Tumbledown Mountain and Little Jackson

MTF

Trailhead

Loop Trailhead

From West: Starting on ME Route 17 in Byron (22 miles south of Oquossuc or 13 miles north of Mexico), take Dingle Hill Road over Coos Canyon and the Swift River and drive approximately 4.5 miles until you see a pullout and signs for the trail on the left. (Dingle Hill Road changes name and becomes first Weld Road and then Weld to Byron Road.)

From East: From the intersection of ME Routes 156 and 142 in Weld, follow ME Route 142 north 2.3 miles and turn left onto Byron Road. Shortly after the turn, Byron Road is unpaved; continue to follow Byron Road approximately 5.6 miles (past the Brook Trailhead) to the Loop Trailhead pullout which will be on the right. (Byron Road changes its name to Weld to Byron Road.)

Brook Trailhead

From West: Starting on ME Route 17 in Byron (22 miles south of Oquossuc or 13 miles north of Mexico), take Dingle Hill Road over Coos Canyon and the Swift River and drive approximately 5.8  miles (past the Loop Trailhead) until you see a pullout and signs for the trail on the left. (Dingle Hill Road changes name and becomes first Weld Road and then Weld to Byron Road.)

From East: From the intersection of ME Routes 156 and 142 in Weld, follow ME Route 142 north 2.3 miles and turn left onto Byron Road. Shortly after the turn, Byron Road is unpaved; continue to follow Byron Road approximately 4.3 miles to the Brook Trailhead pullout which will be on the right. (Byron Road changes its name to Weld to Byron Road.)

Description

The Tumbledown Mountain and Little Jackson Mountain trail network is composed of six trails and two official trailheads and provides advanced hiking to some of the most unique features in Western Maine. Tumbledown Mountain is not the highest mountain in this area, but with three peaks, 700-foot cliffs and a pond (or mountain tarn) near the summit, Tumbledown stands out amongst its taller rivals.

Little Jackson Mountain is part of the same range as Tumbledown Mountain, but it is higher elevation and ledges offer a different perspective. From the 360-degree view on the summit one can see Saddleback and Sugarloaf to the north, Mount Blue and Webb Lake to the East and to the south, some 600 feet directly below the peak, Tumbledown Pond. Each trail may be explored separately as a day hike, although many experienced hikers prefer to string several trails together into a larger loop.

Each Trail section is described below including mileage, difficulty, points of interest along the way and its connecting trails. 

Brook Trail (1.9 miles, Moderate):

This trail is the most direct trail to the pond and one of the easier trails in the network. Starting at the Brook Trailhead, the trail follows an old logging road for about a mile. After the road crosses Tumbledown Brook, turn right and follow the trail as it begins to closely parallel the brook. Just before the summit, the Brook Trail is joined from the right by the Parker Ridge Trail and shortly afterwards ends at Tumbledown Pond and the Tumbledown Ridge Trail.

Parker Ridge Trail (2.9 miles, Advanced):

According to the Appalachian Mountain Club, this is the oldest trail to ascend Tumbledown Mountain. To gain access to this trail, leave from the Brook Trailhead and follow the Little Jackson Connector for 1.1 miles. At this point, the Little Jackson Mountain Trail will bear right; follow the Parker Ridge Trail towards the left. The Parker Ridge Trail gently climbs through second-growth forest for about a mile before rising steeply over three ledges and continuing on a steady ascent of Parker Ridge. Parker Ridge is a bare summit, allowing for views of Tumbledown Pond, Tumbledown Mountain, and Little Jackson Mountain, as well as views of Webb Lake and Mount Blue to the south and east. The trail continues along the ridge and rejoins the Brook Trail just short of Tumbledown Pond.

Loop Trail (1.5 miles, Advanced):

This is the most difficult trail on Tumbledown Mountain. Because rock scrambling is an integral part of this trail, this is not an appropriate trail for novices, for less agile hikers, or for dogs. It is also easier to ascend this trail than to climb down. Its popularity, however, isdrawn from its unique features.

This trail begins at the Loop Trailhead and is the only trail leaving from this location. Rising gradually for the first mile, the Loop Trail has two stream crossings until it reaches a large boulder (Tumbledown Boulder). Above Tumbledown Boulder, the trail begins to rise steeply until it reaches the Great Ledges, a beautiful point with views of Tumbledown’s 700-foot southern cliffs.

Climbing further into a steep gully, the trail reaches Fat Man’s Misery, a narrow, chimney-like fissure in the mountain. Just above Fat Man’s Misery is a particularly steep climb; iron rungs assist the climber in some sections of this boulder scramble. At the end of this climb, The Loop Trail ends at the Tumbledown Ridge Trail.

Tumbledown Ridge Trail (0.7 miles, Connector):

Starting at the outlet of Tumbledown Pond, this trail connects the ends of the Brook and Parker Ridge Trails with the end of the Loop Trail and, further on, the West Peak of Tumbledown Mountain. Along the way, the trail ascends the East Peak and then drops into a saddle where it intersects with the Loop Trail before a short quarter-mile final ascent to the West Peak.

Pond Link Trail (1.1 miles, Connector):

Starting at the outlet of Tumbledown Pond, the Pond Link Trail follows the eastern shore of Tumbledown Pond before turning east along the ridge between Parker Ridge and Little Jackson Mountain. The Pond Link Trail ends at the Little Jackson Mountain Trail, just shy of that mountain’s summit.

Little Jackson Mountain Trail (3.6 miles, Advanced):

The first 1.1 miles of this trail is called the “Little Jackson Connector” because it connects the Brook Trailhead with both the Parker Ridge Trail and the Little Jackson Mountain Trail. At the junction of the Little Jackson Connector and the Little Jackson Mt. trails, a blue sign indicates the start of the Little Jackson Mountain Trail. The trail rises steadily from this point. At the intersection with the Pond Link Trail, Little Jackson Mountain trail takes a sharp right (going straight will take you on to the Pond Link Trail). Approaching the summit, the trail traverses a series of ledges with great scenic overlooks towards the east. The bare summit facilitates a full 360-degree view of the Mahoosuc Range.

Other Information

For more information about the interesting geological features of Tumbledown Mountain and features visible form the trail, check out A Geological Tour of Tumbledown Mountain on the Maine Geological Survey's website.

The dirt road between Byron and Weld is unplowed during the winter and serves as a snowmobile trail.

Trail Manager

Visit Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands online for more information, or contact:

Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands
Western Public Lands Office
PO Box 327
Farmington, Maine 04938
Phone: (207) 778-8231
peter.d.smith@maine.gov

Comments (9) Add Comment

avatar guthookAugust 18, 2011, 3:40 am EST

Just climbed the Loop Trail yesterday, and it immediately became one of my favorite hikes in Maine. Both parking lots were packed, but I saw not a soul on Tumbledown's west peak. Instead, crystal clear views of Mt Washington, Old Speck, Baldpate, Sunday River White Cap, Bemis, Saddleback, and more to the north. Great views of the Weld area as well. Just an amazing hike. Came down via the Brook Trail (found a few people at the pond, but still not the crowds I'd expected). Absolutely amazing.

avatar bubba stumpSeptember 4, 2011, 8:34 am EST

Parking lot had 3 moose in it including the biggest bull i ever saw also found mounds of bear poop.

avatar LandonfNovember 11, 2011, 8:57 am EST

Up Loop Trail and down Brook Trail last Monday. Trails mostly in good shape. Mother and 2 yearling moose wading in the pond. No snow or ice yet. Excellent views of all 20 wind turbines in Roxbury.

avatar ndemilloSeptember 3, 2012, 3:43 pm EST

Hiked on 9/3/12. My 2nd time on this trail. Trail conditions were good with a couple of blowdowns. The little Jackson Connector between the Parker Ridge junction and the Pond Link junction has had a few recent changes. It meanders around the original trail making it a little less steep and not as direct as it used to be. This adds a little more mileage to the hike. Once past the Pond Link junction there are few blue blazes, but the trail is hiked just enough to keep the path worn down. Cairns and blue blazes mark the trail above the treeline. The day was clear and the views from the summit were outstanding. To me it seems most people that come to this area are compelled to hike Tumbledown. I think you truly miss out if you don't include Little Jackson into your plans. I don't mean to knock Tumbledown, its a great mountain with excellent trails and views,(especially the little mentioned North Peak, which gives you a perfect view of the pond). Jackson Mtn. trail is another trail not mentioned on this website. There is a sign posted for this trail a short distance from where the Little Jackson trail opens up above treeline. I hiked this trail the first time I came up here about 5 yrs. ago. At that time the trail was easy to follow. The tree covered summit has a building with, I assume, weather or other measuring instruments. Some clearing had been done for better views. Little Jackson is a must-do hike to get a different perspective of the Tumbledown region.

avatar keating59April 22, 2013, 1:25 pm EST

Hiked the Loop trail 4/21/13. When we got to Fat Manâs Misery, a narrow, chimney-like fissure, the trail was block, rock slide over the winter? Had to turn around and descend back down the loop trail.

avatar discountracingMay 8, 2013, 2:16 am EST

Did the Little Jackson trail yesterday and hiked the unblazed/cairs/game trails to the pond.(any chance of mapping this?) Pretty warm for May. Ran into some people who had come up the loop trail so my guess is it's open :)

avatar S.PulkOctober 4, 2013, 4:38 am EST

Hiked to Little Jackson thru the connector to Little Jackson Trail the mileage is off.We were at 4 miles when we broke thru the woods but what a Great Hike well worth the effort once we reached the summit.The views were amazing.

avatar ndemilloOctober 7, 2013, 7:38 am EST

10/4/13 NOTE: If driving in from the east there is a sign posted where the Byron rd. becomes unpaved saying that the road is closed at 1.2 miles. I don't know how long it has been like this. A detour sign leads you to the Westbrook rd. Hiked the Loop Trail. At a glance it does appear that Fat Mans misery is blocked as posted by keating59, but with a closer look you can find the passage. Even this being my 2nd time through I still had to search a bit. Hiked to the North Peak (my favorite)

avatar JenfuuOctober 11, 2013, 6:32 pm EST

Just hiked this trail, Started at the Look Trail, and hiked up to the west peak, adn then down the Brook trail. This was my first hike on this mountain, and I absolutely loved it. Saw a few groups, but other then that was relatively quiet. Fat Man's Misery was a BLAST! we did get lost a few times, but managed to back track to pick up the trail. Brook Trail was extremely well marked for the return journey.

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Tumbledown Pond seen from the East Peak is scenic any time of year!
Tumbledown Pond seen from the East Peak is scenic any time of year!
Photo courtesy:Stephen Engle

This trail network in the Weld region of Maine accesses some of the most interesting features and most spectacular views of the Western Mountains Region of Maine.

Quick Facts

Activity
  • Hiking / Walking
TownTownship 6 North of Weld
DifficultyModerate, Advanced
Length10.6 miles, Network
SurfaceDirt/Forest Floor, Rock/Ledge
PetsPermitted
FeesNo
Other ActivitiesNone

Current Weather

April 24, 2014
weather icon
Overcast
37°F feels like 29°F

Wind:
From the NNW at 13 MPH Gusting to 23 MPH
Humidity:
70%
Dew Point:
28°F

Source:
Weather Underground
5-Day Forecast

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