The hike up Little Spencer is only and 2.6 miles out and back, but it is one of the most challenging hikes in Maine. This one earned its way onto the WW25 list for three reasons. First, the trail climbs two steep slides of loose rock—the second with some exposure. Second, you have to climb a chimney at the head of a rocky ravine. The climb isn’t particularly difficult and there’s a rope to help (it’s more useful on the descent). Finally, after you navigate those challenges, you climb a steep rock slope. It’s not like rock climbing, but it feels like it. If you don’t like heights, don’t look down—look out across Spencer Pond to Moosehead Lake. It’s a spectacular view.
To get to the trailhead, drive north out of Greenville. From the blinking light, follow Lily Bay Road 19 miles to Kokadjo. Just past Kokadjo, the pavement ends and the road forks to the left. Drive another mile, then turn left onto the road to Spencer Pond Camps (there’s a sign). Drive a little more than 7 miles and turn right onto a smaller logging road. This road drops down and loops around the north side of Spencer Pond (not visible) with views of Little Spencer Mountain to the trailhead (on the right). The trailhead is marked with a wooden sign. There’s no parking area, but room on the shoulder to park. For more detailed directions, check my Best Easy Day Hikes Greenville.
The trail crosses a marshy area and climbs into a stand of mature pines. As you climb, the trail gets steeper and rockier. Eventually, you reach the first slide. The trail climbs along the north edge of it. Along a rock face to your left is a spring. When it’s running high, you can hear it through the trees. You have partial views of Spencer Pond and Moosehead Lake from the slide.
The trail climbs up a rocky slope that narrows to a chimney. You have to climb the face. A rope hangs down to help, although I find the climb easier without it. The chimney is about 75 feet high—not all of it actual climbing.
I was took my two dogs up this section one October day. After carrying the two 75 pound dogs up the climb, it started snowing. We immediately turned around and went back down. The dogs took a while to forgive me for that one. Don’t take your dog on this hike.
Above the chimney is the second slide. This one is made up of rounded rocks roughly soccer ball size. Technically, this climb isn’t very difficult, but it appears that if you should falls you’d land in Spencer Pond.
Higher up, the trail breaks out of the trees and climbs a domed rock slope. This is low grade rock climbing with some exposure. It’s technically easy and the views are spectacular.
At the top of this section, the trail re-enters the woods and climbs in fits and starts to the summit. The summit is wooded with short spruce trees that don’t really impede the view. From the summit, you have great views in every direction.