Rumford Whitecap Mountain (2,214 ft) in Rumford is accessible through trails maintained by the Mahoosuc Land Trust (MLT), for a 4.9 mile out/back to the summit (slightly longer than five miles due to a trail diversion), or a longer traverse over Black Mountain via the Black/White Trail (requires spotting a car). MLT’s website advertises Rumford Whitecap as a four-season destination for hiking, snowshoeing, and back country skiing, with blueberries in the summer. I ascended via the Connector to the Starr Trail (marked with yellow blazes and flagging tape), and returned via the Red/Orange Trail. I used the guidebooks Maine Mountain Guide and Maine Hikes Off the Beaten Path for detailed trail maps and descriptions. You can also find a map on the AllTrails app or Maine Trailfinder (link at the MLT website above).
Both trails, divided by a pleasantly running brook in a valley between them, were muddy, but well-maintained. The Connector crossed the brook, with spring runoff created small waterfalls along the way. Recent rains created a morning fog, but had also spurred the growth of a variety of wildflowers from the trailhead to the summit.
The Starr Trail transitioned from a grassy woods road to a winding climb, becoming more strenuous as the deciduous forest changed to a more sparse, rocky pine forest, and opened up on ledges with spectacular views of the Mahoosucs and White Mountains.
After the junction with the Red/Orange Trail, the summit was only about another .5 miles, hopping over small cool rivulets of water running down the exposed rock face. Close to the summit, there was what appeared to be a large deposit of bear poop, but a quick look around didn’t disclose any prints. The summit itself is open in all directions, and a great spot for a picnic.
After a brief rest at the summit to enjoy the view and chew on some jerky, I headed down the Red/Orange Trail. The trail ran like a creek in places, with the spring rains, and was diverted for a section. The hike took about two and a half hours, with plenty of stops to listen to birdsong, inspect wildflowers, watch bumblebees at work, and pick up and inspect pieces of quartz.