dog friendly


nature trips

Located in western Maine just east of the village of Stratton about 40 miles north of Farmington, Bigelow Preserve includes over 36,000 acres of public land. The preserve encompasses the entire Bigelow Range, which includes seven summits. The highest of these at 4,150 feet is West Peak, one of only 10 Maine summits over 4,000 feet in elevation. Bounded on the north by 20,000-acre Flagstaff Lake, the preserve offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation. Flagstaff Lake is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is an historic 740-mile watertrail through New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine. This is a popular three-season recreation area, with spring being the only time when there are few visitors. The Appalachian Trail and other trails as well as fishing, swimming, and camping offer a variety of outdoor activities at the Preserve. Fall foliage can be viewed from the roads and trails. Hunting and trapping opportunities range from easy vehicle access to foot access only in the backcountry areas. Fishing is plentiful in many small ponds and brooks. Winter visitors enjoy snowmobiling and cross country skiing over 20 miles of designated trails.

Went 2 months ago. Lots of nice winter chanterelles along the trail. Was a bit longer than expected, and a bit steep at some points, but definitely doable

Very steep, mostly steps but an efficient way to cut into the AT trails

Beautiful views and pretty steep most of the way. Intersects with the AT for some giant boulder moments.

3 months ago

Great Hike! I’m new to hiking and this was great! Has me searching for others to hike.

Big hike

4 months ago

It was a nice trail. The first 3 1/2 miles have an elevation of 1,800 feet. The last half mile or so is an additional 700 foot climb. Hiker beware.

great workout beautiful views

This was my first hike. Last push was challenging and well worth the effort.

wonderful trail!! Steep inclines at times, but very well marked! The view at the peak of little bigelow was spectacular!!!!! Definitely go again

tough climb but views are spectacular.

LOVE this trail and mountain. one of my favorite hikes in Maine!

The only reason I give this a 4/5 is because there’s not too much to look at hiking up and down, pretty steep and thick vegetation at parts - but the view at the top is well well worth it. Definitely a strenuous long hike but worth it.

5 months ago

I really wanted to finish this trail, but I had to bail about 1/4 mile from the end. The last mile is very steep over rocks and stone steps. Bring LOTS of water for this one.

Also want to note it was a little tricky to find the start for me. I parked in the place where there is a bulliten board with maps and signs. Continue down what looks like a dirt road, to the left of this sign. You will come to another space cleared out with a smaller sign. Continue straight over the bridge (and enjoy the views on either side of the mountains). Then, keep going straight, there is a flat path that runs along the river. There are not a lot of blue blaze markers, so I wasn't sure if I had missed the trailhead. You will pass one camp site up and to the left right after the bridge, then another farther down on the river. The trail head is near this second campsite. Once you are on the trail it is fairly well marked.

There were a few muddy spots, although steps were mostly in place to pass. This is a hike I'd really recommend bringing poles on.

I hope to finish this one another time. All in all a great and remote hike.

6 months ago

Trail is very wet and muddy with the recent rain, there was water pouring down most of the trail on the way to Avery. Rocky with lots of exposed roots, ensure that you have good footwear and a good eye on foot placement. If you have old-man knees like me, you'll want your hiking poles for the downhills.

We clocked it at 17 miles not 11 but the peaks were beautiful and totally worth it.

Beautiful trail up till you hit the tree line.. veryyyyy rocky for the last push to the top. Nice views

Nice hike but I wish more was above the tree line. Lots of ups and downs in the beginning and after the pond. Glad we didn’t bring our lab. Would have been too hard for her after the pond.

7 months ago

Great views at the top. Not too hard. Did it with my two kids (6 & 8 years old) without much difficulty. Only negative was could have been marked better on certain areas of the way up. Was well marked on the way down tho.

First 2.2 miles on Stafford Brook Trail is relatively easy-moderate. Trail picks in once it connects with the AT, steep and challenging terrain, well worth the view. Some bouldering on saddle between Avery and West peaks.

So beautiful! This was my second strenuous hike ever, Katahdin being the first. This hike was not nearly as difficult (Stratton Pond, up Firewarden across West peak and the Horns, down Horns Pond) but the difficulty lies in the length. From parking back to parking, we clocked over 14 miles. I assume the listed distance on this page is just the loop because it is well beyond 10.9 miles from start to finish. We completed this hike in less than 8 hours so it is very doable for a day hike!

Epic 360 Views and not overly challenging. The directions will take you to the resort at Sugarloaf. Instead, turn left off the main road of Sugarloaf onto Mountainside Rd. Then take another left onto Bigelow Mtn. Rd. The trail is at the end, go over the bridge and take a right. Well worth it!

Hard, but well worth the effort! Lots of ups and downs the entire trail, so you don’t feel like you get a break going either direction. However, views along the way, and at the top, are gorgeous. Encountered a few thru-hikers but not too much traffic. Highly recommended for those in good shape.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Horns is a great hike for views. First hiked on September 25, 1992. Stayed at Cathedral Pines Campground. Hiked 10 mile loop with nasty downhill.

Last hiked on October 3, 1999. Passed the Sugarloaf Ski Resort access road approximately 3.2 miles. Stratton Brook Road just before the bridge over Stoney Brook, turned right onto dirt road. Took left fork when it came and parked at the end of road. Went up Stratton Brook Road to junction with Firewarden’s Trail and Horn Pond Trail. Took Firewarden’s Trail up to intersection with AT and went left to West Peak. Firewarden’s Trail starts out easy and then gets pretty steep towards end. Took AT from West Peak to South Horn. Took AT from South Horn to intersection with Horn Pond Trail and took latter Trail down. Intersected Firewarden’s Trail and Strattok Brook Road and took Road back to truck. Total time up and down, 8 hours, with stops for breaks and lunch 9:20 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Reached top of West Peak at approximately 1:30 p.m.

The Horns is a great hike for views. First hiked on September 25, 1992. Stayed at Cathedral Pines Campground. Hiked 10 mile loop with nasty downhill. Last hiked on October 3, 1999, taking dirt road to Firewardens Trail to the top of West Peak, then over to South Horn. From there took Horns Pond Trail down to Firewarden's Trail to the car. Not an easy hike. Took 8 hours.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

awesome hike with an amazing 360 view. tricky on way back down so pay attention to ski markers and rope. I would call this climb moderate to difficult.

It's a strenuous day hike, but definitely doable and with time to spare to enjoy the excellent views from the ridge if you have decent weather and are in good shape for it. I think going up the steeper Fire Wardens Trail and coming back down via the slightly easier Horns Pond Trail to save the knees is the way to go.

Would you suggest this hike for a day hike?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I thought this would be a normal hard 4000'. I did Abraham the weekend before and that was a cake walk compared to this. Great hike though. Views were hazy that day but still amazing.

Beautiful hike.....the views from both Bigelows are 360 and stunning. Many AT though hikers....record high temps the day I hiked.....90 degrees on 9/24. The temps made it a " hard" hike for me....a cool breeze would have been fantastic!! Well worth the effort of doing the entire loop.

I would call this on the easy side of moderate, never got too steep very gradual. Since it is on a ridge it is hard to know when you've reached the summit, we went to about 3.5 miles and decided to turn around. There are so good views but they are limited.

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