Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary
GOOD FOR: Ages 9-12
RATING:


Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:Mountain Road, Monson
Hours:Dawn to dusk
Fee: $5 nonmembers over 6; free for Audubon Society members
Contact:

Maine Audubon, 207-631-4050 (June–September), 207-781-2330 (October–May), maineaudubon.org/find-us/borestone-mountain-sanctuary/
 

Bathrooms: Up the trail 0.8 mile
Water/Snacks: None
Map:

USGS Barren Mountain West quad; mainetrailfinder.com/trails/trail/borestone-mountain-audubon-sanctuary; Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 41 (DeLorme)
 


Hike through old forest to a seasonal pond-side nature center and scramble to a baldface summit with 360-degree views of the 100-Mile Wilderness.

Father and daughter take a moment to celebrate their accomplishment at the summit of Borestone Mountain.

Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary is a hidden jewel at the southern end of Maine’s celebrated 100-Mile Wilderness, a greenway running along the Appalachian Trail corridor from Moosehead Lake to Baxter Park that the Appalachian Mountain Club and its partners are tirelessly working to protect. The sanctuary’s 1,600 acres include rare old forest, sparkling ponds, exposed mountain peaks, and spectacular views.

Start the hike up Borestone via 0.8-mile Base Trail, which begins from the first kiosk on the shale-covered access road at the sanctuary’s entrance gate. The trail begins steeply at first, though soon levels as it meanders up through mature forest. Wildlife here is abundant: raccoons, owls, and woodpeckers nest in tree cavities; pine martens hunt for red squirrels; and goshawks fly overhead, searching for grouse. Base Trail intersects a gravel road at its terminus. Here, turn left to reach the Audubon Nature Center and Summit Trail.
The nature center—with interpretive displays and information about the area’s natural and human history—is open most days between Memorial Day and Columbus Day, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Children will enjoy listening for bullfrogs or searching for leopard frogs and red-spotted newts on the shore of Sunrise Pond, just outside the center’s doors. Picnic tables and benches surround the center. When hiking with young children, this may be the best turnaround spot. If you are seeking the summit, consider this scenic rest stop a fueling station
for the strenuous climb ahead.

From the nature center, well-marked Summit Trail curves for 1.0 mile around the southern shore of Sunrise Pond. Poison ivy here can be abundant, and caution signs warn against going off-trail. The trail climbs steeply through spruce forest with the aid of more than 100 stone steps.

The final ascent to the West Peak is over exposed, green-blazed rock; keep the green triangles in sight to stay on-trail. Be prepared to use your whole body to climb in a few places, particularly where steel hand- and footholds are provided. Though the views from the West Peak are impressive, hike another 0.3 mile on exposed ledge toward the taller East Peak summit, at nearly 2,000 feet. Here, signage identifies many of the visible mountains, ponds, and streams within the impressive 360-degree panorama. Break out the binoculars and scan the shoreline below for moose—they’ve been known to frequent this area. Remember to keep your primary focus on the children, as the baldface summit does have steep ledges that kids should avoid. Retrace your steps down the mountain.

Plan B:

Don’t plan a hike around Borestone without a visit to Little Wilson Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in Maine. (The “little” in its name refers not to the size of the waterfall but to the fact that it’s on Little Wilson Stream.) It boasts multiple great swimming holes, scenic views of the gorge, and a main falls with a drop of more than 50 feet.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Cabins are available for rent within Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary, between Midday and Sunset ponds. For more information and to make reservations, contact Maine Audubon. The town of Monson offers the closest restaurants and provisions.



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