Last weekend, we hit a peak that has been on our list for a while. Burnt Mountain sits just northeast of Sugarloaf, in Carrabassett Valley, and comes in at 3600’, which quickly helped it become one of our new favorites. This 5.6-mile round trip hike affords spectacular views of Sugarloaf, Abraham, the Crockers, the Bigelow mountain range, and the sprawling peaks that lead to Baxter State Park from its barren summit. This hike has moderate grades and follows Brackett Brook through the forest, to a steep ascent and above treeline trekking for the last mile. Once at the summit, we realized this will be a great winter ascent, as long as the winds are low.
We started off at a great pace, even though DD was 30 minutes late picking us up. (Everyone has a DD – not a morning person. HINT: Always tell the DD in your group to be there 30 minutes before you actually want to leave – p.s. this was written by DD). We arrived at Sugarloaf base camp around 9 a.m, and got settled at the lodge and headed out to the trail.
To get to the trailhead from the parking lot, hikers should head towards the condos, past all of the amazing hot tubs that you see and keep on going towards the woods. You’ll reach the trailhead, and it looks like this….
Here is a more technical description from Maine Trail Finder…
With the Grand Summit Hotel on your left and the Base Lodge on your right, follow the “Main Street.” Once past the Base Lodge, follow the driveway past Gondola Village and walk along Adams Mountain Road. Continue past the condominium complex and turn left onto Mountainside Road. About a block further on, turn right onto Bigelow Mountain Road. The trailhead for Burnt Hill Trail (marked with signs for “Burnt Mtn Trail”) is located at the end of Bigelow Mountain Road.
We walked along a peaceful stream for the first half-mile or so. We had a few river crossings, so make sure that your shoes are waterproof! There was a blowdown across the trail right straight off, so look out for that and follow the blazes.
It was pretty slow and steady the whole way up until we hit the snow and ice. The snow was magical – we used Instagram to check out other hikers that had been there in the past to see the freshly fallen version of it. (Follow us – @lovemaineadventures, @lovemaine207 + @danielledorrie!) The ice was pretty intense. We considered pulling out the microspikes but ended up being alright.
We hit some flatland where you can first see the rock face up to the summit. If you’re looking for a nice workout, you could hit this point and turn around to avoid the wind, if necessary.
Here comes the climb!
We certainly needed all of our layers. Each of us brought a ton of gear, including a fleece, a dry fit layer, a vest, a puffy jacket, plus two layers of gloves, warmers, hats and headbands, scarves or fleece face blockers, and poles. We used everything!
We were excited to have mild temperatures at the base but encountered high winds once above the tree line. Like, REALLY high winds. We met a few travelers on the path- an older couple on the descent warned us, “it’s really windy up there!” – but we really had no idea what we were about to encounter.
We made it to the summit, took a few photos, hid behind the cairn at the top and pretty much immediately started the descent.
Despite the steady winds, we enjoyed the views and even found a shelter behind some rocks to have a snack before making our descent. Thank goodness Willow spotted a nice place to take refuge from the wind and to fuel up for the trip down!
Our standard lunch recommendations: Turkey sandwich with BBQ chips ! We like the 100 calorie sandwich thins with swiss or provolone, or really any cheese, Hormel Natural Choice chicken or turkey, mayo, stone ground mustard, and arugula. YUM.
Snack recommendations: Revolution foods lunch bundle, sports drink, fruit, and nuts.
The descent was fast, after our break. It took us less than an hour to get down and we were able to take in all the views at our leisure.
After the hike, we sat and looked at the mountain above….
and enjoyed the amazing Super Moon on the car ride home!
Total miles round trip: 5.6 miles
I forgot to log our start and end times, but it was around three hours up and one hour down.
Difficulty: We rate this trail moderate to difficult. The initial elevation gain is slow and steady to begin with, then the ascent to the summit can be a bit technical. Depending on the size of the dog/kids you can head on up to the flat rock, which still has great views, then turn around if the summit is too rocky.
References and more info on Hiking Burnt Mountain
From Maine Trailfinder – “Table Rock Loop Trail” (2.4 miles round trip, moderate-advanced): The Table Rock Loop Trail is a moderate hike compared to the other hikes in the park. Table Rock is 900 feet above the trailhead and offers fantastic views of Old Speck Mountain, the Eyebrow, and Grafton Notch. From the parking area cross ME Route 26 and follow the white-blazed Appalachian Trail northbound. After 0.1 miles, you can choose between the steep, boulder-strewn, orange-blazed Table Rock Trail (not appropriate for pets or young children) or continue on the moderately steep AT to the next trail junction. After approximately one mile, the blue-blazed Table Rock trail begins, offering an easier hike for less experienced hikers. Be careful at the summit, there is a steep drop-off where the ledge ends and no barriers are in place”.
Have you done this trail? Add your tips and experience below!
Sending Love and Light from Maine –
DD and Willow