Explore the most popular hiking trails in Bigelow Preserve with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

hiking
7 months ago

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 ca. Not an easy hike. Took 8 hours.

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?

hiking
7 months ago

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.

Yess it's very cool hiking

hiking
8 months ago

I took the fire wardens trail and what an ass- kicker that is! Up was steady and rocky, so coming down was KILLER on the knees, so use poles if you have them!
The view is AMAZING, but my knees would be mad if I went that particular route again!
Heed my warning : )

I did this as a day hike in mid July. Nice hike. Difficult but worth it.

Amazing mountain! One of Maine's best mountain top views for sure! Fun spot along the AT. Fishing in Horns Pond is great fun and fruitful! An AT lean-to at horns pond to camp out at. A must do hike to experience Maine's beautiful backcountry!!!

First off, this is a hard hike, not a moderate one. Additionally, it felt longer than the listed length - I would guess more along the lines of 13+ miles. That all being said, it's a beaut and definitely worth the effort. I did this one on a rainy day and did the loop clockwise to avoid the steeper incline of the counterclockwise route, but that was a mistake because the wet conditions made the descent a painfully slow process. Backpacked at one of the Stratton Brook Pond sites but brought a daypack for the ascent. Great experience.

Great trail with amazing views, very quiet which is nice, highly recommend you summit the 4 peaks (Avery, bigelow and the 2 horns), bring plenty of bug spray, mosquitos are pretty bad here, lastly this trail is not moderate, it is extremely difficult, ask any park Ranger and they will tell you that bigelows loop with the 4 peaks is one of the hardest hikes in Maine

Beautiful views, not very busy, remote and quiet area.. A plague of flies and other random insects swarmed all day. Didn't damper the experience. Took about seven hours to complete loop counter clockwise.

Nice intermediate hike. Great views just not from the summit.

What a hike! After reading reviews I knew it was difficult, and the hard part was the hike down! Close to 40 years of age, my knees have never ached so bad on a hike before... was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! The 360 views were literally breathtaking, but, it will take some convincing to get me back, only because of the harsh knee terrain.
It's wet, steep, and when you think your almost at the top- you're not! Haha
I recommend it for sure, but next time I'll buy and use trekking poles so save wear on my knees....
Enjoy! Bring plenty of water!

best trail in maine.
harder on the knees the katahdin in my opinion but far more interesting.

I consider myself to be a fairly experienced hiker and this was by far the hardest climb I've ever done but if you are willing to push yourself the reward of the summit is well worth it. the first 3 miles of the trail is some rough yet relatively level terrain, it's the last Mile to the summit that gets you. it's pretty much straight up on a narrow trail with loose rocks, down trees and water run off. it took us a little over an hour to cover that last Mile. my advice for anyone going to this trail: get there early, bring plenty of water and snacks, a good pair of hiking shoes (waterproof if you can) and pace yourself. the trail says dog friendly but I don't recommend it. Certainly a challenging hike but well worth it once you get to the top!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Great hike, well-marked, steep finish into the col.

hiking
Sunday, October 16, 2016

Five-star quality for three-star effort. Spectacular and rewarding 6-mile out-and-back fall hike starting at the trailhead on East Flagstaff Rd. It's moderate-easy exertion with a stream and views along the way, about 4 hours roundtrip for us with breaks, lunch, and side trip to Flagstaff shore.

Parked in a gravel pullout on the right side of East Flagstaff Rd, shortly after where Bog Brook Rd branches off Long Falls Dam Rd. Side trails from parking area take you to toilets, campsite, and Flagstaff shore.

AT sign marks the Little Bigelow/Avery Peak trailhead on left just beyond the parking area. Full trail sign with distances to peaks is just up the trail.

Trail is easy going through mixed hardwoods and follows a fine stream for the first third or so. At 1.3 miles or so there's a quick side trip to the AT lean-to and swimming hole called The Tubs.

From the lean-to/Tubs junction, the trail climbs moderately with some open ledges and views to Flagstaff and mountains beyond. Spectacular views from the top ledges: the Bigelow Range peaks, Flagstaff, Sugarloaf, Katahdin and distant peaks. Descent is fast and easy.

In short, Little Bigelow from East Flagstaff Rd. trailhead offers lots of bang for a modest amount of time and effort.

hiking
Monday, September 26, 2016

Amazing challenging hike! So worth the view even with the wind and 30 degree weather!

Fantastic hike, it was a perfect distance and the trail was well maintained. Fantastic views at the top! Hiked on May 4, above Moose Falls campsite there was still a lot of ice and snow at that point.
Some reviews mention crossing the brook at the base of the trail, there's a bridge now so no major crossings are necessary!

Firewarden's trail up, to West Peak, the Horns and camped at Horn Pond Campsite. Horn Pond was a welcome sight, we went for a swim to cool off! Hiked out Horn Pond trail in the morning, this was a nice easy hike out. Firewarden's trail was difficult for me as I do not hike this distance regularly and we were carrying gear to stay over. Will definitely do this again!

hiking
Friday, September 25, 2015

Gorgeous, strenuous hike - limited water sources on trail, so be prepared.

Fire Warden's Trail to West Peak, 1.9 miles to the Horns, stayed overnight at Horn Pond Campsite and trekked out 5-ish miles in the a.m. via horn pond trail. My longest and best trek for sure! Can also reach Avery/West peaks via Safford Trail from the south side of Flagstaff. Gorgeous day, stellar views!

Great hike. Stratton Pond up Fire Warden Trail to Avery back to Bigelow West to both Horns, down horn pond trail. Weather was 89 hazy. The total hike with some side hikes and walking to the car was 13 miles. You can park at the very beginning of Stratton Pond Trail, the area is small and ended up parking much further down the road.

I only did the Little Bigelow trail to "peak" and back. Sign at bottom says 3 miles to summit, however no markers whatsoever at the top. I went out 3.6 miles and saw some great views from a few rocks but no peak. I had a map, an app and asked hikers coming from other direction to confirm. Nice trail though. Check out The Tubs.

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