Ladders and Headwalls and Slides, Oh My! / by Greg Westrich

This is the beginning of a list or the most terrifying trails in Maine. New Hampshire has lists for everything--4000 footers, 52 With A View, Terrifying 25, etc. Maine needs some good lists to get more people out and hiking in our gorgeous state. Someone else is working on a list that's the equivalent to New Hampshire's 52 With A View. I thought we needed one that highlighted the trails that we love to get scared by. You know those that climb a cirque headwall or have lots of ladders, or climb steep slides, or have lots of iron rungs.

Loop Trail on Tumbledown--yeah, the trail goes through that

Loop Trail on Tumbledown--yeah, the trail goes through that

Here's the basic ground rules. The trail needs to meet at least one of the following criteria. 

1) The trail needs to climb a headwall so that the hiker is climbing--as opposed to hiking--with some exposure.

2) The trail needs to have multiple ladders and rungs or one that's a doozy.

3) The trail needs to make use of a slide that is long and steep. Again, with some exposure.

4) The trail needs to be in some way extremely vertical with exposure.

5) The trail goes through boulders so that the hiker needs to crawl and climb.

6) It has to be an official trail.

What doesn't count are trails that reach a cliff top or skirt the edge of a cliff or rock fall.

Simple, enough?

Descending The Owl

Descending The Owl

By the end of the year, I'll have a final list and post how to get the patch for completing it. The list also needs a cleaver and original name.

The Precipice Trail

The Precipice Trail

Here's what I have so far, as vetted by my family and folks on Facebook:

Western Maine

1. Mahoosuc Notch

2. East Baldpate (AT between East and West Baldpates)

3. Tumbledown (Loop Trail)

4. Eye Brow 

Baxter State Park

5. Hunt Trail

6. Abol Trail

7. Cathedral Trail

8. Knife Edge

9. The Owl

10. Hamlin Ridge

11. Doubletop (Doubletop Mountain Trail between summit and Slaughter Pond Trail)

12. Mt Coe slide

Lots of people want The Traveler on the list. It's one of the best hikes on the planet, but I don't think it qualifies for this list.

Acadia National Park

13. Precipice Trail

14. Orange and Black Trail

15. Beehive

16. Canada Cliffs (Canada Cliffs Trail from Echo Lake to Beech Cliffs Loop)

17. Ladder Trail

18. Cadillac West Face

19. Jordan Cliffs Trail

20. Pemetic NW Trail


21. Pulpit Rock (it's a side trail off the Bold Coast Trail)

Moosehead Region

22. Little Spencer Mountain

23. Big Spencer Mountain

24. Borestone Mountain

25. Eagle Rock

Descending Borestone's West Peak

Descending Borestone's West Peak

Feel Free to comment on my selections and suggest others. The more the merrier.