Mount Will via Mount Will Trail

Mountain:  Mt. Will (1736')
Trail:  Mount Will Trail
Region:  ME - Central Northwest  
Location:  Bethel, ME
Rating:  Moderate  
Features:  Views, ledges, rock scrambles
Distance:  3.2 miles  
Elevation Gain:  980 feet (high point minus low point)  
Season:  Variable
Author:  Phil Blampied

Route Summary   

This is a loop trail. The trail will quickly fork, and you should bear right to follow the route as described below. The path ascends to the North Ledges of Mt. Will then traverses some ups and downs while winding its way over to reach the higher South Cliffs. Then it descends to return to the fork in the path near the trailhead. At this point, you should bear right to return to the parking area.

The trail passes just below the summit of Mt. Will but doesn't actually cross it. The maximum elevation reached is 1700' on the trail between the North Ledges and South Cliffs.

Place         Split
Trailhead on Rt. 2 (720') 0.0 0.0 0:00 0:00
North Ledges (1350') 0.7 0.7 0:45 0:45
South Cliffs (1450') 1.5 2.2 1:00 1:45
Trailhead on Rt. 2 (720') 1.0 3.2 0:40 2:25

  Trail Guide   

The Bethel Conservation Commission has developed a trail through town-owned land to the summit of Mt. Will, off Rt. 2, in Bethel, Maine. It is interesting both as a good day hike and as an educational experience, as signs on the first section of the trail describe the trees and features of the forest land.

The trail is of moderate difficulty, requiring climbing with both hands and feet when it hits ledge just before one of its outlooks.

The first section of the trail has numerous interpretive signs describing the trees and character of different sections of forest. If you're still not sure of the difference between a paper birch and a yellow birch, or white pine and a spruce, these signs are a good refresher.

The first outlook (North Ledges) is reached in three-quarters of a mile, with a vertical rise of 630 feet. It is a large open section of granite ledge, looking north over the Androscoggin River Valley. A short climb farther, the trail comes to another, smaller ledge, overlooking the same view from about 100 feet higher.

The trail then continues through woods around the circumference of the mountain for over a mile to ledges on the south side (South Cliffs), which have a view south, at 730 feet above the trailhead, toward the village of Bethel. A trail from the south ledges leads back to the parking area, making the trail a complete loop.

The trail was well blazed when first established, but many of the blazes are fading and difficult to spot. This is particularly a problem as the trail reaches the first outlook and hikers are left to find their own way over the rocks to the granite plateau above.

Mt. Will's path is an interesting, not difficult, trail for anyone moderately fit. Those not physically fit should probably seek easier walks.

ME - Central Northwest

  Driving Directions   

The trailhead is located on Rt. 2, about three miles west of Bethel (or heading east, it is 1.9 miles north of the state rest area). The trailhead is on western side of Rt. 2 (on the right when traveling west; on the left when traveling east). It is directly opposite the Bethel's recycling center, with a large cleared parking area and good signage.

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