Hallelujah! Spring has finally arrived after one of the longest, coldest, and snowiest winters that I can remember in a long time. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been itching to hit the trails for a while. Most weekends have been filled with running around doing nine thousand things, but this weekend I had a lot of free time so I threw my dog into the car and headed to Brownfield to a hike that I have wanted to do for a long time – Burnt Meadow Mountain.
Burnt Meadow Mountain is located in Brownfield, Maine off of Route 160 (or 487 Spring Road) in southwestern Maine. From Portland, take Route 22/114 through Gorham and then take the bypass to Route 112 through Standish to Route 25. Take Route 25 then take a right onto Route 113 and follow Route 113 all the way to Brownfield. Once you hit Brownfield, you’ll take a right at a four-way intersection onto Route 160 (Main St.). Follow Main St. until the road forks and take a left toward onto Spring Rd (Route 160 South). You’ll go about a half mile and you’ll see a yellow trail head parking lot sign. The small dirt parking lot is located on the right side. The parking lot fits about 8-10 small cars. It’s a bit bumpy so leave the fancy sports car home. From Portland the drive will take just over an hour depending on traffic.
The trail head is located about 100 feet in on the right side of the parking lot. There are two trails to the peak of Burnt Meadow Mountain. Both trails start from the trail head and split about a half mile up the trail. The beginning part of the trail is moderately easy. The trail runs through the forest containing mostly young birch trees and some older pine trees. The trail is well marked with blue blazes and for the most part you can see the well-trodden trail. If you’re hiking in the fall when the leaves are falling it may be a different story. After a low incline you’ll start to see the trail become more steep with loose rocks and roots. Eventually you’ll come to a false summit with pretty views of the neighboring mountains. Soon after a short scramble down some rocks you’ll come to the split in the trail.
The Burnt Meadow Trail or North Peak Trail is the most direct and hardest trail to the summit marked by blue blazes. Most of the trail isn’t that hard. The trail consists of rocky switch backs that gradually get steeper as you get higher. At about the mile mark you’ll see the trail goes straight up a rocky ledge. This part of the trail isn’t for the faint of heart. You’ll be doing a rock scramble for about a 100 feet or so. Reagan, my dog, had a little trouble during the portion of the trail. I had to give her a little boost a couple of times. So if you’re hiking with pups they will probably need your help during this section of the trail. It will also be very difficult for young children and I would not recommend this trail for them. Once you’re over the scramble, it’s a bit easier to the top.
The top provides lovely views of the surrounding mountains and valleys of Brownfield and the neighboring towns. The bugs were horrendous the entire time I was hiking so wear plenty of bug spray. The summit is very exposed and provides little shade so keep that in remind if you’re hiking with dogs and young kids. You can go down the Burnt Meadow Trail if you feel very adventurous or take the Twin Brook Trail down, which is definitely easier and less strenuous on the knees.
The Twin Brook Trail is marked by yellow blazes and is slightly longer than the Burnt Meadow Trail as it winds through the woods and follows the main brook and ravine between Stone Mountain and North Peak. The Twin Brook Trail is not as steep and rocky has the Burnt Meadow Trail, although there are a few short rock scrambles towards the top. As you descend down the trail, the trail loops around the trees and you’ll come to a running stream. My dog couldn’t get into the stream fast enough as she hasn’t had her summer haircut and was extremely hot. After giving her a 10 minute break to lay in the stream, we were off again heading down. About a half mile or so down the trail we came to another trail split. The Twin Brook Trail connects to the Stone Mountain Trail that leads to the summit of Stone Mountain. The trail is about 0.72 miles from the trail head to the summit. The trail is marked by blue blazes.
Reagan and I continued down to the bottom of the mountain. The trail went up and down a few times which messed a bit with my directionally challenged brain. You’ll cross a small brook at one point and do a couple more very short rock scrambles down the trail. Finally you’ll come to the first trail split and you’ll be back to the parking lot in about 10-15 minutes. Roundtrip via the Burnt Meadow Trail Loop and Twin Brook Trail took us about 3 hours for a total of about 3.3 miles. It took Reagan and I about 45 minutes to summit the mountain, which is fast as we pretty much booked it to the top. It should take most people about 1-1.5 hours to get to the top via the Burnt Meadow Trail and probably about 2 hours to the top via the Twin Brook Trail.
Burnt Meadow Mountain is a great day hike for most hikers. If you have any injuries, young children or are not comfortable with rock scrambles, I would not recommend the Burnt Meadow Trail as it is moderately hard for most hikers. Pets will probably require some help during this portion of the trail. Stick to the Twin Brook Trail. The bugs were terrible and I would recommend bug spray and sunblock as the trail is very exposed at the top. Bring plenty of water.
Looking for more hikes? Check out my post of 5 hikes within an hour of Portland, Maine!