Seboeis River Trails

Picnic area at trailhead, Seboeis River Trails, T6R7 WELS, ME

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.

Seboeis River Trails, T6R7 WELS, ME

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.

Rustic bench under cedars, Seboeis River Trails, T6R7 WELS, ME

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.

Seboeis River Trails, T6R7 WELS, ME

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.

Grand Pitch, Seboeis River Trails, T6R7 WELS, ME

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.

Seboeis River meets Shin Brook, Seboeis River Trails, T6R7 WELS, ME

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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Shin Falls

Shin Falls, T6R7 WELS, Maine

The bulk of Sugarloaf Mountain rises above the dirt Shin Brook Falls Road (marked with a handwritten wooden sign), a left turn from the Patten area off Grand Lake Road just before the Seboeis River. Parking is available in an open area at the first hard right turn (1/3 mile) in the road, with the trail marked in the same way. These handwritten “Trail” or “To Falls” boards are the signage on this 3/4 mile total hike near Shin Pond Village (actual location is T6R7 WELS), and were vaguely reminiscent of internet memes with a sign scrawled “Candy” next to an abandoned building. A map and full description (along with many other Maine waterfall hikes) are found in the book Hiking Waterfalls Maine.

Shin Falls from above, Shin Brook, T6R7 WELS, Maine

The trail down to Shin Falls was wet and flooded, and the sound of chattering red squirrels was quickly drowned out by that of rushing water, audible immediately after climbing a small rise in the trail, leading to a downhill grade. The falls are truly impressive from above, and a hike of less than half a mile will take you to the base, where you can look up at the rushing torrent. After recent late-summer storms, the falls were overflowing the banks, and the leaves of the trees left standing were bent back in the cool breeze created by falling water. The pool at the base of the falls can be a swimming hole, but was likely too swift and full of debris on this day to be safe. A small winding footpath took me back up to the trailhead, amid the sounds of chickadees and pileated woodpeckers.

Shin Falls, T6R7 WELS, Maine

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, and as an Amazon Associate Hiking in Maine blog earns from qualifying purchases.)