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Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary


Encompassing more than 1,600 acres in Maine’s Hundred Mile Wilderness region, Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary offers a spectacular array of natural features, including rare older forest, three crystalline ponds, exposed granite crags and sweeping, panoramic views.

Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary is open year round, dawn to dusk. Historic lodges are available to rent. Maine Audubon members hike free; $5/person for the general public.

Hiking & Trails

View the trails at Maine Trail Finder
Among Maine’s most popular hiking destinations, Borestone Mountain offers a  moderately strenuous, yet kid-friendly climb that culminates with spectacular 360-degree views from two peaks at nearly 2,000 feet. With binoculars, hikers sometimes see moose feeding below.

Connected trails are marked with blazes and lead 2.5 miles from the sanctuary entrance on Bodfish Road to the top of the mountain.

Base Trail — This 0.8-mile trail begins from the shale-covered access road, at the first kiosk to the left. It winds through mature forest and back to the access road, which continues another 0.2 mile to the Visitor Center at Sunrise Pond.

Hikers may also walk up the access road 1.3 miles from the sanctuary entrance to the Visitor Center. An overlook easily approached from the Base Trail and access road offers an expansive view of Greenwood Pond.

Summit Trail — From the Visitor Center, the 1.0-mile Summit Trail follows Sunrise Pond’s shore before climbing steeply through spruce and, in its final stage, over exposed rock. Hikers emerge after 0.7 mile onto the summit of the mountain’s West Peak, with the highly recommended choice of continuing another 0.3 mile to the East Peak.

Thanks to the Maine Conservation Corps, 130 stone steps help hikers ascend. There also are two steel hand/footholds set in rock.

Hiking fees help Maine Audubon maintain the trails at Borestone.

  • Maine Audubon members as well as children under six hike free
  • $5/nonmember adults
  • $3/nonmember students, seniors, and each participant from school and other groups

Trail map (click to enlarge): 

View the trails at Maine Trail Finder

More trail information here. [pdf]

Wildlife & Habitat

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.

  • Lack of mature forest habitat in Maine makes Borestone a special sanctuary for wildlife. Goshawks wing through deciduous stands of trees to prey on grouse. Pine martens seek nesting red squirrels. Canada lynx, following snowshoe hare, leave tracks visible in snow. Raccoons, owls, woodpeckers, and other species nest in tree cavities.
  • Particularly in early summer, birders can look for yellow- bellied sapsucker, red-breasted nuthatch, boreal chickadee, several vireos, winter wren, hermit thrush, white-throated sparrow, and eight to ten warbler species
    (including Blackburnian, Cape May, and bay-breasted).
  • Common ravens and turkey vultures regularly soar above the mountain’s exposed granite summit, while peregrine falcons appear along the cliff faces.
  • Borestone’s three clear and deep, spring-fed alpine ponds are fishless, offering unique habitat for invertebrates and amphibians, including beavers and the dragonflies that eat mosquitos and black flies. Although fish-eating birds are uncommon at the ponds, Borestone visitors sometimes hear loons calling from nearby Lake Onawa.
  • Visitors also can see and hear bullfrogs, leopard frogs, gray tree frogs, and red-spotted newts.
  • Lining Borestone’s trails are blueberry and hobble bushes, as well as wildflowers ranging from earlyblooming dog-tooth violet to late-flowering whitewood aster. Mushrooms proliferate in early fall. A variety of mosses and lichens grow in wet areas and on rocks throughout the sanctuary.

Nearby Day Trips

Borestone Mountain is within striking distance of several natural wonders of the North Woods, including:

  • Little Wilson Falls and Gorge: One of the highest waterfalls in Maine. The main falls drop over 50 feet, and a long slate canyon below holds many scenic views of the gorge, plus several great swimming holes! An easy hike from the Wilson Stream bridge at the base of Borestone Mountain.
  • Big Wilson Cliffs: large slate cliffs that overlook the Wilson Stream valley and the side of Borestone Mountain.
  • Slugundy Falls and Gorge: An impressive slate gorge with chains of waterfalls along the Long Pond Stream. Slugundy Gorge is similar (although smaller) to the famous Gulf Hagas canyon, which lies a few miles northeast.
  • Barren Mountain : a strenuous, 4.5 mile climb up the western ridge of Barren Mountain via the Appalachian Trail leads past the impressive boulder-field of the Barren Ledges to the open summit and its abandoned fire-tower, with panoramic views of the area. Another 1/2 mile’s hike leads to Cloud Pond, an high-altitude glacial tarn.
  • Appalachian Mountain Club trails and lodges: The AMC is developing a network of trails and lodges for hikers and cross-country skiers in the vicinity of Katahdin Iron Works, just north of Borestone Mountain. Visit the AMC’s Maine Woods webpages for details.

The nearby towns of Monson and Greenville also host a number of attractions and hearty dining options. Monson’s General Store hosts Friday-evening bluegrass jam sessions, and the town of Greenville is a departure point for cruises of Moosehead Lake on the historic steamboat Katahdin.

Contact & Directions

Contact us

  • (207) 631-4050 June-September
  • (207) 781-2330 October-May
  • Directions

From Bangor or Portland, take I-95 to Newport (Exit 157 from the south, or Exit 159 from the north). Follow Route 7 north to Dexter, then take Route 23 north to Guilford. In Guilford, turn left onto Route 15/6 to Monson. After passing through the village of Monson, turn right onto Elliotsville Road. After 8 miles turn left, after the bridge, onto Bodfish Road. Parking area is approximately .2 miles on the left, after the railroad tracks. The gate and trailhead are on the right.

Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary is located on Map 41 of Delorme’s Maine Atlas.

History

In the early 1900s Robert T. Moore managed a fox ranch on what is now Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary. Aided by the Canadian Pacific railway station on the edge of his land, he sold award-winning pelts to auctions in New York.

In 1909 Moore hired noted Bangor architect Wilfred E. Mansur to design the Adirondack-style lodges on Sunset Pond. Lodge guests today can still savor quiet evenings in front of a stone hearth or on porches overlooking ponds.

Moore bequeathed Borestone to the National Audubon Society in 1958, and gifts by his son and daughter and other donors enlarged the sanctuary to its present 1,639 acres. In 2000, the National Audubon Society transferred Borestone Sanctuary to Maine Audubon.

Today, beautiful Borestone Mountain is the center piece of Maine Audubon’s only North Woods Sanctuary. Thanks to Maine Audubon and the surrounding community’s support and involvement, more than 4,000 hikers every year have access to this treasured mountain.