Although rather small by world standards, it is this mountain's magnificent location which make it worthy of attention. Rising as a narrow strip of land between historic Rangeley and Mooselookmeguntic Lakes, the summit provides spectacular views of the Rangeley Lakes Region. However, the scenery aside, this small mountain has something to offer everyone. Families, even those with smaller children, will find the western approach to the summit via a state maintained trail, both interesting and challenging. (Note that Maine hiking is strenuous as compared to many areas and this small mountain is no exception.) The first half of this mile long trail winds steadily uphill at a modest grade through decidous forest. Moose and deer are common sights in this area and the occasional bald eagle can be viewed. The second half of the trail requires just enough rock scrambling to excite most hikers. At approximately three quarters of a mile from the trailhead some overlooks to the west provide great views of Mooselookmeguntic Lake. The exposed granite summit is a great place for lunch and the recently rebilt firetower at the summit provides a 360 degree panorama of the region's mountains and lakes. Saddleback, Sugarloaf and the Bigelows are all easily seen from the tower. One can even see mighty Mt. Washington and the White Mountains of New Hampshire on a clear day.
The northern slope of the mountain was home to a ski area which has been out of business since the late 1960's. While the lift towers have now been removed, the ski trails have remained. A bit overgrown in places, these old trails still offer the adventerous hiker hours of exploration. Moose bogs, ruined cabins from the ski hill days, and interesting rock formations can be found along these trails. Even during Rangeley's crowded summer season, when the mountain is heavily hiked, the old ski trails virtually guarantee the climber some solitude. As the mountain is bounded on all sides by a road, it is difficult to get too lost while exploring this area. This relative safety makes Bald Mountain - Oquossoc a wonderful mountain classroom for developing mountaineers.
While certainly not a "destination mountain," Bald Mountain - Oquossoc is a wonderful addition to a Maine mountain trip. Whether you are an experienced mountaineer or a dayhiker you will find something of interest on this small mountain.
Nearly all of the trails can be accessed from the state maintained trailhead on Bald Mountain Road. The parking area is generous and a newly build privy adorns the trailhead. Travel west on Route 4 through the tiny village of Oquossoc. Just before the highway dead ends into Haines Landing on Mooselookmeguntic Lake make a left on Bald Mountain Road. The parking area is located on the left approximately 0.8 mile from Route 4.
The mountain is State of Maine conservation land and is open to the public free of charge. Unlike many mountains in this area no special parking passes are required. Visitors are asked to respect the mountain and observe the "Leave No Trace" ethic. Hikers should be warned that moose are abundant in this area and should be given a wide berth, especially in the fall rut season. These large animals also frequent the roads and are the cause of numerous traffic accidents (often causing death or severe injury to motorists). Special care should be exercised in the twilight hours when they are especially hard to see.
When To Climb
Bald Mountain-Oquossoc provides four season fun. Fall yeilds excellent views of the foliage without the crowds experienced in the summer. Winter brings excellent opportunities for snowshoeing and back country skiing on the abandon ski trails. Winter hikers should be aware that snowmobiles also occasionally share some of the mountain trails.
Numerous campgrounds are available in the area but there are no facilities for overnight stays on the mountain.
Rangeley conditions are available through the Saddleback Ski Area website. Area roads are usually well maintained in the winter, however, the trailhead parking area is not plowed in the winter and should not be attempted in a vehicle.