Ascent of Snow Mountain on 2016-08-15

Climber: Aleksey Zinger

Date:Monday, August 15, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Snow Mountain
    Elevation:3960 ft / 1207 m

Ascent Trip Report

The AMC Maine Mountain Guide, 10th Edition, describes the trail from the parking lot to the summit quite well, but its driving directions could be better.

From the junction of ME 16 and 27 in Stratton, follow ME 27 North for about 13 miles (AMC's 13.7 miles is wrong). Take left on North Rd. There is a green street sign, but it is not visible to those going northbound. Like most side roads in the area, it is a gravel road. If you reach the Sarampus Falls rest area, you have missed the turn by about a mile. After passing the yellow gate on North Rd, take right at the first fork about .2 miles from ME 27; the other branch continues straight ahead (this fork is not mentioned in the AMC guide or shown in the 2015 Delorme atlas). You will then pass a road going to the left, a road going to the right, and another road going to the left called Sports Carry; the street sign is clearly visible and there is a gate right after it. You will then reach a fork; take the right branch and follow it to the parking lot.

Continue on the same road into the woods. This road soon swings left and crosses a bridge. It crosses two more bridges over the next 1.5 miles. About .2 miles after the third bridge, the road swings left, while a rocky path continues straight ahead. Continue onto the rocky path; there is a small cairn. If you miss this turn, you will shortly arrive at another bridge. A trail soon leaves the rocky path to bypass a narrow section with lots of blowdown and returns into the continuation of the rocky path, which is now an old woods road. It continues across a junction where two roads come in from the left, with a bridge visible on one of them, and one comes in from the right. You will soon reach Snow Mountain Pond, where the road becomes muddy and boggy, and pass some boats lying near the pond. Watch carefully for a small yellow arrow on a tree to your right. If you reach a small shack with an outhouse, you have missed this arrow. The NEHH topo and a compass may be helpful in locating it.

It may require some imagination to see that the arrow is pointing along a completely overgrown and flooded (after some rain) road. In any case, follow where the arrow is pointing and in 50-100 feet you should see something resembling a path. For the first .2-.3 miles, the trail is not great, but can be followed with relative ease. After that, it becomes a normal trail, except there are no blazes on the trees. It crosses two old, completely overgrown roads. After the second road, the trail climbs very steeply. It crosses a small stream and then swings left to climb behind a huge boulder. Continuing steeply, the trail passes two viewpoints. Between the two viewpoints another path enters on the left; the correct branch for your return is marked with orange tape. There are no views from the summit, unless you want to climb the rusty remains of the old fire tower reinforced with some rope. The registry is in the box on a tree near the old cabin, just before the summit.

The gravel road from ME 17 to the parking lot is not in a great shape, but a low clearance vehicle should have no problems as far as the clearance goes. Getting a flat tire from the random little rocks was more of a concern to me. I parked about 1.5 miles short of the parking lot, after which there is a rough bridge and the random rocks on the road become a bit more common.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail

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