Mountain peaks as far as the eye can see rule the rugged terrain of the Upper Kennebec River and Moose River valleys between Moosehead Lake and the Canadian border. Commercial forestlands dominate this remote region, but it is also sprinkled liberally with public and private conservation lands and conservation easements.
Located in Somerset County and rising to a lofty elevation of 3,717 feet, Coburn Mountain reigns supreme over this veritable sea of green summits. The mountain’s rounded dome, recognizable from many compass points around this part of northwestern Maine, can be reached by a short but steep climb – 1,300 feet in just 1.2 miles – over its eastern flank.
Coburn Mountain is the site of the long defunct Enchanted Mountain Ski Area, which operated briefly from 1966 to 1973. Billed as the “Switzerland of Maine,” skiers were encouraged to “come to Enchanted Mountain … where the skiing is fun and exciting, for beginner and expert.” Today, hikers can follow one of the old ski trails on the way to the top.
The Coburn Mountain trailhead is just north of the former ski area base. It’s a 2 1/2-mile drive in on Enchanted Mountain Road, which used to be in rough shape but is now quite passable. The road is off U.S. Route 201, 11 miles north of the bridge over the Kennebec River in The Forks and 15 miles south of the junction of U.S. Route 201 and Maine Routes 6 and 15 in Jackman.
What was the main ski trail and lift line on the mountain is still visible as you approach the 2,424-foot base of the mountain. The first mile of the hike leads along a snowmobile trail that was once Enchanted’s northernmost ski trail. No ATVs are allowed on the trail, which is maintained by the Coburn Summit Riders snowmobile club, so it’s in really good shape.
Just beyond the radio repeater tower atop the old double chairlift line, a narrow path enters the thick conifers and climbs pretty much straight up the southeast face of Coburn. On top, there’s another radio repeater tower, a Quonset hut and a solar array. The path continues a few yards to the old 1938 fire tower, the cab of which was replaced with an observation deck.
According to the AMC Maine Mountain Guide, “Coburn Mountain is the highest peak in the region, with spectacular views …….