You are currently viewing Beginner’s Guide to Borestone Mountain in Moosehead Lake, Maine

Beginner’s Guide to Borestone Mountain in Moosehead Lake, Maine

Hiking in the Moosehead Lake Region

Borestone Mountain is a favorite for us! It’s quick and easy to get there from the Greater Bangor region, and the hike never fails to disappoint! We recommend you adding this to your hiking bucket list! Looking for other things to do when you’re in Moosehead? Call our friends at Destination Moosehead Lake!  For this run down, here’s how it started – It was a beautiful late spring day in April and I decided to tackle a mountain that had been on my list FORRR-EVVV-ERRR – Borestone Mountain!  Borestone is a mountain it seems like everyone that has grown up in Maine has a story about, so it had been on my mind for years. We didn’t want to spend the whole day hiking, so Borestone was a perfect solution at 3.4 miles round trip.  My friends who joined me are Lindsey who has recently become a hiking partner, (I met her on Katahdin and we became good friends soon thereafter) and my friend Ethan, who has his own YouTube channel – Ethan Out the Door! 

Trail Stats:

Parking: There’s a parking lot at the trailhead! There ins’t bathroom access, so know before you go 🙂 Distance: 3.4 Miles round trip Time out: 3 – 4 hours Elevation: 1,374 ft. elevation gain Level: Beginner to Intermediate Kids: Bring em! Dogs: Not allowed in the sanctuary Borestone has been a local favorite for years, and recently, Destination Moosehead Lake has developed a very cool challenge to showcase the beautiful assets of Greenville and Moosehead, called the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit. You can find out more info here.  We’re slowly working our way through the summits and we plan to finish all of the Challenges – Basic, plus the Winter, Ultra, and the Winter Ultra. You know we love a challenge! For directions to Borestone and more resources, head on over to the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit site here. We hit the trailhead around 9 and began our journey. It’s a 3.5 mile trail round trip, so it’s great for a day hike. Side note: there’s no bathrooms for quite a while, so pee before you leave civilization f it’s off season! You hike a bit into the trail before you get direction as to which way to go, so don’t worry if it seems like you’re just trekking for a while. From –  “This 0.8-mile trail begins from the shale-covered access road, at the first kiosk to the left. It winds through mature forest and back to the access road, which continues another 0.2 mile to the Visitor Center at Sunrise Pond.” We hit the Robert T. Moore Visitor’s Center and Sunrise Pond less than a mile in. Sunrise Pond is beautiful and totally picturesque. We had a great time with our first photoshoot. Be prepared – bring cash! Entry is $5/person for the general public. You can pay at the Visitor’s Center, whether it’s manned or not! You can also make a donation to the Maine Audubon Society here.  FYI: Maine Audubon members as well as children under six hike free You hit the trailhead right after and begin your ascent. Here’s what you should expect – Summit Trail — From the Visitor Center, the 1.0-mile Summit Trail follows Sunrise Pond’s shore before climbing steeply through spruce and, in its final stage, over exposed rock. Hikers emerge after 0.7 mile onto the summit of the mountain’s West Peak, with the highly recommended choice of continuing another 0.3 mile to the East Peak. Thanks to the Maine Conservation Corps, 130 stone steps help hikers ascend. There also are two steel hand/footholds set in rock.”  (from Maine Audobon’s Society’s website) There’s a nice rock scramble to get your heart pumping before you head up the mountain. You’ll reach a plateau which might seem like the top – it’s not, but it has some great views! It is the West Peak. It’s not as wide open as the East Peak, so keep on going!! We reached the East Peak not too far after. It was a short hike up, definitely a great picnic hike. There’s a map on the top which will explain which mountains are around you, which I enjoyed. After a windy summit, we decided to head back down – it was still pretty early in the day so we were looking forward to relaxing at the lake and then heading back to town. There are some great restaurants in the area that we were looking forward to enjoying (The Stress Free Moose is mine! It’s about 25 min into town from the parking lot of Borestone Mountain, but worth the drive. You can read more about the Stress Free Moose in this post) Borestone is a wildlife sanctuary, which I found particularly interesting. From the Maine Audubon Societies website –

Wildlife & Habitat

Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary is near the southern end of Maine’s “100-Mile Wilderness” forest. Uncut for more than a century, its forest is unlike much of the region’s spruce-fir and northern hardwood forest, which has been cut for timber every 50-70 years.
  • Lack of mature forest habitat in Maine makes Borestone a special sanctuary for wildlife. Goshawks wing through deciduous stands of trees to prey on grouse. Pine martens seek nesting red squirrels. Canada lynx, following snowshoe hare, leave tracks visible in snow. Raccoons, owls, woodpeckers, and other species nest in tree cavities.
  • Particularly in early summer, birders can look for yellow- bellied sapsucker, red-breasted nuthatch, boreal chickadee, several vireos, winter wren, hermit thrush, white-throated sparrow, and eight to ten warbler species (including Blackburnian, Cape May, and bay-breasted).
  • Common ravens and turkey vultures regularly soar above the mountain’s exposed granite summit, while peregrine falcons appear along the cliff faces.
  • Borestone’s three clear and deep, spring-fed alpine ponds are fishless, offering unique habitat for invertebrates and amphibians, including beavers and the dragonflies that eat mosquitos and black flies. Although fish-eating birds are uncommon at the ponds, Borestone visitors sometimes hear loons calling from nearby Lake Onawa.
  • Visitors also can see and hear bullfrogs, leopard frogs, gray tree frogs, and red-spotted newts.
  • Lining Borestone’s trails are blueberry and hobble bushes, as well as wildflowers ranging from earlyblooming dog-tooth violet to late-flowering whitewood aster. Mushrooms proliferate in early fall. A variety of mosses and lichens grow in wet areas and on rocks throughout the sanctuary.
We didn’t see much for wildlife, however it’s a good excuse to take a trip back! References: All Trails Maine Audubon Society Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit Openworld Outfitters CHEERS!! DD Follow me on Twitter @adventuresof_dd  IG – @danielledorrie  and don’t forget to follow LoveMaineAdventures on  IGPinterest and YouTube! We appreciate your love and support! We look forward to bringing you many glorious adventures in the future. Want to support our channel? Check out our online store below or buy something using one of our links!


Florida born, Maine living. Outdoor life is for me. I love adventures - hiking -photography - running - camping - reading - creating - learning - traveling - deep eddy vodka - cats and living, basically. Follow me on social - @DanielleDorrie