Bald Rock Mountain hike unveils Midcoast foliage

By Brian Swartz, Special to the BDN
Posted Sept. 09, 2010, at 9:17 a.m.

Visible from the high ground east and west, north and south, the Camden Hills form the Midcoast horizon and provide dramatic backdrops for the harbors at Camden and Lincolnville Beach. Camden Hills State Park protects these forested mountains against development and offers many trails that hikers can take to find lovely autumn foliage.

Given the press enjoyed by Mount Battie and Maiden Cliff, overlooked among the Camden Hills is Bald Rock Mountain, which dominates the western horizon above Lincolnville Beach.

Bald Rock thrusts its summit 1,100 feet above Route 1 and West Penobscot Bay. Although a spruce-fir forest blocks views westward, gray granite ledges offer unobstructed views from approximately northeast to due east to due south — and provide the mountain’s name.

Its partially bald peak readily visible from Lincolnville Beach, Bald Rock Mountain attracts hikers seeking an alternative vantage point among the Camden Hills. Hikers typically start from a designated parking lot at the Route 173-Youngtown Road intersection, about 2-2½ miles west from Route 1.

Two alternate routes access Bald Rock Mountain. Both trails initially follow the Multi-Use Trail, a wide route running al-most due north-south through Camden Hills State Park. At 0.3-0.5 miles (some cartographic discrepancies exist), a post marks where the Frohock Trail intersects the Multi-Use Trail on the left (east). The Frohock Trail rises gradually 0.3 miles southeast before reaching a T intersection.

From this particular intersection, the Frohock Trail hangs a hard left and extends another 1.8 miles to cross Derry Moun-tain (777 feet) and terminate at Frohock Mountain (454 feet). From the same intersection, the Garey Mountain Trail turns right (south) to climb a half mile to the Bald Rock summit.

Hikers driving west on Route 173 in fall or winter may notice Frohock rising a short distance (perhaps 0.3-0.4 mile away) through the leafless forest, but this mountain epitomizes the Maine axiom that “you cannot get they-ah from he-ah”: No offi-cial trail connects the short gap between peak and highway. Hikers must still travel some 2.5 miles one way from the Young-town Road parking lot.

The actual Bald Rock Mountain Trail intersects the Multi-Use Trail 0.8 miles past the Frohock Trail intersection; a sign marks this key junction in a pine grove. Follow the blue blazes southeast to where stone steps climb a slope. Past these steps, the Bald Rock Mountain Trail winds east through a mixed forest; to the south, Megunticook Mountain remains visible through the trees during fall and winter.

The 0.8 mile trail suddenly pops onto Bald Rock’s granite ledges, which impart phenomenal views encompassing Penobscot Bay and an eastern horizon studded by Mount Waldo, the Dedham Hills, Blue Hill, Schoodic Mountain, the Mount Desert Island peaks, and Isle au Haut. To the south, the Midcoast curves into various harbors and bays and juts eastward at Owls Head. Monhegan Island glimmers against the distant sunlit horizon.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/09/09/uncategorized/bald-rock-mountain-hike-unveils-midcoast-foliage/ printed on September 21, 2014