Bigelow Mountain from across Flagstaff Lake Avery Peak from West Peak with Flagstaff Lake behind Horn's Pond View from West Peak past Avery Peak. Little Bigelow Great Narrative and Pix HERE
Bigelow Directions: MAPS ARE AT BOTTOM
the western end of the range:
If you are driving on Route 16/27 in Carrabassett Valley, Maine, drive
West from the Sugarloaf USA Ski Resort entrance on the corner of Route
16 and Access Road for 5.2 miles. After passing a parking lot for
the Appalachian Trail, take the 1st right onto Stratton Brook Pond
Road. Drive 1.5 miles until you reach a parking area. (0.8 miles into
this road, you will reach the Appalachian Trail crossing.) The trail
starts on the back left side of the lot as you drive in. There are
small parking areas at both the AT crossing and the Fire Warden's
For the eastern end of the range: Take the Carriage Road off 27/16 in Carrabassett Valley, follow it to the end and turn left onto the Bog Brook Road. Shortly after this turn, veer left again onto the East Flagstaff Road; the trailhead is only a 100 yards or so on the left after this intersection; theres a parking area on the right just prior to the AT trailhead.
THE PLAN: Meet at the Sugar Bowl at 242 Carrabassett Drive in Carrabassett Valley at 1800 on July 3 for dinner and beer. Park vehicles at both ends of trail and hike one way WEST to EAST. Can be hiked in 8 to 10 hours. Lots of hungry bugs. Be prepared.
* * *
Bigelow Mountain is located in western Maine along the southern shore of Flagstaff Lake. Bigelow runs in an east-west direction for nearly 12 miles and is comprised of six peaks. Approximately 171 acres of alpine habitat are found on the upper portions of the ridge. The largest alpine communities are found on the central twin cones of Avery Peak (4088') and West Peak (4150'). Further to the west, and only slightly lower, North Horn (3810') and South Horn (3831') rise above the glacial tarn known as Horns Pond. Cranberry Peak (3213') and Little Bigelow (3040') form the eastern and western extents of the ridge. Prominence is 2,845 feet.
"Known as Maine's "Second Mountain", the Bigelow Range might look very different today had it not been for the efforts of many conservation groups, including the MATC. During the 1960s and '70s, land developers had plans to turn the Bigelow Range into the "Aspen of the East", but opponents forced a state referendum on the issue. In 1976, the citizens of Maine decided by a 33,000-vote margin to have the state purchase the land and create a 33,000-acre wilderness preserve. From Stratton to Flagstaff, you will walk through what could have been a series of ski lifts, ski slopes, and summit houses."
In May 2005, Backpacker Magazine named the Bigelow Range Traverse the tenth most difficult day hike in America in an article titled America's Hardest Dayhikes. Backpacker cited the 17 miles of black flies with attitude and 10,000 feet of elevation gain as reasons for inclusion on the list.
The entire Bigelow Range is part of the Bigelow Public Reserved Land, a Maine Public Preserved Land that encompasses 36,000 acres. No fees for hiking or camping are required. There are numerous campsites throughout the preserve. Notable sites include Avery Memorial Tentsite, located in the col between Avery Peak and West Peak, and Safford Notch Tentsite, located just off the AT between Avery Peak and the ridge of Little Bigelow. Moose Falls Tentsite is located adjacent to the Fire Warden's Trail just before the trail begins the steep climb to Bigelow Col. There are a number of places to stay at Horns Pond and near Cranberry peak at Cranberry Pond. Additionally, there are a few primitive campsites near the trailhead for the Fire Wardens trail. The sites are nicely located on or near Stratton Brook Pond.