My family spends one week each summer in the gorgeous mountains of western Maine. You can read more about that here. We always go with our friends who are native Mainers. We love to hike in Maine. My kids are getting older so our friends took us to what they think is the best hiking in Maine. It was a pretty tough hike, although the guide-book lists it as moderate. But as people were telling us as we were nearing the top and wanted to sit down, it was so worth it! The sublime views at the peak made me feel as though I reached the prettiest point in the Eastern United States.
Hiking Tumbledown Mountain in Maine
How to get to Tumbledown Mountain
The trailhead of the Brook Trail has free parking along the road and the last outhouse that you will see until you come back down the mountain. It is 3.7 miles from the east end of Byron Road in Weld, Maine.
The trails of Tumbledown Mountain
There are a few ways to get up the mountain. We took the Brook Trail up to the lake as it is the most direct route. It follows blue trail markers. The whole trail is full of rocks as it used to be a brook. The first part of the hike is covered by trees and progresses from a slight inclination, crossing streams to full-on rock scrambles. The great majority of the 1.8 mile trail is climbing directly up the mountain, so it is a tough 2 1/2 to 3 hour hike. Many hikers had hiking poles to help with the climb.
When you reach the end of that trail you will arrive at the stunningly beautiful alpine Tumbledown Pond. Although the trail is open year round, we visited in summer and the colors were phenomenal. The water was low, exposing red rocks above the blue waterline among the brilliant green of the trees. The fresh water is perfect for a cold dip or to fill your canteen if you have brought along a water purifier. Some visitors even brought along rafts.
But to get the best views, you need to get higher…
After a dip, we continued walking along the lake to the left onto the .08 mile Tumbledown Mountain Trail. The hardest climb was ahead, but also the greatest reward. The top of the trail loomed over the pond and provides sweeping vistas of Mount Blue, Webb Lake and Little Jackson Mountain. You feel like you are alone at the top of the world.
Can I camp at Tumbledown Mountain?
If you pack your own equipment there is free camping around the lake. It was pretty crowded with campers when we were there. If you are brave enough to swim across the lake to score your campsite, the island in the middle is really the ultimate place to camp. If you stay overnight continue your hike into the Little Jackson Mountain Trail for more views from the other side of the pond.
What do I need to bring to hike Tumbledown Mountain?
There is nothing at the top of the mountain, so bring toilet paper, snacks and enough water for your entire hike. We brought two bottles of water per person and drank it all. Although we hiked on an 80 degree F day, it is windier at the summit. So we were glad to have a light windbreaker. You can also fly fish in the lake. Be sure to bring a bag to take your rubbish out with. I highly recommend you wear good hiking shoes and put on bug spray.
When to visit Tumbledown Mountain
It is most busy in late summer, but an ideal time to visit. Early June can bring black flies. I would not recommend going when there is any rain, as the rocks are slippery when dry!
This hike definitely tops my list as the best hike in New England. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!