Number Four Mountain Trail
Frenchtown TWP, Piscataquis County, Maine
Location/ Driving Directions:
The Number Four Mountain Trail begins off the privately-owned but publicly accessible Meadow Brook Rd. The trailhead is located at -69.41865°, 45.63181° and is accessed by travelling a little over 4 miles eastward on the Meadow Brook Rd. (unpaved) from the Lily Bay Rd. (paved). At approximately 1.7 miles east of the Lily Bay Rd., bear left and continue straight to the trailhead. Temporary parking for a few cars is possible just across a bridge over Lagoon Brook. To start your hike, walk back along the road a short distance, cross the bridge, and continue about 100 yards to where the trail enters the woods on the east side of the road.
A new parking lot/trailhead facility is anticipated to be developed in 2015.
Trail Status and Summary:
The Number Four Mountain Trail has its origins in serving as access for a Maine Forest Service fire tower. In 2014, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands obtained a hiking trail easement from the landowner (Plum Creek) to rehabilitate, redesign, and extend the trail. Trail redesign and renovations to the tower site and a vista slightly beyond are largely complete at the close of the 2014 work season. It is roughly 1.75 miles from the start of the trail to the summit area. Another approximately 1.4 miles of new trail corridor extends southward along a gentle ridge towards the saddle between Number Four Mountain, Lily Bay Mt., and Baker Mt. This section of trail is not complete as of 2014 and is slated for continued trail work in 2015.
[Note: use the map provided below as a reference to the general photo locations shown in the slideshow. Eleven sample trail photos are shared via the slideshow as well as via clickable links in the trail text].
The first quarter mile of trail is relatively flat, crossing low wet ground. Photo #1 shows the typical terrain encountered and a sample of the new bog bridging installed. Photo #2 shows where the trail reaches near Lagoon Brook and swings southward at the former site of a Maine Forest Service fire warden’s cabin. Please remember the Leave No Trace principle to “Leave What You Find”.
The next 0.3 to 0.4 miles of trail follow the original route of the trail through fairly young hardwoods dominating the forest following a previous timber harvest. Photo #3 shows a typical view in this section while photo #4 shows a portion of trail rerouted along a portion of cleared pathway (Big and Little Spencer Mountains are visible in the distance).
Photo # 5 shows where the trail gains steepness and enters into a forest community increasingly made up of coniferous spruce and fir. Several sections of trail in this segment are reroutes off the original trail route. These new trail sections reduce the overall grade by using switchbacks as opposed to heading straight uphill. Photo #6 shows new tread work along one of these sections.
The 0.25 mile summit area stretch runs from a vista of Big Spencer Mt. (Photo # 7) to a vista looking out over Lily Bay and Baker Mts. Along the way, there is a vista point to take in Mount Katahdin (photo #8). Shortly thereafter, hikers encounter the fire tower site (photo #9). The vista point looking over Lily Bay and Baker Mts. (photo # 10) is reached by continuing a short distance beyond the tower. All of this ground is fairly easy hiking in relatively open woods. Spruce and fir dominate here.
As of the close of 2014, the trail beyond the Lily Bay Mt. vista is only partially complete. Photo # 11 shows a sample of this fairly gently undulating trail segment. There are no blazes and the trail tread is not finished (small tree stumps protrude several feet high in some sections). This roughly 1.4 mile extension is slated for completion in 2015. The segment temporarily ends in at a generic spot along a full route anticipated to extend southward to the northeastern summit arm of Baker Mt. in Beaver Cove TWP. By the close of the Moosehead Lake trails project in 2018, there is a strong possibility that the Number Four Mountain Trail will interconnect with new trails to create a north-south link in the Number Four – Baker – Elephant Mountains areas. This, coupled with other trail projects and involving partnerships with adjacent lands owned by the Appalachian Mountain Club, would create new day hiking and backpacking opportunities in the Moosehead Lake Region.