Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary is near the southern end of Maine’s “100-Mile Wilderness” forest. Uncut for more than a century, its forest is unlike much of the region’s spruce-fir and northern hardwood forest, which has been cut for timber every 50-70 years. The Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary contains a network of trails. At the top of the Access Road and Base Trail, there is a visitor center, bathrooms, and picnic tables at the edge of the first pond in a string of three on the property. The visitor center is the meeting point of the various public trails in the Sanctuary. By walking up Access Road or Base Trail from the parking lot, one can reach the trailheads for the Sanctuary's other trails. The Summit Trail and Peregrine Ridge Trail originate at the visitor center, and the Fox Pen Loop Trail begins 0.1 miles from the start of the Summit Trail.
Base Trail (0.8 miles): The Base Trail begins just beyond the gate at the trailhead next to a kiosk. The trail winds up the mountain through a mature forest. After about 0.5 miles of a moderate climb, the Base Trail intersects with a short trail that provides a lookout. The lookout trail crosses the Access Road to a rock ledge that has an open view south over mountains and lakes. The diversion and return trip to the lookout from the Base Trail should take about 10 minutes. Continue uphill on the Base Trail for 0.3 more miles until it ends at the Access Road. It is a 0.2 mile walk further up the Access Road to reach the visitor center. There are bathrooms on the road en route to the visitor center. An alternative to the Base Trail is to walk 1.1 miles up the shale-covered Access Road.
Peregrine Trail (0.4 miles): The Peregrine Trail begins opposite the visitor center. The trail navigates gradually upwards above a series of cliffs that overlook the three ponds in the Sanctuary. Just under 0.2 miles into the trail there is a fork in the trail. Stay to the left as the trail right is for staff only. The trail reaches a dead end at a ledge above the cliffs that provides great views of the ponds below and the summit of Borestone Mountain.
Summit Trail (0.8 miles): The Summit Trail starts at the visitor center and curves around the south side of the pond. After about 0.2 miles the trail begins a steep ascent towards the summit. The ascent goes through a mature spruce forest and includes over a hundred stone steps along the way. The final ascent to the West Peak is over exposed ledge, sometimes requiring the use of hands for the climb. To reach the East Peak it is a short traverse along exposed ledge towards the summit. The East Peak summit has a sign that identifies many of the mountains, ponds, and lakes that are visible from the 360 degree view on the summit.
Fox Pen Loop Trail (0.3 miles): The Fox Pen Loop Trail stems from the Summit Trail about 0.1 miles from the visitor center. The trail meanders down to a marsh area. There are boardwalks that traverse the marsh to the far side where the loop begins. On the far side of the loop there are remnants of fox pens just beneath the an exposed wall of rock.
Thanks to the Maine Conservation Corps, 130 stone steps help hikers ascend. There also are two steel hand/footholds set in rock.
Public toilets are located near the Visitor Center, located roughly halfway up the mountain.
Hiking fees help Maine Audubon maintain the trails at Borestone: Maine Audubon members as well as children under six hike free; otherwise, trail fees are $5 per nonmember adult and $3 for nonmember students, seniors, and school group participants.
Natural Heritage Hikes is a project of the Maine Natural Areas Program in partnership with Maine Trail Finder. View the "Borestone Mountain - Fox Pen Loop Trail and Summit Trail" guide online here.
Visit Maine Audubon online for more information and a printable map or contact:
The trailhead to the Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary has a parking lot. The trailhead is located next to a kiosk beyond a gate.
To reach the trailhead, head north out of the village of Monson on ME Route 15/6. Bear right on to Elliotsville Road and continue for 7.6 miles. Stay on the paved road across a bridge over Wilson Stream. Immediately after the bridge turn left up a hill on Mountain Road (there should be a sign at the turn for Borestone Mountain). After 0.6 miles there is a railroad track. Cross the railroad tracks and continue for another 0.1 miles. The parking lot will be on the left side of the road and the gate for the trailhead will be on the right.
Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary is located on Map 41 of Delorme’s Maine Atlas.
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Just a note regarding the kid friendly label: if you have smaller children please reconsider the Summit trail. We encountered screaming children on the summit twice. Felt bad for the kids and for the parents/guardians. It's steep and rocky and probably terrifying for little ones.