Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. OJI - West Peak, Mt. OJI, ME
Trails: Mt. OJI Trail, West Peak Spur, OJI Link, abandoned OJI Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: I was the only car there when I arrived at 1:50pm and returned at 6:50pm. Grassy parking area with room for about a dozen cars. $16 for a day pass for non-ME residents and $42 for a season pass. The road can be bumpy and a little rough at times but they keep it in good enough shape for low clearance vehicles and seem to degrade it frequently.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Easily rock hopable  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: The trail is blazed in light blue and is sometimes faded. Not hard to follow below treeline although it may have been a smidgen overgrown in the hardwoods down low. On the ledge, I don’t remember much in the way of cairns and minimal blazing which made the trail ambiguous or hard to follow at a point or two (watch for a sharp and steep left down a scramble on the ascent of the summit ridge). Trail signs were intact but note that the OJI Link sign is off to the side next to the trees on Coe Slide and could be easily walked by if ascending the slide. About 5min before I reached the summit, I encountered a couple of leaners above the trail followed by a partially delimbed straddled or stepover I believe. I don’t think there was much in the way of blowdowns beyond this except on the abandoned trail. There was also evidence of blowdown work. As far as I recall the bog bridges down low were at least in half descent shape.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Dogs are not allowed in BSP.  
Bugs: I don’t recall any.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: None 
Comments: 5th and final day in Houlton to once again drive further south to Millinocket and the South Gate. This was a fun one. The trail starts off quite flat and passes by a scenic cedar swamp along a stretch of bog bridges. Further along the flat stretch, the trail becomes a stream and is very wet. Not too difficult to hop along and keep dry feet but if after several days of relatively dry weather, this must always be very wet. The trail climbs easily in hobblebush and hardwoods for a ways. At about 1650ft, the old trail roughly continues straight (not at all obvious but the trained eye can see it) and the relocated section of trail continues left (NW). The relocated section of trail really doesn’t get that steep overall and is pretty pleasant. This area and around West Peak had some nice woods and a very different feel to it than OJI and it’s S/SW flank and slides do to it. Nice views from West Peak to moody skies and clouds just around the summit level of OJI. The West Peak Spur is signed and obvious. The true summit appeared to be in the woods just a couple feet off trail I believe.

As the contour lines reveal, about a 1/2mi beyond the West Peak Spur, the trail becomes very steep. Very eroded if I recall correctly too. I’m not so sure there was any real scrambling on this section but there certainly was once you turn right onto the summit ridge. I wouldn’t call it very treacherous scrambling by any means but perhaps more difficult in the sense of “How do I get my body up there?” There’s an odd spot where the trail turns sharply left and scrambles downhill. It is not at all well marked. It does this to avoid a little cliff band/more difficult scramble that lies just ahead. Great views but the ridge soon ascended into the cloud and the true summit is wooded.

From the true summit I continued SE along the ridge and descended to OJI Link. The trail was steep here as I recall but not scrambly like the other side of the summit ridge. At the jct with OJI Link, I noted the abandoned trail continuing ahead. I turned left and completed an OAB on OJI Link. Not much elevation gain/loss but the trail was VERY wet and muddy in places and I’d clearly not well travelled. Almost seemed minorly abandoned itself! It ends right at the edge of the slide. It’s signed but would be very easy to miss if ascending the slide.

Upon returning to jct, I decided to descend the abandoned portion of OJI Trail rather than head back up over the ridge and have to descend those scrambles. The trail was totally overgrown of course but the footbed was discernible underneath. Note that there’s a major hole or two in between some boulders you walk atop of early on and my leg fell right in. Luckily I didn’t hurt myself but random holes in the ground you can’t see can be dangerous. Along the ridge, the trail was pretty gradual but easy to follow for those experienced. A number of blowdowns of course. Once the trail turns from south to SW it becomes very steep, harder to follow and the blowdowns more numerous I believe. There were times up high when I really wasn’t so sure I was on the trail but figured I had to be very close. Gaia showed me always on or very very close to it though.

After a couple hundred feet of steep descent of the ridge maybe, the trail comes to a slide (not shown as a discoloration on Gaia; I think it’s too small). Part of the issue may have been that I came out onto the slide a little too late BUT there was a small cairn where I popped out so who knows. Anyway, the slide was slab (sometimes very steep) and gravel but was VERY dry as it’s south facing. Much of it Incould walk right down with care as it was so dry. Other times I was on gravel which was of course loose but nothing seemed excessive. As I got lower, the slabs seemed to be steeper and sometimes featured miniature cliff bands so I found myself sitting down more or finding other spots to go down. I maybe found a couple old cairns and blazes but it was largely unmarked. I believe this portion of trail was only abandoned about 10 years ago which surprised me at times.

Down low, as the slide seems to be ending, it forks. Stay right. Descend the rocky trailings of the slide in what seemed almost like a half-pipe below treeline due to washout. Many blowdowns through here which I went around at times. Where the trail turns from SW to W there is a blowdown pile that obscured the way. I went left at first but got pushed further and further so then went right and got down much quicker but it required a little scramble around a blowdown and down a small boulder I believe. Despite all the blowdown despair here, there was also clear evidence of blowdown work in a couple of places. Anyway, the trail soon become easier again, just overgrown and I soon popped back out on the current trail.

All in all, if an experienced bushwhacker, and especially if a slow on trail hiker, descending the abandoned trail will likely save you time over going back the current trail. Gaia had me at 8.25mi, 2600ft of gain, 4hr51min.  
Name: Liam Cooney  
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2023-09-06 
Link: https:// 
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