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23 September 2018

A Hike to Mt. Chase (near Patten, Maine)

INTRODUCTION:

During a brief visit to northern Maine in mid-September 2018, there was time for a short hike to Mt. Chase which is located near Patten, ME.  This trek is 3.4 mile round-trip with an elevation gain of 1,430 ft

The trailhead for Mt. Chase is about 9 miles NNW of Patten on Mountain Road (near the settlement of Hersey, ME).  Rising 2,440 feet above sea level, Mt. Chase features expansive views from the mountain’s bald summit, as well as views from an optional side-trek to a lower-elevation knob named Eagle's Point. 

Map showing location of Mt. Chase in relation to Patten, ME

PHOTOS:

A little over a mile into the hike, you arrive at the old fire warden’s cabin.  Very few of these cabins are still standing.
This vintage photo shows the cabin shortly after it was constructed around 1922.
This photo was taken of the interior of old fire warden’s cabin on Mt. Chase.  It’s sort of sad to see it in such a dilapidated condition.
At about 1.5 miles from the trailhead, there is the sign shown in above photo.  At this intersection you can hike a short spur trail to a rocky outcrop called Eagle’s Point, or you can continue onward to complete the last leg of the hike to the summit of Mt. Chase.
The above photo was taken from Eagle’s Point en route to Mt. Chase.  Shown here are Lower and Upper Shin Pond.  Slightly beyond the ponds is Sugarloaf Mountain (not to be confused with the Sugarloaf Mountain that is home to a ski resort in western Maine), and behind Sugarloaf is massive Traveler Mountain whose main peak (3,550 ft elevation) is the highest mountain in Maine north of Mt. Katahdin.  Farther off (about 25 miles SW), but hidden by clouds, are mountains of Baxter State Park, including Mt. Katahdin.
There is no sign at the summit of Mt. Chase, but there is a communications building, and just east of that is a metal U.S. Geological Survey marker stamped into the bedrock between the footings of an old fire tower.  According to Forest Fire Lookout Association Maine Chapter, the first fire tower on Mt. Chase was a wooden structure constructed in 1909.  In 1917, it was replaced by a 16-ft tall steel tower which has since been dismantled and relocated to the Patten Lumberman’s Museum in 2001.
From the summit of Mt. Chase, there is a view that is very similar to the view shown earlier from Eagle’s Point.  If pressed for time, you could skip Eagle’s Point since it offers nearly the same views as the summit of Mt. Chase.  Or if really pressed for time, you could skip the summit of Mt. Chase and end your hike at Eagle’s Point, thereby saving yourself about an additional half-mile (round trip) of hiking, plus a couple hundred feet of elevation gain.

This is another photo taken near the summit of Mt. Chase.  In this snapshot, I could see Eagle’s Point which I had visited on my way up the mountain.

TO SUM IT UP:

Mt. Chase would be a hike that I would recommend, but with certain caveats as follows.  This hike has several steep spots, particularly at the upper end of the trail.  Also, it would be advisable to use a vehicle with 4WD/AWD and high ground clearance to travel the road leading to the trailhead (Mountain Road).  It has several large protruding rocks and deep potholes, some of which are filled with water.

2 comments:

Rita Wechter said...

It looks like you had a nice vacation in Maine. While you were in Maine Tim and I were in Vermont and the Adirondacks, visiting Tim's old college roommate. It was a wonderful trip, but we were a bit early for fall color.

It's too bad that the old fire cabin couldn't have been converted into a shelter of some sort. But maybe there wouldn't be anyone to maintain it?
I love the views from Mt. Chase. From your pictures and descriptions this seems like a rugged area—my kind of place!

1HappyHiker said...

Thank you for your comments, Rita. And, it’s terrific to know that you and Tim had a wonderful visit in Vermont and the Adirondacks. Both areas are so beautiful all year round.

All the best,
John