The Grindstone Trail
The East Branch of the Penobscot is historically significant for river driving from the mid-1800’s until the early 1900’s. In 1904, over 75,500,000 board feet of lumber was driven down the river to various mills in Eastern Maine by the East Branch Driving Company. Later, the East Branch carried pulpwood to supply the paper mills in Millinocket.
The East Branch is at times tranquil and smooth, but then churns untamed and frenzied as it passes through the gorge at Grindstone Falls. Just north of Grindstone Falls is an iron bridge for rail traffic passing over Route 11 and the town of Grindstone.
Grindstone is so small that it is not included in Ava H. Chadbourne’s volume of Maine Place Names and can go easily unnoticed by the motoring public. Following Route 11 and you will be rewarded with majestic and unequalled views of Mount Katahdin over the next four miles. Some have said that the vistas of Katahdin are so remarkable because the summit rises from such an otherwise uncluttered and peaceful landscape.
The Shin Pond Trail
Embarking on the 33.9 mile Shin Pond Trail, the traveler can be assured that the trip will provide an abundance of the area’s natural treasures as well as some quaint, small town amenities and year round recreational opportunities. The traveler first encounters Sherman Station, a small village once known as “Braggville” until the Bangor & Aroostook established a rail siding there in 1894. Continuing north, the rural residential setting displays small cemeteries, churches, farms and fields.
Although the Shin Pond Trail unofficially ends at the Matagamon Wilderness Campground at milepost 59.7, just ahead, the traveler will leave the paved road behind and for the next 1.5 miles will travel on a narrow packed gravel road that leads to the Matagamon Gate – the north entrance to Baxter State Park. In that short stretch, one can view the awesome outcropping of Horse Mountain’s summit to the west and drink in the peaceful tranquility of Grand Lake Matagamon to the east before reaching Baxter.
The Island Falls Trail
The Island Falls Trail begins at the intersection of Route 11 and Route 159 East in Patten. After taking in the Lumberman’s Museum, travelers interested in experiencing more of the history and culture of the northern Katahdin valley region can do just that in Island Falls. But first, those with keen botanical and ornithological interests, a side trip to the Thousand Acre Bog could be just what you are looking for. The Bog contains numerous rare and indigenous plant species, plenty of birds in their natural setting and is rich in peat humus. There are NO marked trails, so only those experienced in wilderness orientation should venture into the woods.
The trail continues across the bridge over the Mattawamkeag River southbound along Route 2, where Hurricane Ridge will appear to the east around milepost 13. As the trail turns west at milepost 21.3 onto Route 158, it rapidly descends into the peaceful little village of Sherman Mills. Route 158 takes you back to the intersection of Route 11 and reconnects with the Shin Pond Trail for the end of this trip.
The Medway Trail
This route is often referred to as the Katahdin Trail. It begins at the point where Route 11/157 crosses the interstate (I-95) at exit 244 (Medway/Millinocket) in Medway and extends northwesterly through Medway, East Millinocket, and Millinocket. The trail then leaves Route 11/157 at its intersection with the Baxter State Park Road in downtown Millinocket. It continues along the Baxter State Park Road northwesterly through the unorganized territories of Indian Purchase, T1 R8, T1 R9, and T2 R9 before reaching the southern entrance of Baxter State Park.
Ride Maine Scenic Tour
Start your ride in Bangor, home to author Stephen King. Take Route 15, a scenic ride to the great Maine woods through the towns of Kenduskeag, East Corinth, South Dover and to Dover-Foxcroft.
For more information on this tour, please visit www.ridemaine.com – The Maine Highlands is located in the Central region for this specific organization.