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Ski
Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks
Peaks Cranberry Peak, ME
Trails
Trails: Jones Pond Road, snowmobile trails, Bigelow Range Trail, Appalachian Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Room for a few cars where the AT crosses Jones Pond/Cranberry Peak Road. There is plenty more parking at the road intersection nearby. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: All were bridged 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Snowmobile trails were overgrown, but clear. All other trails were well maintained and cleared 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Didn't see any, but they'd likely do fine unless they were a very small dog 
Bugs
Bugs: None 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
 
Comments
Comments: It was a perfect fall day for a loop hike in the Bigelows. I decided to make an 11+ mile loop over Cranberry Peak, which turned out to be a great option!

I parked where the AT crosses Jones Pond Road/Cranberry Peak Road. I followed the road back west for a short bit before turning right onto an old logging road which is now primarily used as a snowmobile trail. Before long, I ditched my pack and made a short side trip down the 0.3 mile trail to Jones Pond. Jones Pond is a truly special and beautiful spot with its impressive views of the Bigelow Range.

After returning to my pack, I continued on the old logging road. I followed it as it traversed the lower slopes of Cranberry Peak for around 4 miles. The logging road eventually deteriorated to an older woods road. There was a faint foodbed for the whole length of this section, but it was quite overgrown in places, and I got thoroughly soaked by the morning dew. As the trail approached Stratton, it began to parallel the Bigelow Range Trail, and I made a very short bushwhack between the trails.

The Bigelow Range Trail climbed steadily towards the ridge, passing a number of points of interest along the way including Arnold's Well and The Cave. The trail flattened out before reaching the open summit. Although it was windy and quite chilly on the summit, there were spectacular views in every direction.

From the summit I continued along the Bigelow Range Trail as it dropped down to picturesque Cranberry Pond. After passing the pond, I followed the AT as it descended back to Jones Pond Road.

It was a very enjoyable hike, except for the wet vegetation, and this loop is a good way to do a peak which is more commonly done as an out-and-back. Plus, Jones Pond is a very worthwhile side trip or short hike by itself!  
Name
Name: Sam Shirley 
E-Mail
E-Mail: newenglandskier13@aol.com 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2021-09-07 
Link
Link: http://www.facebook.com/groups/MaineHiking/permalink/2368286706647043/ 
Bookmark and Share 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.

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