Sawyer Mountain

Mountain:  Sawyer Mtn. (1180')
Trail:  Sawyer Mountain Trail
Region:  ME - Southern  
Sawyer Mountain Highlands
Location:  Limerick, ME
Rating:  Easy/Moderate  
Features:  Summit, views, ponds, brook
Distance:  2.6 miles  
Elevation Gain:  600 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Actual: 1:45   Typical: 1:35  
Outing Duration:  Actual: 2:00   Typical: 2:15  
Season:  Spring
Hike Date:  04/12/2009 (Sunday)  
Weather:  35 degrees at the start dropping a few degrees towards sunset
Author:  Bill Mahony
Companions:  Wife, Elizabeth and 2 sons Joshua (8) and Jacob (7), Hunter (dog)

On the summit of Sawyer Mountain (photo by Bill Mahony)

Route Summary   

This is a partial loop hike up to the summit of Sawyer Mountain in the Sawyer Mountain Highlands. There are views from the top and marshy ponds and small, bouldery cliffs along the hike up.

  • From the parking area in Limerick, follow the flagged woods path (not the main road) from the rear of the parking lot for 0.7 mile where it will end upon bumping into Sawyer Mountain Trail.
  • Sawyer Mountain Trail runs all the way across the mountain and was formerly a road. For our return trip we will head down the left leg, but for now, turn right to continue the ascent of the mountain.
  • After climbing for 0.5 mile you will reach the high point of the main trail. Turn right onto a spur.
  • Hike for 0.2 mile to arrive at the summit of Sawyer Mountain.
  • After enjoying the views, retrace you steps 0.2 mile on the spur path.
  • Turn left to head back down Sawyer Mountain Trail in the direction of your car.
  • Walk down the main trail for 1.0 mile, bypassing the path on the left that you took on the way up.
  • This will return you to the Limerick parking area.

Place         Split
Sawyer Mountain Trailhead in Limerick (600') 0.0 0.0
Sawyer Mountain summit (1175') 1.4 1.4
Sawyer Mountain Trailhead in Limerick (600') 1.2 2.6



Click for the full trail map (it will open in a new window).   

Trail map of hike route to Sawyer Mountain in Limerick and Limington Maine  (map by Webmaster)

Trail Guide   

I have hiked this trail several times in the past year and I like it for its proximity to my house and the amount of exercise it provides. We began the hike late in the day, but the low elevation of the mountain and my familiarity with it made the trip reasonable. The views are to the west and I was hoping to catch a nice sunset.

The parking lot was closed due to mud season, but parking on the road is no problem since it is a dead end with only one house beyond the trailhead (and that house appears abandoned). The road is decently plowed in the winter because it is a public road, but it is dirt and steep so access can get problematic.

Atop the little bouldery cliffs (photo by Bill Mahony) We took the path (rather than the old road) up from the parking lot at the Limerick end of Sawyer Mountain Road. The trail climbs immediately a couple of hundred feet before climbing a bit more gradually to 1,000 feet. The trail then joins Sawyer Mountain Road (disused, and referred to here as Sawyer Mountain Trail) and then climbs most of the remaining distance before turning right onto the summit road and the final 0.2 mile to the top.

We let the boys out of the car to run ahead with Hunter (the dog) and start the trail. We pushed right through the initial climb where the trail crosses a stream (and the dog gets himself very muddy). The trail climbs slowly now for 100 yards or so to a glen of hemlocks and a small boulder cliff. The boys stopped to climb through (the long way) a giant log that fell some years ago. The tunnel is fun for small kids and it's in a beautiful setting.

To keep the boys moving we just pointed to the small cliff and said "boy, that looks fun". At this point we went slightly off the trail and cut across the local ridge at the top of the cliff to rejoin the trail in 100 yards. The trees in this area are huge (diameter not height) and the woods become more populated by hardwoods. As the trail begins to turn northward it runs along the base of another 20-foot tall granite cliff as you pass through a nice birch stand. The boys walked along the cliff edge while we walked the path below. This provides a chance for the kids to adventure on their own without the risk of falling hundreds of feet.

As we joined the old Sawyer Mountain Road there is an old foundation that did not interest the boys at all. Just after that we saw the first of two "ponds", which were much more interesting. There are deer, moose and bear in this area (I have tracked a herd of deer around the property before–very cool) and the marsh around the pond is a good place to see wildlife. Today we only saw the frogs and frog eggs since the water was clear and cold. This was the only sign of spring we saw so far this year (very little snow on the ground here, but no buds yet). The ponds are easy to skirt around on the edges of the road.

The last big climb to the summit is along the road and it can be tricky with all of the loose rocks (from the erosion of the dirt road). At the high point of the road the trail goes off to the right and climbs just a few more feet to get to the summit. The branch trail is pretty and easy hiking. The views from the summit are quite good for such an easy hike. We had a small snack at the top and then because of the cold and the late hour we made our way down.

We took the old Sawyer Mountain Road all the way back, because it is more direct, but at this time of year the lower part is running with water and the river stones are loose and can be treacherous. The boys slipped and slid their way down and we finished just at sunset.

The Sawyer Mountain Highlands area, which is preserved by the Francis Small Heritage Trust, Inc. includes much more property than just the mountain trail. I plan on doing further exploration of this area in the future.

Jacob and Joshua crawling through the big hollow log (photo by Bill Mahony)


ME - Southern

  Driving Directions   

The western trailhead for this hike is located in Limerick, Maine.

  • From the junction of Routes 117 and 11 in Limington, proceed west on Shaving Hill Road for about 2.9 miles until reaching a 4-way intersection at Emerys Corner.
  • Turn right onto Sawyer Mountain Road and travel 0.8 mile.
  • The parking area will be on the right.
  • This hike starts from the flagged trail through the woods at the back of the parking area and returns via the old Sawyer Mountain Road.
  • No overnight parking is allowed at this trailhead.

Another way to access Sawyer Mountain is via the eastern trailhead located in Limington, Maine.

  • The eastern trailhead starts from the west side of Rt. 117 at a sharp turn.
  • The trailhead is 2.5 miles south of the junction of Routes 25 and 117 on the right; or 2.4 miles north of the junction of Routes 117 and 11 on the left.

About Sawyer Mountain Highlands   

The Sawyer Mountain Highlands are located about 30 miles west of Portland, Maine. With some peaks over 1,000 feet, these are the highest elevations in Maine south of the Saco River and comprise a large block of undeveloped land. The Francis Small Heritage Trust, Inc. preserves about 1,400 acres on and around Sawyer Mountain.

The property offers good views from the summit of Sawyer Mountain and gives access to other summits, small gorges, brooks, cascades, ponds, and wetlands. As historical points of interest it includes Estes Cemetery and the old Sawyer and Ebenezer Walker homesteads of which only the foundations remain. Moose, deer, beaver, mink, and raccoon frequent the area.

The land is open for hiking, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling on existing trails, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and horseback riding. Both on-trail and off-trail exploration of the area is encouraged. Whenever traveling off-trail (and even on-trail), be sure to bring a compass and a good map and know how to use them. Trail maps are usually available at both the western trailhead in Limerick and the eastern access in Limington. In addition to these official trailheads, visitors may also park along Shaving Hill Road in order to access the property from the south.

Francis Small Heritage Trust, Inc.
PO Box 414
Limerick, ME 04048

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