Solitude rules in Maine’s iconic 100-Mile Wilderness, where moose encounters, coyotes’ howls, and sweeping views of the forested lake country are common. Venture deep into the heart of it all on this moderate 20-mile loop, beginning by fording Hay Brook (tricky in high water) on the Old Pleasant River Tote Road. Hike on to the Hermitage, a stately grove of white pines, then join the Appalachian Trail at mile 0.75. Continue on and delve into a twisting slate canyon to reach thundering Screw Auger Falls, then turn up Gulf Hagas Brook and wind up to the Carl Newhall Lean-To at mile 6. Sleep here, or go another 2 miles to the Sidney Tappan campsite, summiting Gulf Hagas Mountain en route. Switchback through spruce and balsam fir to 3,178-foot West Peak, then hop over to 3,244-foot Hay Mountain and the White Brook Trail. Scramble up a side trail to your high point, 3,654-foot Whitecap Mountain, where panoramic views of Mount Katahdin, 50 miles to the north, await. Retrace your steps, then leave the AT to descend along an unnamed logging road, following signs for Hay Brook to return to your car.
Info: $5 land use fee plus $8/person/night camping fee ($8 and $10 for non-Maine residents); northmainewoods.org. Appalachian Trail Guide to Maine (Maine Appalachian Trail Club)
Hike provided by Maine Outdoor Adventure ClubEvent and membership info: moac.org
Location: 45.5404853820801, -69.3205261230469