February 23rd, 2021
Hikes & Brews in the Upper Kennebec River Valley
Moxie Bald Mountain & Kennebec River Brewing Co.
East of Moxie Pond in Bald Mountain Township rises the long, undulating ridgeline of Moxie Bald Mountain, which tops out at 2,630 feet. The Appalachian Trail traverses the mountain, leading hikers to extensive areas of open granite slabs and ledges. The 360-degree panorama atop Moxie Bald ranges from majestic Katahdin and other high peaks in Baxter State Park all the way to the Bigelows, Sugarloaf and Mt. Abraham. Follow the white blazes of the AT over the summit, then loop back around via the summit bypass trail. A log AT lean-to at Bald Mountain Brook makes a nice wayside coming and going. About ten miles round-trip.
Traditional British-style beers are what’s on tap in the beautiful open-timbered log lodge at Northern Outdoors in The Forks, Maine’s only whitewater rafting and adventure resort with its own brewery. Kennebec River Brewery is a throwback to a neighborhood pub, according to Jim Yearwood, vice president of Northern Outdoors and the brewery’s founder in 1996. They don’t distribute, so you’ll have to enjoy their beers onsite or take home a fresh growler. Magic Hole IPA is the brewery’s bestselling flagship beer. There’s also Let ‘Er Drift Summer Ale and six other custom brews on tap, plus a full menu of hearty pub fare.
Hike: Trailhead directions: From US 201 in The Forks, just before the highway crosses the Kennebec River, turn east on Lake Moxie Road and follow it for 5.3 mi. Turn right on Troutdale Road and follow it along Moxie Pond, and at 12.9 mi., reach a small parking area on the right; the sign for the AT and Moxie Bald is on the left.
Brew: Kennebec River Brewery
— Text & Photos: Carey Kish of Mt. Desert Island. Carey is an avid beer drinker, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide, and author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast.