5 Challenging Hikes in Maine

By Katelyn Michaud

5 Challenging Hikes in Maine

Home to 281.4 miles of the Appalachian Trail, Maine has some of the most challenging hikes in all of New England, including the infamous 100-Mile Wilderness. With an abundance of granite peaks, Maine has many steep trails with epic summit views that will get your heart pumping fast. If you’re ready to graduate from the easier trails, lace up your hiking boots and give these hikes a try.

1. 100-Mile Wilderness

The 100-Mile Wilderness, a section of the Appalachian Trail, running between Monson and Baxter State Park is arguably the toughest section of the entire Appalachian Trail. It’s considered the wildest section and very remote. A sign at the trailhead warns hikers that you should have at least 10 days of food and supplies with you. Despite the warning, the 100-mile hike is very rewarding and is often found on many hikers’ bucket list. You’ll want to train for this one!

2. Precipice Trail at Acadia National Park

Often closed from March to August, the Precipice Trail is the most sought out hiking trail in Acadia National Park. Due to its steepness, iron rungs, and ladders on exposed cliffs, the Precipice Trail is the most challenging hike in the park. If you’re not afraid of height and want spectacular views of Acadia National Park then you’ll want to add the Precipice Trail to your hiking list. It’s a great trail to get you ready for Katahdin’s infamous Knife Edge Trail. 

3. Gulf Hagas Trail

Nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of Maine,” the Gulf Hagas Trail is a 6.4-mile loop that features one of Maine’s largest waterfalls. The Rim Trail has a bit of a rough terrain, but incredible views. You’ll have to do a river crossing so be prepared to get wet along the way. There are plenty of small side paths to explore so take your time and enjoy the views. 

4. Old Speck Trail at Grafton Notch State Park

Old Speck Trail is a 7.6-mile out and back trail near Sunday River. The trail is part of the Appalachian Trail and ascends Maine’s third tallest mountain at 4,180 feet. You’ll find lots of great waterfalls, rock falls, and plenty of trees along the trail. At the top, there is an old lookout tower that you can climb if you’re brave. Expect to be hiking for up to seven hours. Old Speck can also be climbed during the winter if you have crampons or snowshoes. 

5. Fire Warden’s Trail at Bigelow Preserve

Fire Warden’s Trail is rated as a moderate to difficult hike at 4.6 miles. This is the shortest route to Avery Peak or West Peak. Once you reach the highest point, you’ll be afforded 360-degree panoramic views of the valley below. Expect this hike to last all day and bring lots of water, food, and bug spray. 

Subscribe for future Step Outside News!