The Great Pond Mountain Wildlands property is a sizeable nature preserve and recreation area located in East Orland. Its 4,500 acres are comprised of woodlands, wetlands, rivers, and several small mountains, including the property’s 1,029-foot-tall namesake. Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust (GPMCT) made their first purchase of land in the area in 2005 and have since expanded the preserve several times. They received a grant from the Land for Maine’s Future program in 2007.
The Great Pond Mountain Wildlands property is made up of two sections: the 875-acre Dead River parcel and the 3,420-acre Hothole Valley parcel, the latter of which houses a sizable wildlife protection zone. The existence of such a zone highlights GPMCT’s commitment to safeguarding the bears, otters, moose, beavers, porcupines, and more that inhabit the preserve. Additionally, more than 150 species of birds can be found in the area, including Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Osprey, and herons.
The Wildlands property is a great spot for hikers, bikers, paddlers, hunters, birdwatchers, cross-country skiers, horseback riders, and more. There is a popular hike to the top of Great Pond Mountain via a 1.5-mile moderately difficult trail that begins at the Stuart Gross Path Trailhead. It’s a gradual and pleasant ascent with some excellent views of the surrounding area at the top.
Closest Town: Orland
Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Paddling, Kayaking, & Canoeing, Hunting, Snowmobiling, Horseback Riding, Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing, Fishing, Birdwatching, Picnicking, Nature Study, Wildlife Watching
Region: Downeast Maine – Hancock & Washington
Directions: Turn right onto US-1 N and follow it for 3 miles before turning left onto Hatchery Road. Turn right onto Nature Trails Road after a mile and a half.