|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Pleasant Mountain, ME|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, April 10, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Parking is on Mountain Rd, a little more than 3mi in from US 302, on the left. Room for 12-14 cars properly parked. Trail starts across the road from the parking area. Only 2 cars when I arrived at 6:45. Lot full and 6 or more cars parked on east side of road at 10AM. Word is this is popular trail, which is why I tried to get there early. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Very small streams with ample rock steps |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||One substantial walk-under in ledges area summit side of main viewpoint. Appears to be well anchored above and below, but if it breaks loose, it could ruin a good hike. Trail marking in the lower switchbacks could be improved. On ascent I followed a well worn path that cut through the first 2 or 3 switchbacks because I didn't see any trail markers. On descent, I did observe some painted blazes (mostly faded). I was looking for the metal markers on ascent and the "illegal" path looked more like the trail than the actual trail. Better marking would help prevent inadvertent use of the alternate routes. |
||Good trail for dogs. Saw a total of 9, all leashed and well behaved. A few said hello (politely). One or two small streams on lower portion of trail and then no water above that point, other than some random runoff, so plan accordingly. |
||None today. |
|Lost and Found:
||One sock found at summit. Left on rock. Saw one gray fleece glove wedged in a tree in the switchback area. Left there. ||
||My first hike of this mountain since high school. At that time there were no established trails and only one ski area; I ran up the main ski slope on an August day with no water. Older and wiser, I carried ample water and took my time today. 37 degrees when I started a little before 7 and 64 degrees when I returned a little after 10, so welcome spring. I passed two solo hikers and one dog descending while I was on my way up. I left the summit a little after 9 and passed 38 humans and 8 dogs (all climbing) on my way done.|
I would describe the trail in four sections. The lower section appears to be an old access road of some type. It is wide and contains many rocks, but there are pathways that can avoid some of the rocks. This is mostly dry with a few minor muddy areas, most of which have rocks that can be used to avoid the mud, but not much of a problem to walk through it. This section has an easy to moderate slope for the most part. There is one particularly wet area just past the "big boulder" and just before the main stream crossing. There is standing water for 100-200 feet before the stream crossing. The mud was more firm and the water not as deep on the ascent. If there are rocks in this area, they were submerged today.
The next section I would call the switchbacks. I think this area could be better marked. I was unaware there were switchbacks and followed a path that cut the first few because I did not see any markers. Some of the markings are faded blue paint blazes and there is even some pink flagging, but I didn't know if the flagging was part of the trail markings or a boundary or some other purpose. Once I understood there were switchbacks, it was a little easier to stay on trail, but at some points where I unsure, there were no markings visible from those particular points. I should say, there are many markers in this area, but some of them were after I had passed a decision point and they helped confirm I was on the right path, but there weren't makers at some of those decision points. There would have been less confusion if there weren't the alternate routes. I will say, that these alternate routes were all significantly more difficult than the designated trail, so if you have the same problem that will give you a clue that you have strayed off course.
The next section I would call the ledges. After the last of the switchbacks, you encounter some exposed rock slabs a little below the actual ledges. Today this lower section was quite wet, but they were not slippery as the rock surface was rough and you could maintain good grip even when wet. After that the trail becomes more and more ledgey until you arrive at the actual ledges and the best viewpoints from the trail itself at 1.1mi from the kiosk or 1.2mi from the parking area. These were all dry today. Some of these rocks are a bit smoother, although most were rough, but this section could be difficult if ice-covered or very wet. Also, the trail approaches the edge of the ledges in a few spots, so keep a close eye on any toddlers in your group. After the main viewpoint, the trail continues on ledgey terrain. Some of these pitches are a bit steeper, with some of them having step-like rocks or a dirt path along the edge as options.
At 1.6mi from the kiosk or 1.7mi from the parking area, you arrive at a junction .2mi from the summit, so I call this the summit section. The first .1mi is steep, ledgey and rocky. Pay close attention to the trail markers as it is easy to get off trail while on rock. After that the trail becomes less steep, with a few rock steps here and there, until you reach the summit area. The summit area has a summit sign, several large rocks for lounging, a fire tower, and spectacular views of the White Mountains to the west. It appears that the fire tower is not available for climbing and viewing.
The trail does not have any technical areas, but some of the ledgey areas require some skill and care to avoid accidents. It's a good trail for beginners and families as it has a variety of terrain, some challenges, a good viewpoint on the way, several good rest spots and a large summit area. It is less than 2 miles from the parking area to summit. Of the hikers I observed, I saw 2-3 7-8 year-olds.
I estimate the parking area to be at approximately 480 feet and the official summit is 2006 feet. So you do climb 1500+ feet in that less than 2 miles, but it doesn't appear to be as steep as that sounds.
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.