The hiking trails leave from the same parking lot and travel through adjacent conserved parcels - the Bingham Forest, owned by the Town of Bethel, and the Bethel Community Forest, owned by Inland Woods + Trails. The trails in both parcels are managed by Inland Woods + Trails.
Summit Ridge Trail
The Summit Ridge Trail is designed to be easy to moderate, following the contours of the terrain as it ascends the ridge where it takes in sweeping views to the south and west. It follows blue blazes from the parking lot in the Bethel Community Forest through a diverse set of landscapes before terminating at a turnaround point at a scenic overlook.
The trail begins in the the parking lot and coincides with a mountain bike trail for 100 feet before diverting straight ahead (the mountain bike loop trail leaves left and returns right--caution should be used at this intersection). The Summit Ridge Trail then passes through mixed aged hardwoods and over a few bog bridges for 0.25 miles before emerging at road where the mountain bike loop trail crosses from left to right. The hiking trail continues straight after crossing the road and reenters the woods. From here the trail heads north and then contours west and crosses several old logging roads until it reaches a stone wall, and turns east up through softwoods.
The trail emerges at Picnic Knoll 0.6 miles from the trailhead. There is a picnic table at which to enjoy a snack here, as well as views into the Bingham Forest valley and of the high peaks of backside of Sunday River. From Picnic Knoll the trail ascends a ridge with a mix of terrain on rocks before emerging at another logging road. The Summit Ridge Trail crosses the road and ascends through more rock and small ledge openings before emerging at the West Ledges at 1.2 miles. The trail continues climbing from the West Ledges in a sub-alpine forest, past a view point, and then to high view of the Bingham Forest valley where the trail ends at 1.6 miles. Return the way you came.
Bingham Cascades Trail
The Bingham Cascades Trail is a 6.9 mile round trip hiking trail that travels into the heart of the Bingham Forest valley. The trail is built in honor of Brent Angevine, who served as the founding Chair of the Bingham Forest Authority and Trustee of the Bethel Water District. Brent always asked us to build this trail to the cascades located in the heart of the Bingham Forest and therefore in his honor we have built this trail for the community to start to experience the splendor of the Bingham Forest. The trail is blazed in blue and crosses and uses several old woods roads as it winds its way to the center of the Bingham Forest valley.
The trail heads north from the Summit Ridge 0.1 miles after Picnic Knoll (1.6 miles from the parking lot) winding through a low lying evergreen portion of the community forest. Bog bridges aid hikers through this section. The trail then joins an old woods road for a short stretch, leaves it briefly at an intersection of woods roads, crosses a small stream, and rejoins the road for a few hundred yards through hardwoods before turning slightly west on new trail as hikers enter the Bingham Forest traveling through a stand of mixed hardwoods with larger aspens along the trail.
The Bingham Cascades trail contours slightly downhill north and east before running parallel to a more substantial stream which the trail crosses soon after. After crossing the stream the trail climbs briefly to well built woods road and passes through an old log landing before heading slightly downhill, across a stream before turning right off the road where a climb begins. The trail climbs at a moderate grade up and across through young but open hardwoods. There are several points at which the grade flattens briefly before climbing again. The trail the contours west crossing several depressions, ephemeral streams, and old skid roads before reaching an evergreen portion of the forest which the trail travels through before depositing the hiker onto a well established woods road. The trail turns right (NW) and follows this road into the Bingham Forest valley. After a walking along the woods road for 1/2 a mile the Bingham Cascade Trail becomes a loop. From here hikers have two choices to access the three unique cascades. Head right and uphill to the small Library Cascades or left along the another road to large Chapman Cascade. In the middle of the loop is a side trail to Upper Cascades with 0.3 miles of steep hiking to several large and differing cascades before reaching a turnaround at a short cascade with a pool. Once the loop is complete hikers return the way they came.
Caution is advised at the stream crossings and at the cascades themselves as footing may be difficult at times.
This trail passes through a property that was acquired in part with funds from the Land for Maine’s Future program. For more information about the LMF program and the places it has helped to protect, please visit the LMF webpage.
For additional information, visit the Inland Woods + Trails website, or contact:
From Bethel, take US-2 E, and immediately after crossing the Androscoggin River take a left on North Road. From Rumford, head west on US-2 for 22 miles, and just before the Androscoggin River on US-2, take a right on North Road.
Follow the North Road 2 miles to where the road takes a sweeping 90 degree turn to the west. At the beginning of this corner merge slightly right onto Daisy Bryant Road, go 0.2 miles, and turn right on Locke Mountain Road. Passing through the gate follow the single lane Locke Mountain Road for 0.6 miles until reaching the parking lot at the end of a field. The trail starts in the northeast corner of the parking lot.
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