Bald Pate Mountain (Bridgton, ME)

The Lakes Region of Maine surrounding Sebago is a fantastic area for hiking, with many hikes in striking distance of lakefront idylls and other recreation.  Bald Pate Mountain (1,150 ft) is an easy to moderate hike in Bridgton, Maine, with many trail options, comprising 6.7 miles of trails.

On this June morning, I took the Bob Chase Scenic Loop to the summit, then the South Face Loop Trail, returning the same way to the parking lot, for an approximately 3 mile hike (about an hour and fifteen minutes at a relaxed pace).  Bald Pate trails are well-chronicled in the AMC Maine Mountain Guide, and the trail map and descriptions are available online from the Loon Echo Land Trust, which owns and manages the 486 acre Bald Pate Preserve.

Bob Chase Trailhead at the parking lot/kiosk
Bob Chase Trailhead at the parking lot/kiosk.

Approaching Bald Pate from the south on Route 107, you can see the exposed rock that is the mountain’s namesake.  The parking lot is located on the east side of 107, just south of Five Fields Farm and XC Ski Center, at the top of a large hill.  The climb up 107 allowed the car to do a lot of the work of getting to the summit before I even started hiking.

When I arrived, the lot was empty, and a small circle of depressed grass and milkweed next to my car looked like a place where a deer had slept the night before.  I started up the Bob Chase Scenic Loop, with birch trees, lady slippers, wild blueberries, and ferns on either side, and red squirrels chattering loudly.

Views west from the Bob Chase Trail
Views west from the Bob Chase Trail.

A wrong turn took me around a pleasant diversion/backtrack to the other side of the Bob Chase Scenic Loop, and I wound my way back to the summit.  This was not the fault of the trail maintainers, as the Bob Chase Loop is clearly marked in blue, and the South Face Loop is clearly marked in orange.

View from the South Face Loop toward Peabody Pond
View from the South Face Loop toward Peabody Pond.

The summit is easy to reach in 25 minutes or less, with excellent views, and it looks like a riot of wild blueberries awaits those who hike it later in the summer.  The South Face Loop was much more challenging than the Bob Chase Trail, descending steeply, skirting the face of the mountain, and then ascending quickly to rejoin the summit (I thought several times, I already climbed this, didn’t I?).

The Pate Trail is a short, steep (.1 mi with 360 ft of elevation gain) trail connecting the summit to the South Face Loop, and I will have to try this one next time, as well as the Moose Trail, which can create a different loop back to the parking lot.

Don't forget to "tip your bartender."  Conservation takes time and money
Don’t forget to “tip your bartender.”  Conservation takes time and money.

This trail network is connected to the Holt Pond Preserve via the Town Farm Brook Trail, which descends northeast to the Holt Pond Trail, a link which could create a much longer hike in a very different environment (bog walkway). The Bald Pate summit is a nice, short hike, suitable for most age and skill levels, with great vistas along the way.

Pleasant Mountain (Bridgton, ME)

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Pleasant Mountain (2,006 ft) is a mountain in Bridgton right next to Shawnee Peak ski area, with trails mostly on land owned by the Loon Echo Land Trust (see for maps).  In preparation for our 100 Mile Wilderness trek, dad/daughter, along with our cousin, hiked Pleasant Mountain on April 23, 2017, via the (moderate) Southwest Ridge Trail, 5.8 miles up/back.  Map and description are also available in the stellar Maine Mountain Guide.

We had hiked this mountain before via the Ledges Trail from the east, and enjoyed the new approach from the west, as the ridge hike gave us wonderful views on the way up, including at the Southwest Summit (1,900 ft).  The parking area on Denmark Road was easy to find, and it was a fairly steady climb to the top, with a steeper climb once we reached the junction with the Ledges Trail for the last .2 miles to the top.  A wooden teepee structure near the Southwest Summit made for a photo op.

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A mix of sun and shade and elevation gave us different challenges throughout the hike.  A depressed area in the section between the Southwest Summit and Pleasant Mountain Summit was a vernal pool, with incredibly loud peepers, but also a heavy covering of snow.  We also saw our first ticks of the year.  The pool gave us our first chance to use our water filtration system, the MSR Sweetwater.  A couple of pumps produced clear, cold water.

As seen above in the photo of us on the summit, the views of the White Mountains to the west, particularly Mount Washington, are wonderful on warm, clear days like this one.  An old fire tower still stands on the summit.  Snow covered the Whites, and some hikers we met said that places like Crawford Notch were covered in several feet of snow.  Glacier or not, daughter jumped into Long Lake on the way back to “cool off,” and cousin had to get in, as well, as a dare is a dare.  Dad doesn’t get into lakes two days after ice-out (4/21/2017).