June 16 – 22, 2023Vol. 25, No. 1

A Hike Up “The Mountain”

by Gregor Smith

In 1998, the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance, which is now part of the 7 Lakes Alliance, and the Belgrade Lakes Association, bought 207 acres on The Mountain, which rises along the western shore of Great Pond in Rome and is 665′ at its highest point. (Yes, this hill is simply called “The Mountain,” with a capital T. It does not have another name.)

Stone steps set by the trail keepers.

The Mountain has a network of mostly easy hiking trails. The trail head is on Mountain Drive, a well maintained camp road 8⁄10 of mile north of the Rome town line on the Great Pond side of Route 27. Look sharp, or you’ll miss the turn! (If you’re coming from the other direction, it’s 2.1 miles south of the Route 225 junction.) The trail head is 3⁄10 of mile up Mountain Road on the left.

An old logging road, the main trail gradually ascends from the six-car parking lot. It is wide and relatively smooth. In winter, it is used by snowmobilers.

After 4⁄10 of a mile, the Great Pond Loop branches out to the east, on the right as you ascend. A tenth of a mile later, the Long Pond Loop splits off to the west. Both loops offer views of their eponymous ponds, but those views are obscured by leaves from late spring to early fall. Both loops subsequently rejoin the main trail.

An able-bodied adult or an ambitious child can easily complete both loops and return to the parking area within two hours. Dogs are welcome, as long as they are leashed, and their owners clean up after them. You can get a more detailed description of the trail and download a map here.

An old logging road, the main trail is an easy stroll.
A fellow hiker spotted this eastern milk snake in the brush at the side of the trail.
Taken from an overlook on the Long Pond Loop, this photo shows Long Point and the Kennebec Highlands beyond.
Hikers walk through a stand of mature hemlocks on the Great Pond Loop.

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