Hiking Big Moose Mountain in Moosehead Lake, Maine
Big Moose Mountain is also known as Big Squaw Mountain. It’s one of if not the highest peak in that region. It’s a great hike in all seasons. I have friends that hike up to the top and ski or snowboard down pas where the ski lift takes you. It’s a great beginner’s mountain for skiing, hiking, or snowboarding! Add it to your list.
Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit
When the Moosehead Lake Chamber launched the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit last year, I was thrilled! My family spends a lot of time camping on Moosehead and having a peak bagging challenge to tackle was just the challenge I needed to liven up our camping weekends. If you are looking for the ultimate camping destination, Moosehead lake has everything you’re looking for! We camp on Moosehead every Fourth of July for a few days (read more about our Moosehead Lake camping adventures here) and with my son getting older and enjoying hiking more and more with each step, I figured we were ready for something bigger so we set our sights on Big Moose Mountain.
After a quick camp breakfast at our campsite at Lily Bay State Park, we hopped in the car and headed for the trail. The trailhead to Big Moose Mountain is just outside of Greenville on the North Rd. The North Rd. is a dirt road, like most roads to Maine mountains, but is in good shape and easily handled by a passenger car. You can find more detailed directions here.
The trail was moderate and somewhat muddy for the first mile as it wound through the forest and then started to climb steadily and then more steeply up stone steps. My sister-in-law and I kept my son motivated as the trail became more difficult. The key to hiking with kids is to play games and have a lighthearted approach – play games (alphabet games, guess who), stop at every point of interest (bridges, waterfalls, scenic views etc), balance on fallen trees, limbo under or leap over blow downs, assign jobs. A few jobs that I assign on the trail are the Leader, Toastmaster- responsible for drink breaks, Snackmaster- decides when it’s time for a snack and #PlacesI’vePeed- You get the idea.
Where the trail started to climb, we encountered the abandoned firewarden’s cabin which was a nice point of interest. Shortly after a small brook crossing, we climbed a steeper ascent to the scenic outlook which had views of the Bigelows to the west and of Moosehead and the Hundred Mile Wilderness to the east. We had only a half mile or so to the summit from here so we took off and walked along the wooded ridgeline until we reached the rocky summit opening where we had views of Katahdin and the other Baxter State Park peaks and sweeping views of the Hundred Mile Wilderness and surrounding peaks. The summit sits at 3,196′ so became the tallest peak that Dresden had ever climbed (next up a 4000 footer).
At the summit, we had a few snacks, took some pictures and checked out the helipad just past the summit. Heading down the mountain is always much quicker than you think it will be and we were back at the car in no time and took a quick trip to Indian Hill. Indian Hill Trading Post is the best stop in the Moosehead region and has everything you need and lots of things you probably don’t (read: shoes, lots of shoes!). After picking up some sundries, we headed back to camp for lunch and some hammock time.
Big Moose Mountain is a great hike that is only 4 miles roundtrip, with gorgeous views it’s definitely worth the trip. Have you started the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit? How many peaks are left on your list?
Wishing you blue skies and open summits!