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Hiking Squaw Mountain ~ Big Moose MountainBack to Hiking
Big Squaw Mountain
Nearly one century ago in the spring of 1905, two men - Elmer Crowley and W.M. Shaw - stood atop the peak of Big Squaw Mountain. Crowley commented it would be a fine place for a forest fire watchman. In June of that year, it became a reality as upon the 3,196 foot summit the nations first fire tower was placed. After 63 years of valuable service, the fire tower was deactivated. The trail however, perhaps the best groomed and most visited in all of the Moosehead Lake Region, is still very much in use.
Every year - from 1905 to the present - hikers from all over descend upon the trail to the fire tower and the grand views. In 1998 the trail head was moved due to a nearby logging operation, and now it lies on Maine Public Reserve Lands. A petition was also issued in 1998 to garner interest in the dilapidated fire wardens cabin, worn from vandalism and the harsh Northern Maine elements. No word on its fate yet, though one option is to tear it down and turn the site into a campground.
Getting there: From Greenville, drive 5.2 miles north on Rt. 15. After the bridge which crosses Squaw Brook, turn left on a dirt road. There will be a sign for Maine Public Reserve Lands. After driving 1.5 miles you will find the parking lot on the right. The trail head begins here.
The Trail: The new portion of the trail is marked by new blue blaze and ascends gradually for a half-mile to where it meets up with the original. This portion of the trail is actually an old road made especially for the fire warden to drive each day to his cabin, which is 1.5 miles distant. Rising gently, it crosses a few small streams and wet spots across which are logs to assist the hiker. Once you arrive at the weathered cabin, the trail crosses Squaw Brook. The steep portion is heralded by a stone ladder placed years ago by the forestry to help the warden. It comes in pretty handy for hikers too! The trail continues up along the ridge and there are two side trails which bring you to scenic lookouts.
The greatest lookout, however, is upon the peak, 1/2 mile away. The views are the same today as they were in 1905: the fattened peak of Mount Coburn in the west, Boundary Bald Mountain with its three humps in the north, the twin peaks of Bigelow in the south (commonly referred to as "The Horns") and a jagged line of mountains on the opposite side of Moosehead Lake including Big and Little Spencer, Number 4, Lily Bay, Baker, White Cap, Elephant and on a clear day even Katahdin. Smack dab in the middle of the lake is the forest-capped precipice Mount Kineo. Nestled on the side of Big Squaw itself is Mirror Pond, which can be seen by walking past the tower to a small ledge.
An alternate route to the peak can be reached from the Big Squaw ski resort. There are several ski trails to ascend. Of course the quickest way is by taking a ride up the chairlift itself. For a small fee you can ascend in 15 minutes what it would ordinarily take you 2 1/2 hours to do. At the end of the chairlift at the top there is a narrow trail to the tower, 20 minutes away.Back to Hiking
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