Parking on the ME Appalachian Trail

Section 3 - West Branch of Pleasant River to Monson Displayed from North to South

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  Maine Appalachian Trail Club info @ Katahdin to Grafton Notch

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Hiker Rated
Parking Safety
Directions Comments Number of Vehicles Map   &  
Katahdin Ironworks Road
  Poor            Great

From Millinocket, travel south on ME 11 - 28 miles (11 miles south from Jo Mary Road). Here you make a right turn onto Katahdin Ironworks Road (gravel) and come to the Katahdin Ironworks Gate in 7 miles. From here on it is all private gravel logging roads (logging trucks have right of way and barrel down the road - use caution to avoid getting hit by logging trucks and moose) and a fee (per person) is charged to use them. This access point is good for the AT northbound to West Branch Ponds Road as well as a dayhike into the Gulf Hagas. This AT dayhike is a 14.5 mile AT section. It is hilly and strenuous. You climb over 3,654 foot White Cap Mountain which is the highest point between the Bigelows and Katahdin. The total elevation gain for this hike is 3,150 feet.

Allow from ME 11 to Gulf Hagas Parking lot on KI Road: 30 minutes for the 13 miles. For the entire car shuttle from West Branch Ponds Road, it is 1:45 to go 45 miles. Only the 11 miles on ME 11 are paved. Also, remember time will be consumed to stop at the lumber company gates to pay tolls.

Southbound: From KI Road, you have a required minimum 2-day, one night backpack.

The dayhike into the Gulf Hagas is worth the extra day excursion.

This is the last AT hike where I would use the JoMary Lake Campground as a base of accommodation. So a four night stay there for several days of hiking on the AT is recommended. 4/5/06

From the parking lot take a .2 mile blue spur trail to access the AT at the West Branch of the Pleasant River on the south bank. Do not park where the AT crosses KI Road as it is a blind curve and no parking is available.

askus3 @
2/15/08 1
at @
Third Mountain Trail
  Poor            Great

From just west of the AT crossing of Katahdin Ironsworks (KI) Road take Chairback Mountain Rd about 2.4 miles to just past the Third Mountain Trail crossing to the parking area. The map coordinates are: 45.45399 -69.31581 The Third Mountain Trail is 1.4 miles from Chairback Mountain Rd to the AT. 10/24/16 1
robert.forsythe1 @
Otter Pond Route
  Poor            Great

A new parking area and trail for access to the AT on Barren Mtn has been in place for a few years now and is known as the Otter Pond Route. I discovered it in 2010 and directions are as follows.
Take previous directions to the former Bodfish Farm site, but stay on main road you drove in on. Cross a small bridge and continue for another 0.6 miles, turning left off the main road. You will then pass Otter Pond on your right at one quarter of a mile, road ends at a parking area a half mile from Otter Pond. Road is in good shape and regular passenger cars should have no problem. From the parking area, follow the old tote road and surveyors tape approx 0.8 miles uphill to the AT. This puts you on the AT just a few minutes North of the Long Pond Stream Lean-to. This is becoming a popular access point for dayhiking Barren Mtn. 03/05/12 09/04/12
Several in grassy area 1
trailbum @
The green arrow on the attached map indicates the parking area mentioned above. The mile marker distance is approximate since this is not mentioned on the AT maps (at least the one I have). The GPS coordinates at the intersection with the AT are N45.4196 W69.4104. The Long Pond Stream Lean-to is about 0.1 miles south of the intersection. Coordinates courtesy of pjwetzel 09/04/12 1
dlcul @
Bodfish Farm - Long Pond Tote Road
  Poor            Great

From Monson which is the first AT trail town southbound (2000 census pop. 666) you go a tad north and make a right and follow Elliottsville Road 11.8 miles to the site of the old Bodfish Farm. From MM 16.2 on the AT, go downhill along the old tote road paralelling Long Pond Stream. It is quite common to slackpack the first day into the Hundred Mile Wilderness to this access point as there are a number of shuttle service providers in Monson that will take you to Bodfish Farm for a nominal fee. So Monson is usually a 2-3 night stay.

Note that it is an 81 mile car shuttle from KI Road at MM 0.0 to Bodfish Farm - MM 16.2. it might be shorter traveling out to Greenville and then south to Monson (have not tried this route). Also, note that halfway for this 18 mile hike (including AT access approach distance) leaves a midway point for your one night out at Cloud Pond Lean-to (MM 11.3), a beautiful campsite on a picturesque pond. I consider this stretch of the AT too much of a roller coaster (4750 feet elevation gain) over the Chairback-Barren Range to push this as a one day hike, plus car shuttle.

Southbound from Bodfish Farm to the next major road crossing (ME 15) is a long distance (15.8 miles) but not all that difficult to traverse. 4/5/06
I have not been to this location so cannot verify parking accomodation at this location.
askus3 @
The green arrow on the attached map indicates the trail crossing where there is some possible roadside parking. 9/5/12 1
at @
This access is no longer available by even a high clearance SUV. The road (AKA Mountain Rd) is considered a Jeep Road, and is extremely rough. It can be hiked, but use of the Otter Pond access is recommended, and is the access used by the locals providing shuttle service. 09/08/16 1 1
robert.forsythe1 @
Beaver Pond near Little Wilson Stream
  Poor            Great

From Monson you go a tad north and make a right and follow Elliottsville Road roughly ten miles to the bridge crossing of the Big Wilson Stream and the intersection of the road coming north from Willimantic. From MM 23.2 and the AT crossing of a gravel road at a beaver pond, go southeast along the gravel road about 2 miles to Elliottsville Road at the bridge. When hiking the AT on 9/6/03 a car drove by on this gravel road so I guess this is a road access point.

This road access is excellent for exploration of Little Wilson Falls and Gorge which is only 1/2 mile south of the road on the AT. This 60 feet falls is one of the highest waterfalls on the entire length of the AT.

This access point is actually a better splitting point for the distance from KI Road to the Shirley-Blanchard Road access point, 6.3 miles south (actually west) of Monson (and still convenient to this trail town). This way the distance from KI Road at the end of section 2 to Shirley-Blanchard Road in section 4 can be split more equally in 3 days (using Cloud Pond Lean-to) to distances of 12.2, 12.0, 13.4. I think this makes a much better split of section 3 and the first 6 miles of section 4. With this in mind and using shuttle service in Monson, you can make a nice 2 night stay (3 nights if you want to take a zero day) in Monson and slackpack the day from Little Wilson Falls to Shirley-Blanchard Road. 4/6/06
I did not follow the road out to Elliottsville Road or check out parking but basing my information on the ME AT Map. The approximate two miles of walking up the gravel road may not even be necessary, but I do not know where to park in the vicinity of where the AT crosses as this road is narrow.
askus3 @
The Google map does not match the AT map in this area so this is just an approximation of where the gravel road leads north to the AT. 2/15/08 1
at @
This access point is no longer available to vehicles. The bridge on "Tote Rd" is no longer in existence. The access road (Campground Road on some maps) stops in a parking area, and a blue-blazed trail goes 0.8 miles up to the AT. It intersects the AT 0.2 miles trail north of Little Wilson Falls. Campground Rd is a bit rough, but is well used. 09/08/16 1 1
Robert.forsythe1 @
ME 15
  Poor            Great

Take ME 15, a paved state highway north from Monson, an AT trail town with hiker services 3.5 miles to the AT crossing. Crossing is marked clearly with AT signs. Northbound: Officially this is the start of the Hundred Mile Wilderness. For almost 100 miles the AT course goes on until the next paved road crossing. Although there are lumber road access points at varied intervals.

Southbound: There are a couple of short stretches with access back to Monson, before another major no access stretch as you go into section 4. 4/5/06
askus3 @
2/15/08 1
at @
AT trailhead parking on East side of ME Hwy 15 & AT. We parked our car there for four days, and there was no problem. 01/13/10 1
pkarnold1 @

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