The summit is gained just over 2 miles. Because of the short distance and big views, Borestone Mountain is a very popular hiking destination. It is also a prominent landmark in the area. Borestone's rugged profile is visible from many vantage points in the area.
Borestone is a fairly quick trip from my house. I can leave my house, hike to the summits, and return home in about three hours. Because of this, I sometimes go to Borestone Mountain if I am looking for a quick outing with great scenery. After taking care of my morning chores on our farm on Monday, I had a couple hours to take advantage of a beautiful fall day. With darkness coming early this time of year, Borestone Mountain seemed to fit the bill for a quick mountain escape.
Borestone Mountain is in Elliotsville, Maine on land owned by the Maine Audubon Society. From the trailhead, hikers have two options. They can hike the Base Trail or the access road. I usually choose the access road. It is slightly longer but more straightforward. The Base Trail and access road meet just before reaching the Visitor Center on the shore of Sunrise Pond, just over a mile from the start. During the summer, there is a caretaker and interactive displays in the Visitor Center. In the off season the Visitor Center is closed.
Looking over Sunrise Pond at the West Peak of Borestone
From the Visitor Center, the hike becomes more strenuous as it climbs the Summit Trail to Borestone Mountiain's two summit. After passing the pond, the trail begins climbing steeply. Several spots on the trail are climbed via rock steps. About a half mile from the Visitor Center, the trail traverse the first section of steep rock below the cliffs of the West Peak. A few sections have iron rungs and railings to help climb the steep rock. After .7 miles of hiking from the Visitor Center, the West Peak of Borestone is reached. From the summit, the 360 degree views are far reaching.
Rock Steps along the way
Scrambling is required as you near the summit
Rungs and railings to help hikers in steep stretches
Looking down on Sunrise, Midday, and Sunset Ponds below the West Peak
Looking toward East Peak from West Peak
Leaving the summit, the trail drops slightly over rocky terrain before climbing the higher East Peak of Borestone in just .3 miles. The 360 degree views from the East Peak are slightly better with the higher elevation. Immediately at the foot of Borestone is Lake Onawa, 1500 feet below. Directly across the lake stands Barren Mountain with Barren Ledges and Slide prominently visible. The Lily Bay Range and Big Moose Mountain are quite prominent in the Moosehead Lake region. Beyond the Moosehead Lake mountains, Boundary Bald Mountain is easily seen just a few miles from the Quebec border. The Bigelow Range's sets of twin peaks stand out to the southwest with Sugarloaf, Abraham, and Saddleback just beyond the Bigelows. Low terrain dominates the landscape to the south and east with distance peaks visible beyond the Penobscot Valley. On the East Peak there is a sign that shows what mountains are visible on the horizon. To return to the trailhead, just retrace your path down the mountain.
Barren Slide and Ledges with Baker Mountain in background
Close up of Slides and Ledges
Looking over Lake Onawa toward Barren Mountain
Looking back to West Peak with Big Moose Mtn in distance and Boundary Bald Mtn to its right on the far horizon just a few miles from the Quebec border
The Bigelows are the furthest peaks visible in the middle (click on pic for better view)
Sign on summit labeling the landscape
Another look over Lake Onawa toward Benson Pond and Benson Mountain
One last view before dropping of the summit
With such great scenery, I don't go to Borestone as often as I should for how close it is to my house. In the summer it can get crowded and there is a small fee to hike the trails. However, in the off season, there are rarely any other hikers. On my hike, I saw just one other hiker on the access road. I was lucky enough to have beautiful blue skies without a single cloud.
For experienced hikers, Borestone is a great place to get in a quick hike with big views. The summit feels much higher than it is with its far flung views. For less experienced hikers, Borestone is a good place to hike before tackling a more ambitious hike on a bigger mountain. The hike climbs about 1100 feet and tackles some rocky terrain giving the feel of a bigger mountain without covering huge mileage. On a clear day, nobody will be let down with the summit vistas.
See http://tomcatoutdoors.blogspot.com/2013/06/kayaking-lake-onawa.html for pictures of Borestone from an earlier trip kayaking on Lake Onawa.