Ron Chase: Hiking the new trails on Ragged Mountain –

Forty-five years ago, there was only one trail leading to the summit of Ragged Mountain in the Camden Hills. The original Ragged Mountain Trail began on Gillette Road in Rockport and progressed southeast to the summit. Since the first part of the trail crossed private property, access was subject to landowner discretion and sometimes closed.

Much has improved in the ensuing years. About three decades ago, the Georges Highland Path (GHP) was opened. From Route 17 in West Rockport, the path traverses over Ragged Mountain to Barnstown Road in Camden. In addition, an adjunct trail was built starting at Thorndike Brook Trailhead on Hope Road that joins the primary route west of the highpoint. The lower portion of the original Ragged Mountain Trail was closed. Georges River Land Trust maintains GHP.

More recently, a trail network originating at the Camden Snow Bowl downhill ski area was added to the expanding Ragged Mountain system. Included are two footpaths on the north side of the mountain, Hosmer Brook and Red Diamond Trails. Both lead to the summit area. Cross-country ski and mountain bike trails are also located near the Snow Bowl. In 2020, the first section of Round the Mountain Trail, a biking and walking path, was constructed on the south and east perimeter of the massif. In short, Ragged Mountain has become a multi-faceted outdoor paradise.

Since GHP was established, my friends and I have done our best to wear out the Ragged Mountain trails. Now, most of us are old and retired, but we still return on a regular basis. Only about an hour drive from my home in Topsham, I find myself taking advantage of the spectacular views the captivating prominence has to offer several times a year. When I wrote my mountain guidebook, “Mountains for Mortals – New England,” Ragged Mountain was a must inclusion.

After I announced a Penobscot Paddle & Chowder Society club hike on Ragged Mountain in December, three retired Chowderheads immediately accepted the invitation. One participant, Dave Boyle, recommended a loop hike on Hosmer Brook and Red Diamond Trails. A new endeavor for the remainder of the group, we enthusiastically embraced his suggestion.

It was cool and breezy when the four of us met at the Camden Snow Bowl parking area. Unsure of trail conditions at higher elevations and expecting cold brisk winds, we packed micro …….


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