February 23rd, 2021
Majestic Mount Kineo
Listen. Mount Kineo is calling.
Mt. Kineo offers more than six miles of hiking trails with spectacular views overlooking Moosehead Lake. The golf course is simply the gateway to outdoor adventure.
Mt. Kineo is situated on a 1,150-acre peninsula, which, though connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land, has no road access. The only way to get there is by boat and that’s part of the fun. The golf course runs the Kineo Shuttle, a ferry, across Moosehead Lake from Rockwood from May to October. Golfers and hikers take a 10-minute ride over and the trip features a direct view of the mountain.
Plan your trip carefully and watch the time while you’re there. Shuttle hours vary by month. You want to be sure you’ll be done with your hike and ready to catch the boat back in time. If you miss the last shuttle, there is no other way back. You’re stuck!
If you go in June when the shuttle runs every two hours, this limits how long you can spend on the trails without the risk of missing the boat. The nice thing about being there in June, though, is you get a more serene experience because there are fewer people out on the trails.
The peninsula, part of Mt. Kineo State Park, offers four hiking trails, each geared to a different hiking experience, which can be combined for longer excursions.
The most difficult and most direct one to the summit is the Indian Trail, which takes hikers .9 miles along the open ledge and offers the best views. Those who want a somewhat easier climb can follow the 1.1-mile Bridle Trail. The hike follows the original fire warden trail, winding through the woods and offering more shade than the more strenuous Indian Trail.
Regardless of which trail you take, you can catch some astounding views at the point where the two trails meet on the way to the summit. Both trails will bring you to an old fire tower, which you can climb to enjoy a fantastic 360-degree view. Bring your camera but be prepared for the fact that no camera can capture the experience of looking around from the top of the tower.
Those who prefer not to climb can enjoy the easy 2.2-mile Carriage Trail, which takes hikers along the Moosehead Lake shore to Hardscrabble Point. If you enjoy a shoreline hike, but still want to see the summit, this trail connects to the 1.9-mile North Trail, which also brings you to the summit and the fire tower.
Even if you don’t golf, make sure to check out the view of the golf course from the summit. The view from so high above the course makes it look like a combination of a painting and a miniature diorama.
Depending on the boat schedule and how far you choose to hike, you may have time for lunch at the golf course clubhouse. Order food and beverages at a walk-up window and enjoy your lunch on the breezy porch.
This is a great day trip for anyone visiting the Moosehead Lake region and who wants to see Mt. Kineo up close rather than from a distance.
The Kineo Shuttle
The shuttle operates May 28 – October 11 and departs from the public boat launch in Rockwood. It runs every two hours in May and June, with the first departure at 9 a.m. and the final return trip leaving Kineo at 4:45 p.m. In July and August, it runs every hour with the first departure at 8 a.m. and the final return trip at 6:45 p.m. In September and October, it runs every hour from the first 8 a.m. departure to the final return trip at 4:45 p.m. The round-trip fee is $13 per person, cash only. Masks are required. For more information, call 207-534-9012 or find the full schedule at tinyurl.com/px84tka
Johanna S. Billings is a freelance writer/photographer based in Greenville. She and her husband, Sean, run The Lily Cat Antiques in Monson.