The Bigelows

Date of Hike:  8/30/15

Road Walk:  0.4 miles  /  Fire Wardens Trail: 1.6 miles  /  Horns Pond Trail: 2.3 miles  /  Appalachian Trail:  3.9 miles  /  Fire Wardens Trail:  4.1 miles  /  Road Walk: 0.4 miles
Total Miles: 13.1 miles (4,094 feet elevation gained)

Trip Report:
- On Sunday, Whitney and I headed up to the Bigelow Mountain Range to hike some of Maine's 4K peaks.  It would be my first time hiking these mountains and Whitney's second time as she hiked them last year during her Appalachian Trail thru-hike.
- We started our hike along Stratton Brook Road a few tenths of a mile from the start of the Fire Wardens Trail.  Once on the Fire Wardens Trail we hiked over mostly easy grades on an old road followed by a nice trail up through the woods to the Horns Pond Trail.
-  The Horns Pond Trail was a real treat to hike, it was a pretty trail that gradually climbed up to the ridge, passing by an open boggy area with a great view up to South Horn.
-  Once gaining the ridge we hooked onto the Appalachian Trail at the Horns Pond Campsite located at Horns Pond.  From the campsite we hiked steeply up into the clouds and checked out both peaks of the Horn (North and South).  I was pretty bummed to have no views but was hoping the weather would clear off on our way to West Peak of Bigelow Mountain.
- The hike between South Horn and West Peak was a nice hike with a few up and downs along the way.  As we climbed up to West Peak the clouds blew off and we had some pretty decent views from the open summit area.  From west Peak we dropped down steeply into Bigelow Col before making our way up to Avery Peak of Bigelow Mountain.  Once again the clouds were just high enough that we had views in every direction, it was hazy so we couldn't see far but still had excellent views down to Flagstaff Lake, which is a huge body of water.
- After taking a nice break on the summit we headed back down to the col and then out via the Fire Wardens Trail.  The first mile descending the ridge was super steep, luckily there are several rock steps in place along the trail making it easier to not lose ones balance or have a slip, but it does do a number on your knees.
- Once past the steep section we cruised back to the trailhead and made our way to the Cathedral Pines Campground just up the road in Eustis.
- I definitely want to revisit these peaks in the fall and winter when the air is clearer so I can catch a glimpse of Katahdin from the ridge!

Starting out hiking to Stratton Brook Pond to the Fire Wardens Trail

The first mile of the trail is over an old road then it gradually heads up and becomes a regular hiking trail

Horns Pond Trail was a great hike up to the ridge through a lush green forest

South Horn from a boggy area on the Horns Pond Trail

Hiking along the Appalachian Trail

Horns Pond and the day use lean-to which was built in 1936

Horns Pond Campsite and the leave no trace Bigfoot!

Heading up the Horns the trail gets rocky and steep

Clouds starting to clear off as we head towards West Peak of Bigelow

The clouds clear off, looking back  toward the Horns 

West Peak's summit area

Sugarloaf ski area under a very heavy overcast

The Bigelow Range

Whitney heads down to Bigelow Col with Avery Peak in view

Bigelow Col , Myron Avery Tentsite

The contaminated Spring Box

Avery Peak

Flagstaff Lake

Descending the steep upper half of fire Wardens Trail

 Lower end of the Fire Wardens Trail

View of the Bigelow Range and our tentsite from Cathedral Pines Campground 

Dusk under the tall pine trees

Signs spotted along the way

Route for the day, click here for details


  1. I did this same loop last year completely socked in with clouds. Even without the views, this is a great loop over some nice trails.

    1. I agree, I really liked the trails. I'm happy the views opened up during the day and hope to get back up there soon :)