Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Saddleback Mountain, Saddleback Mountain - The Horn, ME
Trails: Ski trails, Appalachian Trail, Redington Stream Campsite Spur, bushwhack, Mt. Abraham Trail, Firewarden's Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, July 7, 2024
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: We parked at the ski area where there was plenty of parking, and Lil Young was kind enough to pick me up at Firewarden's Trail. Note that due to the bridge over Rapid Stream being out, you now park just before the bridge and must walk the additional 3/4mi (170ft of gain) to the official start of the trail. There is a temporary bridge up but it's clearly for ATVs only. There's room for just a couple cars to park here and it's at 1000ft. The road into this point is prety rough at times. You're going to need at least a few inches of clearance, ideally more I'd think. My mid-clearance (6in) car did okay. 2WD fine.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: The largest crossing of the day was of Orbeton Stream on the AT. This was rock hopable with care though one thru-hiker I saw dunked a foot. This would be a wade in high water for sure, and could also get dangerous. There may have been another crossing or two along the AT (rock hopable) but most of the rest were on Firewarden's Trail. One is larger than the others, but all of these were rock hopable though, similar to Orbeton Stream, could involve wading in high water, and I imagine that the larger one could also be dangerous if water were high enough.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: There were a few blowdowns along the AT but nothing that was terribly cumbersome. There were a few along Firewarden's Trail and Mt Abraham Trail as well but I don't remember specifics. In short, there were some that could be taken care of but at least things were delimbed and not terribly cumbersome. I think the ski trails and spur were free of blowdowns. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: There's some scrambling along the AT between Saddleback and The Horn that I don't think is appropriate for dogs (use of an unattached ladder). Beyond that, this would be a very long hike for dogs but if they can handle talus and steepness, they'd probably be okay on other sections of the AT, Firwwarden's Trail, and Mt Abraham Trail. I don't think they're allowed on the Saddleback ski trails.  
Bugs: Not too noticeable until coming down Abraham where they become bad. Mostly mosquitos and some flies I think. 25% DEET seemed to do the trick. Not sure if there's ticks on the ski slopes. I don't think any of us found any on ourselves.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: None 
Comments: The hiking route is marked with small signs on the ski trails down low but not up high (or we just got off the route but I doubt it as a friend had gone up this way before and we seemed to stick to the obvious route). The AT is obviously blazed in white and, being the AT in Maine, not always consistently or frequently. The Redington Campsite Spur and Firewarden's Trail are both blazed in blue. Trail signs were intact but note that Firewarden's Trail is not signed at the summit. It would be very easy for those traversing to continue along the SE ridge toward Middle Abraham.

This hike (finally) finished my NE67 and also got me a good chunk of redline. Thank you very much to Lil Young for picking me up at the end and for much needed food at the finish. And a huge thanks to her, bikecamphike girl, and Kyle L for accompanying me to my finish peak, Saddleback, The Horn, for my finish.

This was my first time up the ski trails. Overall, not as steep as anticipated but still quite a calf burner and a heart pumper! There's a marked hiking route down low. It's overgrown/brushy but very followable. It's a pretty quick walk to ridgeline, then a quick turn left (NE) gets you to the summit pretty quickly. We were socked in and it was terribly humid down low but the sun was trying to peak through and we got some glimpses of partial views. Some scrambling and a tiny bit of talus between here and The Horn which again, was mostly socked in. Not in particular, one ladder (which, with some finesse, could be avoided by some) that is not secured to anything. Once we parted ways, and my three friends returned to the ski area, things cleared. From here to Saddleback Junior, was pretty standard AT hiking in Maine. Some steep, rough sections with maybe a little scrambling, wetness/muck of course, but nothing terribly excessive. I hiked the spur to Redington Stream Campsite and water source which was mostly flat but a little rough. Redington Stream was lush green and moss covered here; it was a cool sight. The climb up Saddleback Junior began rather genlte, but become steeper and rougher quickly. Beautiful views here and while it was quite daunting to see how far away Abraham was, it was also quite encouraging to see how far I'd already come from Saddleback. From here to Poplar Ridge Lean-to was more of the same (steep/rough but nothing crazy coming off the peak, easier getting to the lean-to). I then did the relatively short whack (1/4mi) to Poplar Ridge for the NE2ks. There is roughly what one might call a herd path to the left of the lean-to and I followed it. The woods around you look thick, but I circled around to the left where they seemed more open and always felt like I was going a way that had seen some human traffic. This worked well for a bit but sooner or later led me into thick stuff. I pushed through this a short ways to a slightly ledgy/bouldery area (not too much for views though; the trees are high) maybe a few hundred feet SE of the summit. I pushed through more thick stuff from here to the true summit which took me a little bit to find. The jar was on the ground when I found it. I didn't have string to rehang it, sorry but I did put a second bag around the precious entries (one dated back to 1973!!). The jar was quite old and is rusting; I'd recommend the next person up bring a new one in addition to the string. Overall. my route to the summit was a NW bearing from the lean-to, then due north, then NW again. On the return trip, I tried to avoid some of the thick woods and stayed more SE hitting the start of a drainage just south of a sag, then headed due south to the lean-to. This was a little different and probably a little nicer, but still hit some thick stuff.

Now back at the lean-to, I followed the AT to the signed untrue summit of Poplar Ridge, then descended; from here to the base of Lone Mtn is easier walking. The final climb up Lone Mtn was painful though. From Lone Mtn to Mt Abraham Trail was quite nice, and Mt. Abraham Trail is not too bad either. It was nice to revisit this terrific peak. I met a day hiker on the summit here but almost all of the other hikers I met today were thru-hiking or section hiking. Note that there are some rerouted sections of Firewarden's Trail that I don't think Gaia 100% shows accurately. Around the 1600ft contour, there's an old section of trail I accidentally took; Gaia seems to show the trail as the average between the old and new, or, if antyhing, closer to the old trail which is now very overgrown. Firewarden's Trail was a pretty quick and painless descent and I was thrilled to see Lil Young down by the trailhead waiting for me and to walk out the final 3/4mi with her :) Gaia had me at 20.6mi, 5800ft of gain, 11hr45min.  
Name: Liam Cooney, Lil Young, Kyle L, bikecamphike girl 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2024-07-08 
Link: https:// 
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