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Kennebec Highland Trails

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Below you will find information on the following Trails:

French Mountain Trail

Mount Phillip Trail

Round Top Trail

Sanders Hill Trail

The Mountain Trail

The “A” Trail


French Mountain

Obtained in 1990, French Mountain (716′) was the first parcel of land acquired by BRCA.

French Mountain Trail

Distance: 0.4 miles each way

Trailhead: A paved parking apron is located on the east side of Watson Pond Road, 0.7 miles south of Watson Pond Road’s junction with Route 27.

Description: From Watson Pond Road, the trail immediately heads east, then swings south, climbing the ridge of French Mountain (716′) to reach a rocky precipice with stunning views of Long Pond. As the trail opens up near the summit, the first views are of tiny Whittier Pond to the east with Rome Corner behind it, Mount Phillip to the northeast, and Long Pond to the southeast. The trail continues along the open rocks until its terminus above steep cliffs overlooking the northern end of Long Pond. From here you can also see Great Pond, The Mountain, and Belgrade Lakes Village. Turkey vultures usually roost in French Mountain’s rocky face and often can be seen riding the thermals overhead and looking for a meal.


Mount Phillip

In 2004, BRCA, in collaboration with Pine Island Camp, acquired 207 acres on Mount Phillip (755′), including the hiking trail and summit.

Mount Phillip Trail

Distance: 1.4-mile loop

Trailhead: A parking lot is located on the north side of Route 225, directly across from Starbird Lane, 1.5 miles east of Rome Corner (the junction of Routes 27 and 225).

Description: The Mount Phillip Trail is a loop trail and can be followed in either direction; counterclockwise is described here. The trail, marked with blue blazes, leaves from the northeast corner of the parking lot heading east and splits in less than 0.1 miles. Bear right to follow the trail counterclockwise. The trail passes though a grove of tall mature pines then heads northwest up Mount Phillip’s eastern slope, gently climbing through a mixed forest of hardwoods and evergreens. It continues up to a rocky ledge on Mount Phillip’s eastern side at 0.6 miles and crosses the ledge westward to a rocky, partial summit clearing (755′). After enjoying views of Great Pond to the south and the Kennebec Highlands to the west, continue the loop trail by descending to the west, then turning in a southerly direction and dropping down into a stand of mature hemlock. Follow the trail back to the junction and the parking lot.


Round Top

Round Top Trail

Distance: 3.9 miles round-trip

Trailhead: A parking lot is located at the corner of Watson Pond Road and Wildflower Estates, 4 miles south of Watson Pond Road’s junction with Route 27.

Description: The Round Top Trail ascends Round Top Mountain (1,133′) while winding through a diverse forest of young and old hardwoods and conifers. The trail, marked with blue blazes, is moderate and leaves the parking lot in a westerly direction. Within 200 yards, it crosses a large slab of granite originally quarried for an old foundation. After an initial rise, the trail meanders through the woods, briefly opening up for a view of Round Top Mountain before dropping to a junction with the Kennebec Highlands Trail at 1 mile. After crossing the Kennebec Highlands Trail, the Round Top Trail climbs steadily northward. As the trail approaches Round Top Mountain’s summit, views open up to the east and south. Near the top, at 1.7 miles, a spur trail leads north (see description below). The main trail continues northeast, passing an overlook with views of Long Pond, Belgrade Lakes Village, and Great Pond, and then descends to a second overlook at an open area with large rock slabs and porcupine dens. The trail descends steeply, between and over large rocks, and joins the Kennebec Highlands Trail at 2.1 miles. Turn right (south) onto this broad gravel trail. At 2.9 miles, bear right at a three-way junction, marked by snowmobile trail signs. A hundred yards past the junction (just before a Y-intersection of snowmobile trails) a rock cairn on the left (east) side of the logging trail marks the Round Top Trail’s initial junction with the Kennebec Highlands Trail. Turn left (east) and follow the Round Top Trail back to the parking lot.

Round Top Spur Trail: The Round Top Spur Trail, 0.3 miles long each way, leads to the north end of Round Top Mountain and two overlooks with spectacular views. The first view looks northward and east to Round Pond below, and French Mountain, Mount Phillip, North Pond, and Great Pond. The spur trail ends at a second overlook, which includes additional views of Watson Pond, Sanders Hill, and Vienna Mountain (northwest through the trees).


Sanders Hill

Sanders Hill Trail

Distance: 2.9-mile loop

Trailhead: A small parking area is located on the west side of Watson Pond Road, 1.3 miles south of Watson Pond Road’s junction with Route 27.

Description: The Sanders Hill Trail is a loop and can be hiked in either direction; counterclockwise is described here. The trail, marked with blue blazes, leaves from the north side of the parking area, winding westerly and briefly paralleling an old logging road. At 0.2 miles there are nice views from the south end of Watson Pond from atop a large boulder. The trail crosses the inflow for Watson Pond, briefly follows what was a logging road, then, after veering to the left, narrows and begins climbing moderately to the west. The trail eventually turns right (north) after crossing a short wet area and follows the ridgeline through a rock field where there are views to the east of Watson Pond, Mount Phillip, and French Mountain. The trail cuts directly through and over some large granite slabs at 0.9 miles and continues on to a sparsely wooded summit area with views to the east and south through the trees at 1.1 miles. The trail continues northwest over the Sanders Hill summit (854′), then descends to join the Kennebec Highlands Trail at 1.3 miles. Turn left (south) and follow this broad gravel trail. At 1.9 miles, just before a bridge over upper Beaver Brook, turn left (east) back into the woods along the brook. The trail crosses two small brooks in a northeasterly direction, swings east through a young mixed growth forest and past a large rock (Snapper Rock), and finally turns north to reach an old logging road. Turn right (east) onto the logging road and continue back to the parking.


The Mountain

In 1998, BRCA, with the Belgrade Lakes Association, acquired 207 acres on The Mountain (665′).

The Mountain Trail

Distance: 0.8 miles each way

Trailhead: Drive approximately one mile north of Belgrade Lakes Village on Route 27. Turn right (east) onto Mountain Drive; a parking area is located at 0.3 miles on the left (north) side of Mountain Drive.

Description: The Mountain Trail system consists of a main trail 0.8 miles long, with shorter loop trails off each side (see descriptions below). The main trail, an old logging road, leads north from the parking area. The Great Pond Loop (marked by a green arrow) leaves the main trail on the right (east) at 0.4 miles. The Long Pond Loop (white arrow) leaves the main trail on the left (west) at 0.5 miles. The main trail continues upward straight ahead. Shortly before the main trail’s end, the Great Pond Loop rejoins it on the right. At the end of the main trail the Long Pond Loop rejoins it on the left. All trails end here. Private property lies ahead.

Great Pond Loop (green arrow): The Great Pond Loop, 0.4 miles long, enters the woods on the right (east) 0.4 miles from the parking area. The trail climbs as it winds through a glacial boulder field to a small open area—the highest point on The Mountain (665′). The trail continues north and west, dropping down to rejoin the main trail shortly before its end.

Long Pond Loop (white arrow): The Long Pond Loop leaves the main trail on the left (west) 0.5 miles from the parking area. The 0.4-mile loop trail descends moderately from the main trail, crossing several rock slabs and boulders, before passing over a cliff with steep drop-offs and stunning views of Long Pond and the Kennebec Highlands. The trail continues northeast, rising to meet the main trail at its terminus.


The “A” Trail

Distance: 3.3 miles to lookout; 4.5 miles to summit of McGaffey Mountain

Trailhead: A parking lot is located at the corner of Watson Pond Road and Wildflower Estates, 4 miles south of Route 27.

Description: The ‘A’ Trail was designed as a mountain biking trail, with multi-use opportunities for hiking and snowshoeing. The trail starts at the northeast corner of the parking area and crosses the Round Top Trail at 0.3 miles. It continues west and then turns south, crossing the Goat Path at 1 mile and then descending to intersect an old logging road at 1.3 miles. The trail follows the logging road to the right (northwest), crossing a stream and gradually narrowing to single-track as it climbs. At 2.1 miles, the trail turns left (south) on another grown-in logging road. (For hikers, a steeper, rockier option continues straight uphill, rejoining the bike trail in 0.2 miles.) The trail descends gradually until meeting another logging road at 2.4 miles, where it turns sharply to the right (north). From here, it follows the logging road, climbing to rejoin the hiking trail and then ascending in a series of short switchbacks at 2.8 miles. As of July 2014, the trail beyond this point has been rough-cut but is not completed or signed. Proceed with caution. The trail turns southwest and steadily gains elevation until reaching an open lookout area with views of lower Long Pond at 3.3 miles. From the lookout, the trail meanders along the ridgeline, ending at the summit of McGaffey Mountain (1,288′).



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