Fire Wardens, Horns Pond and Appalachian Trail Loop

HARD 47 reviews
#1 of 7 trails in

Fire Wardens, Horns Pond and Appalachian Trail Loop is a 11.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Stratton, Maine that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
11.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,756 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

bugs

muddy

rocky

scramble

A beautiful ridge traverse that will gain you two peaks in Maine. You will first head up the Fire Wardens trail then head left up the Horns Pond Trail for a change of scenery and to take you to the Bigelow Ridge, finally returning you to your car again via the Fire Wardens trail. Both peaks have open summits and Avery Peak has a stone fire tower on the top.

14 days ago

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.

1 month ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

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!

hiking
9 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, 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.

hiking
10 months ago

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.

hiking
10 months ago

Would you suggest this hike for a day hike?

10 months ago

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.

hiking
11 months ago

Yess it's very cool hiking

Sunday, August 06, 2017

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 : )

hiking
Friday, August 04, 2017

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

backpacking
Thursday, August 03, 2017

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!!!

backpacking
Monday, July 31, 2017

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.

backpacking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

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

hiking
Friday, July 07, 2017

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.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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

hiking
Thursday, May 05, 2016

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!

hiking
Tuesday, November 03, 2015

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
Sunday, September 13, 2015

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!

hiking
Saturday, August 22, 2015

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.

hiking
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This was a fabulous hike. We started out at the beautiful Stratton Brook Pond. Beautiful view of the Bigelows ridge right from the shore. They're currently building a new bridge to cross one of the streams nearby, but there are wonderful rocks set up for you to use and hop across. After a mile of the trail, which is wide and flat, you reach the Fire Warden's Trail. The FW trail is very gradual as you hike in toward the mountain. After ~1.7, you intersect with the Horns Pond Trail (comes in from the left). Then, the trail becomes a bit steeper, but nothing out of the ordinary. Once you are at about 3 miles, you are really at the mountain and the trail boasts some absolutely gorgeous but steep stairs. Look behind and you can see Sugarloaf through the trees, as well as the pond where you started!

I love exposed ridges on hikes, so this next part was absolutely a must-see. We ascended from the col to bag Avery Peak, tip-toeing across some jagged rocks and withstanding some freezing winds. Worthwhile, though, because once you reach the peak you've got 360 views of Flagstaff Lake, Sugarloaf, Baxter Peak in the far off distance, and maybe even some of the Whites. It's one of the best views in Maine.

We descended from Avery and went to get West Peak, too, which was also gorgeous. We continued on the loop to see the pond, thinking we would skirt around The Horns but instead finding the AT actually summiting. Oh, well! Looped around to Horns Pond at 3000, but we didn't really see much of the pond from the main trail since the leaves were still on the trees.

All in all, I think we did more like 14.5 miles to get all the way back down. The Horns Pond trail is great for the descent because it's very gradual and easy on the knees and ankles.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Good climbs with lots of built in steps. View from top of Avery peak was awesome. Little disappointed that you aren't on the ridge all the way to the horns but definitely a great hike

hiking
Saturday, October 19, 2013

Really great scenery. Must do this one.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

GPS on mobile phone some lack part of this trail. it's about 14 miles long. Many class it difficult (not extreme) on the length. Surely need to be in shape to done it in a half day, many take two days for it.

But wonderful trail, worth the effort

hiking
18 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

29 days ago

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