|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Little Deer Hill, Deer Hill, ME|
||Road walk, Leach Link, Deer Hills Trail, Frost Trail, Ledges Trail, Deer Hill Spring Spur, Deer Hill Road, Conant Trail, Deer Hill Bypass|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, April 18, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||I parked at the Baldface Circle Lot and walked to the start of Leach Link (1.2mi) although it looked like you could park at it near the start or Leach Link easily enough. It looked like you could try to park roadside on the southern end of Deer Hills Trail although I’m not sure there’s room. There was a gate shortly thereafter though where you turn right for Conant Trail. No cars anywhere on this end. There were maybe a half dozen other cars in the Baldface Circle lot but many came and went throughout the day. At least one group of three did the Baldfaces. Another group was staying at the shelter and another group was headed up as I was leaving to stay at the shelter. The bathrooms are closed. Room for a dozen or two cars there. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant, Leaves - Significant/Slippery, Snow/Ice - Small Patches |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||**CAUTION** Where Deer Hills Trail begins at the end of Deer Hills Connector, it crosses Cold River on a dam. I believe there used to be some sort of plank or other structure to walk across the dam on in the center where the water rushes through. It is no longer there as a previous report noted. While water wasn’t high on Saturday and you could easily walk across the dam to this point, you have to jump across to the other side. I wouldn’t recommend doing this. If you do please be careful and exercise caution. I tried putting part of a birch trunk down on it but couldn’t lower it carefully enough by myself and it just rolled off and was carried away by the water. Even with low water, I imagine the water would sweep you away here if you didn’t make the jump and while it isn’t deep enough to drown you, I imagine it’s forceful enough to take you away, and bang you up potentially causing serious injury. If you cross, it’s probably safest to not use the dam and do so upstream and just wade. I’d imagine it wouldn’t be much above your knees in low-moderate water levels. A couple small brook crossings on Deer Hills Bypass that were easy and not a problem. There are some tricky little crossings on Deer Hill Connector. I think these were created by storm damage. They aren’t large but don’t have many rocks to hop on and are knee deep at times. They were a bit tricky to negotiate across without getting a wet foot. The beaver area on Conant Trail was not flooded but had some standing water (managed to go around) and bad mud. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||All trails were blazed in yellow. Leach Link was actually one of the best blazed trails I’ve seen. The others were blazed decently but not quite as well. Not much trouble following the trails. I missed a turn off a road and onto a footpath on Conant Trail which put me behind and was why I turned around. It was blazed but easy to miss. The direct and bypass route on Ledges Trail is marked where the two diverge but not where the two come back together other than a cairn (and the bypass route is not shown on Gaia). The trails (mostly Deer Hills Bypass) could be hard to follow when they go through the hardwood forest as it’s covered by leaves so there isn’t much of a foot way. Generally speaking, you can see blaze and just let that guide you though. There was lots of small debris on the trails but I’m not recalling any big blowdowns other than old stepovers. |
||None seen but other than Ledges Trail, these should be okay trails for dogs. Not much water other than near Cold River though. |
|Lost and Found:
||I picked up some trash and some sort of very light traction device. Don’t think it was a stabilizer or Yaktrax but let me know if it’s yours. ||
||After parking at the Baldface Circle Lot, I walked 113 to Stone House Rd and the start of Leach Link Trail. Waking up to snow showers, I was a bit ambivalent about hiking today, but after things had cleared by the time I got there, and the birds chirping with the sun at my back and the gorgeous views on this walk I knew it would be a good day :) |
From Stone House Rd I took Leach Link —> Deer Hills Trail to summit of Little Deer Hill —> Frost Trail —> Deer Hills Bypass —> Ledge Trail (up direct route, down bypass, back up bypass) —> Frost Trail to summit again —> Deer Hills Trail —> out-and-back on Deer Hill Spring Spur (signed) —> Deer Hills Trail —> out-and-back on Deer Hill Rd and Conant Trail to partway up Pine Hill —> Deer Hills Trail —> Deer Hill Bypass —> Deer Hills Connector
The snow was more or less gone on Saturday and I imagine with Sunday’s warm weather it’s mostly gone by now. There was some short stretches along the road portion of Leach Link and when you first turn onto the footpath. Other than that, there were just a few patches mostly towards the summit of Deer Hill. I was fine in my trail runners that weren’t waterproof. Of course there were muddy/wet spots to avoid. Not much water on the Deer Hills trails. Some standing/running water and more mud on Conant Trail though around the beaver area hut certainly not flooded. I’d avoid in high water though. No need for spikes.
Beware of slick rock on ledges. The ledges on approaching Little Deer Hill were mostly dry but Ledge Trail is wet and slick and some spots on Deer Hill Bypass as well. The biggest surprise was how slippery seemingly dry leaves could be!! I slipped and fell several times on the lower portion of Frost Trail and between the jct of Deer Hills Bypss with it and Ledge Trail. The leaves don’t appear wet but there is often wet leaves or slippery rock underneath the dry ones. It was really quite a pain. Use caution. These parts of the trail through hardwood forest could also be a bit obscure. The coniferous forest areas were much nicer.
I had extra time so thought I’d do a small loop on the Conant and Mine Trail too but after getting off trail and having to backtrack I just decided to turn around.
I didn’t see anyone on the trails but I did hear people from the viewpoint just past Deer Hill. I imagine they had to be either walking on Deer Hill Rd.
||Liam Cooney |
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.