This isn’t the time of the year even the most dedicated hikers would associate with Mount Battie at Camden Hills State Park, but if you don’t mind the cold, the trails are open, accessible and anything but crowded.
The most recent recorded conditions update said there were 2 inches of snow on the ground, but that is likely long gone after the recent rains. As of Dec. 13, Mount Battie Road had been plowed, but was not recommended for public vehicles.
Hikers are on the honor system when it comes to paying the $1.50 before using the trails. An overnight shelter also is available for $32.10 a night, and reservations are being accepted through Jan. 1 for dates up to Jan. 15.
Mount Battie is a rounded, rocky knob that juts from the south end of the Camden Hills and rises 787 feet above sea level. It boasts some of the best scenic vistas in the Camden-Rockport area. It has been called one of the finest coastal hiking areas in the Northeast, and the summit is the most popular destination for hikers in the area.
The steep climb leads in just a half-mile to the summit where, from ground level or atop the stone tower, people can see boats bobbing in the bay -— even more so when the weather is much warmer. A map near the tower points out near and distant islands, peninsulas and mountain peaks.
Anyone attempting to climb Mount Battie to the summit should look for detailed information on the Mount Battie area in the topographic map and the Camden U.S. Geological Survey quadrangle.
Arguably, the best time of the year to hit this hiking hot spot is the fall, to take advantage of the exercise, the scenery and the bright foliage.
Even the geology of Mount Battie is noteworthy, as it features the rock called quartzite. Battie Quartzite originally was detailed by Edson Bastin in his 1908 U.S. Geological Survey report. Quartzite is a metamorphic rock made up primarily of quartz. Mount Battie has taken on such a prominent knoblike appearance because the quartzite is more resistant to erosion than surrounding rocks. In millions of years of erosion, surrounding rocks have been worn down much more than the quartzite, leaving Mount Battie standing above them.