Sugarloaf, Spaulding and Abraham.

    I thought I read somewhere that the bridge on the way to the Firewarden's Trail was repaired. Should be able to drive further than I did in 2015:



    Tim
    OK. Thanks.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  13. #13
    Senior Member Tim Horn's Avatar
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    Caribou Pond Road is usually the road in best condition - Average hiker can get Sugarloaf, Spaulding and Abraham in one day and its a real nice hike. Ending at a cold brook. Uber hikers utilizing the bushwhack from the Mt. Spaulding shelter can get the Carrabaset six pack in one long day.
    Fire wardens trail is also a nice hike but the road is usually more iffy for a sedan. If you have a 4x4 that you like to drive off road there is another option. I have seen hunters drive all the way up to and past the AT crossing West of Spaulding and into Caribou ponds. That makes it possible to get Abraham from the AT West of Spaulding. If you are in Maine and looking to do the Hundred Highest after this you would do well to buy a DeLorme. Not much else is as reliable when it comes to logging roads.

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    +1 for the Berry Pickers trail to Saddleback and the Horn. The info shown in Maine Trail Finder seems accurate to me. The access has been sketchy in the past but most recent reports imply that the access problems have been repaired. Berry Pickers Trail and Firewarden (Abraham) certainly offer the least distance between trailheads. CVR to Saddleback ski area is not a quick trip.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    So I'm interested in climbing Saddleback and Abraham in Maine...
    If you do Abraham via Fire Warden's trail, consider adding the short n easy bushwhack over to Middle Abe.

    You'll never be closer and after the 4ks the 100 are usually inevitable.

    cb
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