Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pleasant Mountain, Fryeburg

Pleasant Mountain, Fryeburg
Southwest Ridge Trail

Difficulty: Moderate; Elevation, 2006 feet

Description: With spectacular views of NH Presidential Range to the west and a rare glimpse of the city of Portland to the east (with an eagle eye on a clear day). Pleasant Mountain on Moose Pond is a great day hike in the neighborhood. Southwest Ridge Trail might be the least used but most scenic way up Pleasant Mountain as it offers an array of views all the way up.
The trail begins with a steady climb through the woods then levels off after a sharp right turn. Watch for this turn and for the cairns that mark the trail. What characterizes this trail is a steady sloping incline offering beautiful views of Pleasant, Long, Beaver, Kezar and other ponds in Denmark and Fryeburg. One follows along granite surfaces much of the time (and in early July the trails is flanked by ripe native blueberries once one emerges from the woods). The trail peaks with vista to the west as one comes across a tepee-like collection of dried trees and branches that has been erected from which point one continues on through a canopied walk through more woods. Look for the beginning of these segment of the trail about a hundred yards beyond the tepee. You may notice a weather warn sign on the left for the fire tower. This gradual descent and ascent intersects the Ledges Trail, which is marked by blue blazes and leads to the summit, where you will find a fire tower.

There are possible variations to this hike up Pleasant Mountain as there are other recently enhanced trails, which might provide loops for the more ambitious, including the Ledges Trail, the Fire Warden Trail and Bald Peak Trail as well as a side trip to The Needles Eye off of the Bald Peak Trail—maps available at
Note: On the way home consider traveling approximately 3 miles toward Denmark on the Denmark Road (exit left of trailhead) and jumping in the water at a town beach you pass on the left or continuing around the corner to a picnic area also on your left as you take a left on Route 117.

Driving Directions: (approx. 35 miles)
Start at 278 WHITES BRIDGE RD, STANDISH going toward WESTERLEA WAY and go 2.9 miles

Turn LEFT on US-302 go 20.9 miles

Turn LEFT on US-302 go 8.7 miles


Go 1.0 mile and over a wooden bridge; Fire Warden’s Trail begins on the left in front of large Yellow Victorian house but we are looking for another trailhead.

Continue 1.5 miles to an unmarked intersection—Denmark Road/Lake Road. Turn LEFT.

Travel 1.0 mile passing Mount Pleasant Cemetery and bear LEFT at fork.

Park in a cleared lot at the trailhead located in a clearing across from Fire Lane 78 (Spiked Ridge Drive)

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