Sawtelle Falls, on Sawtelle Brook in unnamed township T6R7 WELS, northern Penobscot County, is at the end of an out-and-back trail departing from Scraggly Lake Road, a narrow woods road off the north side of Grand Lake Road. Remember: WELS just means “West of the Easterly Line of the State,” the straight north-south line of the U.S.-Canadian border in northern Maine that extends from Hamlin to Amity, and is a reference for unorganized territory. The trailhead, east of Baxter State Park’s north gate, is a short drive from both Shin Falls and the Seboeis River Trails, and the three waterfall hikes can easily be completed in an afternoon. Following the falls, Sawtelle Brook flows south to meet with the Seboeis River, which is then joined by Shin Brook as it flows further south.
Scraggly Lake Road crosses Sawtelle Brook over a bridge which was decorated with an elaborately constructed scarecrow on the mid-September day I hiked. The trailhead is shortly after this bridge on the right hand side. A detailed description and map are available in the book Hiking Waterfalls Maine. A smaller brook passed over the trail through a log bridge that turned into a sluice. I surprised a downy woodpecker, and then twenty yards later, saw the flash of a white tail as a flicker yelped and flew away. The trail was hopelessly flooded at about a quarter of a mile, and I made my way through the woods on the perimeter. The smell of pine and cedar combined to make a scent approximating iced tea.
Walking up the hill, I started to hear the roaring of the falls. I was briefly surrounded by golden-crowned kinglets, whose high-pitched call I had not heard before. A massive white pine with a Kindle No Fires In This Area sign tacked on it marks the final approach to Sawtelle Falls. The water cascades down in steps on the right side ending in a larger falls, and a frothy pool which is accessible if you climb down and scramble down the rocky bank. As I was hiking out, three fishermen were hiking in, so this could be a good spot to try your luck with a fly rod. The total out-and-back hike is only about half a mile, and easily completed in half an hour.
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