|Small hike, big payoff!|
My brother Nate came up from Rhode Island to see some foliage as we were at the very end of peak, if not a hair past in many areas, and I did not want to disappoint.
I had a lot of criteria but was mostly looking for about an hour from home, excellent foliage views, and not too tough. A co-worker who I'm very fortunate to work with (for more than her shared loved for nature!) recommended Douglas Mountain in Sebago which sounded like a short hike from my limited knowledge of the area and only 50 minutes from home.
The drive up there was gorgeous and I was thrilled there were still plenty of vibrant colors. We had to backtrack on Douglas Mountain Road; I wasn't expecting a large sign waving in all hikers to a designated lot. Based on feedback from my coworker (and nothing else; I did no research other than a Google Images search!), I wanted to do the Ledges Trail but the large maps at the trailhead and donation box indicated we'd have to walk the road to get there. Between that and a lovely-looking trail in front of us, we opted for what was right in front of us.
|Quintessentially New England|
|So Much Orange!|
We passed a junction with a snowmobile trail, then a few turns as the trail bordered private property, and then the trail began to ascend. After such a mellow start, and clearly my body had forgotten about Tuckerman Ravine by then, it felt steep! If I'm being honest, it wasn't all that steep but a couple brief sections sure felt it and will be a good, short challenge for those who haven't hiked in awhile. As the trail eased up, we passed under a very large fallen tree and came to an intersection.
|Looking down the "steep" ascent (insert snicker here!)|
|The aforementioned big fallen tree|
|Hopefully Nate forgives the use of his photo. His expression summarizes|
the depth of concentration required of us to find the right trail!
Back at the intersection, he pointed it out. I'd never seen it and was grateful for his keen eye. It was immediately apparent it was the right path. Initially rocky, the trail evened out and transitioned to dirt then smooth, exposed stone before reaching the clearing that's considered the summit. There's an awesome stone tower with a fantastic view. Nate did the majority of the picture-taking with his Samsung and keen eye. With a frown, I have to say that said phone was stolen before he got the photos off of it so you'll just have to believe me!
|Is it any question why the ladies love him?!|
We decided to wander to the other side of the clearing to find a path down. Afterwards, it was apparent it was the Ledges Trail. Smooth ledges are my favorite and we enjoyed hiking down, all the while, with Nate showing off the grip on his Salomon trail runners!
The ledges didn't last long; we soon figured out why nearly everybody else that arrived at the top after us came from that direction. The walk down was only half a mile! We oogled the gorgeous properties than lined the road on the walk down to the lot.
Quick, fun, interesting, and scenic - we will definitely be bringing more visitors to Douglas Mountain! First, I'll probably return once on my own to get my bearings first; reviewing the map, it's quite straightforward and I'm baffled about our detour. Not that I wouldn't mind getting lost again; it was a fun walk. Of note for the dogs: there were a couple good streams along the beginning of the Eagle Scout Trail. It's a nice piece of land but the trail sometimes closely borders private property so keep your wanderers in check! Finally, we heard distant gunshots but their sound carried well. We weren't in danger (but wore orange to be safe); however, Ty is extremely uncomfortable with the sound so "spooky" dogs might not appreciate that aspect. We've only been once so I will offer updates if that's a usual thing there or not when we return. I've since read it's a superb place to snowshoe. Until then, happy trails, especially if you visit Douglas Mountain!
P.S. If you do, bring three bucks, the requested donation amount to maintain the property!
In light of the small amount of information compared to some of our other trails, here are some of links I found helpful:
Trail Map, thanks to Bridgton.com
Another post about hiking Douglas with dogs, highlight is the great descriptions of the surrounding mountains! How many have you done?
Some good wildlife recommendations and the perspective of a green hiker here.