Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mt. Sugarloaf, Spaulding Mountain and Mt. Abraham - Rangeley Me.

Spaulding Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain from Mt. Abraham
STATE: Maine
TOWN: Rangeley
DESTINATION: Sugarloaf Mountain, Spaulding Mountain, Mt. Abraham
ELEVATION: 4240 feet, 4000 feet, 4040 feet
SUGARLOAF SUMMIT COORDINATES: N45 01.902', W70 18.786'
SPAULDING SUMMIT COORDINATES: N45 00.186', W70 20.010'
ABRAHAM SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 58.362', W70 19.578'
TRAIL: Appalachian Trail, Sugarloaf Spur, Spaulding Spur, Mt. Abraham Slide Trail
DISTANCE: 14.75 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3100 feet
HIKING TIME: 8 hours
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 2, 2005
WEATHER: Overcast, hot, humid

PARKING:

From ME 27 exactly 1.0 miles north of the Sugarloaf USA access road turn left onto gravel Caribou Valley Road. At the time of my journey the only road signage was a paper plate marked Caribou Pond Road. Carefully follow Caribou Valley (Pond) road 4.5 miles to the trailhead. The road hasn't been used by logging companies in several years and the road condition has deteriorated rapidly. There is parking available at 3.9 miles just before a rickety wooden bridge. The 0.6 miles to the trailhead is slow going over muffler damaging rocks and potholes. Use caution if you dare to attempt driving the entire distance to the trailhead.

USGS QUAD: USGS Sugarloaf Mountain Quad, USGS Mount Abraham Quad

MAP: (Sugarloaf) (Spaulding) (Abraham)



DESCRIPTION:  From the Appalachian Trail head on Caribou Valley Road (sometimes named Caribou Pond Rd) follow the AT south crossing a branch of the Carrabassett River. The trail parallels the stream then begins a moderate ascent which quickly transitions into brutally steep terrain.  At higher elevations the trail crosses open areas providing excellent views of the Crocker Mountains to the north.  At 1.9 miles the AT bears right and the Sugarloaf Spur trail leads 0.6 miles to the open summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. Sugarloaf contains a ski area on it's northern slope and houses a inaccessible communication tower. The summit has breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

Descend 0.6 miles to the AT junction and continue south towards Spaulding Mountain. The AT traverses the ridgeline with occasional views and some steep cliffs to the east.  You'll pass a CCC monument marking a N-S connection point of the AT where the southern builders of the trail met the northern builders. After 1.5 miles the AT begins it's ascent of Spaulding mountain rising steeply then becoming more moderate as you reach the summit cone.  A short, 0.1 mile, blue blazed spur trail leads to the 4000 foot summit of Spaulding mountain marked with a sign. There are no views from the summit.

These two mountains can be hiked as a typical day hike however Mt. Abraham is another 2.75 miles away and for a determined hiker can be included as part of a long day.  To include Mt. Abraham continue south along the AT descending the steep cone of Spaulding Mountain. The trail levels and passes the Spaulding lean-to site at 0.6 miles.  After another 0.5 miles you'll reach the Abraham Slide trail junction. Turn left (east) and begin climbing through hardwood trees then steeply emerge into a field of rocks leading to the summit of Mt. Abraham.  The summit contains the remains of a fire wardens tower and several wind break shelters at the summit. The views from Mt. Abraham are panoramic.

Return the way you came. The most difficult section of the return is the brutally steep 0.6 mile pitch over Mt. Spaulding. 

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
AT trailhead on CVR - Sugarloaf spur trail 1.9 miles 1.9 miles
Sugarloaf spur trail - Mt. Sugarloaf 0.6 miles 2.5 miles
Mt. Sugarloaf - Sugarloaf spur trail 0.6 miles 3.1 miles
Sugarloaf spur trail - Spaulding spur trail 2.0 miles 5.1 miles
Spaulding spur trail - Spaulding summit 0.1 miles 5.2 miles
Spaulding summit - Spaulding spur trail 0.1 miles 5.3 miles
Spaulding spur trail - Spaulding lean-to 0.5 miles 5.8 miles
Spaulding lean-to - Abraham slide trail 0.5 miles 6.3 miles
Abraham slide trail - Mt. Abraham summit 1.7 miles 8.0 miles
Mt. Abraham summit - AT Trailhead on CVR 6.7 miles 14.75

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
AT trailhead on CVR - Sugarloaf spur trail 1 hour 15 minutes 1 hour 15 minutes
Sugarloaf spur trail - Mt. Sugarloaf 15 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
Mt. Sugarloaf - Sugarloaf spur trail 15 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes
Sugarloaf spur trail - Spaulding spur trail 45 minutes 2 hours 30 minutes
Spaulding spur trail - Spaulding summit 2.5 minutes 2 hours 32 minutes
Spaulding summit - Spaulding spur trail 2.5 minutes 2 hours 35 minutes
Spaulding spur trail - Spaulding lean-to 15 minutes 2 hours 50 minutes
Spaulding lean-to - Abraham slide trail 15 minutes 3 hours
Abraham slide trail - Mt. Abraham summit 1 hour 4 hours
Mt. Abraham summit- AT Trailhead on CVR 3 hours 30 minutes 7 hours 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Sugarloaf Mountain is the 3rd highest peak in Maine, Spaulding the 14th and Abraham the 10th.  All 3 mountains are above 4000 feet tall and on the AMC list of peaks above 4000 feet in New England.

Sugarloaf Mountain offers panoramic views from it's summit, Spaulding Mountain is much more remote and has a semi-open summit however the surrounding trees prevent any views.  The Mt. Abraham summit houses a former fire tower and provides spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

A branch of the Carrabasset river crosses the AT near the trailhead and a dip in the cool refreshing water is an awesome way to relax after a long day of hiking.

 Saddleback mountain and the Horn

 The Spaulding mountain summit

The Sugarloaf summit

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