I had first passed the sign for the Seboeis River Trails a year or so ago on the way through northern Penobscot County to Baxter State Park’s north entrance, and made a mental note to check them out. Not much exists online regarding this riverside hike from Grand Lake Road, part of the Seboeis River Gorge Preseve in T6R7 WELS, except the description of a 1.1 mile out-and-back trail along the Seboeis River, ending at the Grand Pitch. I had seen the sign, then saw that it was in the guide book Hiking Waterfalls Maine for the section of ledges at the Grand Pitch. So imagine my surprise to find that this trail now extends 6.75 miles, crossing Shin Brook and following the Seboeis downstream to Grondin Road.
The parking area, marked by a large wooden sign, is on the east bank of the Seboeis, shortly before the north entrance to Baxter State Park. A picnic table and a flat grassy area overlook a bend in the river, and an outhouse is available on a small hill above it in the woods. The trail itself begins across the street, on the south side of Grand Lake Road. On the day I visited, it was muddy and a bit flooded, due to recent rain and the equipment brought in to extend the trail network. The trail construction was ongoing, with a friendly trail steward building a picnic table out of split logs.
The trail transitioned from this muddy woods road to a flat gravel path, and then a foot path marked by red square blazes. This winding path climbed above the riverbank on a small ridge, with a variety of frogs and toads hopping out of my way, and the continuous calls of woodpeckers and songbirds.
The Seboeis becomes louder as it narrows and descends, and the scent of cedars wafts up through the river mist. A portage trail is marked by a sign in a tree for boaters to walk around the rapids. The trail turns inland next to a large rock outcropping and a bend in the river.
After a brief, narrow climb you’ll find yourself on a cliff overlooking the rapids, then a winding trail downward to another bend in the river, at its confluence with Shin Brook. This intersection has a series of clearings with a picnic table, which allows a view of the nearby mountains. A brand new foot bridge leads over Shin Brook. I followed the trail briefly across the bridge where it appeared newly cut and fresh, but needing to get to my Baxter State Park campsite and not having an updated map, I eventually turned back.
On the way back, the piercing call of a northern flicker high up in a pine tree and the songs of blue jays and sparrows blended again with the sounds of the rushing Seboeis River. This will definitely be a hike I return to, to check out the new, longer southern section. The out-and-back to the Grand Pitch, however, is a hugely rewarding one for being only about 2.2 miles, and can be easily done in about an hour.
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