Gulf Hagas, known as the “Grand Canyon of Maine,” is a deep, rocky gorge located in the Ki-Jo Mary Multiple Use Forest east of Moosehead Lake. The vertically walled, slate gorge was formed by the West Branch of the Pleasant River. It is more than 4 miles long (6.5 km) and is up to 400-feet deep (122 m) in places.
The Gulf Hagas Rim Trail follows the rim of the gorge, as it’s name suggests. This vantage point provides stunning views of the various falls and the gorge’s fascinating geological formations. The heavily wooded trail is part of the Appalachian Trail and the 100 Mile Wilderness. The gorge itself is a National Natural Landmark.
Hiking the Gulf Hagas Rim Trail
Though Gorge Hagas is only around ten miles east of our Maine bed and breakfast as the crow flies, the remote wilderness in between increases the distance substantially.
The Rim Trail can be most easily accessed via two separate trailheads: the Gulf Hagas Parking Area and the Head of the Gulf Parking Area. Both are about 40 minutes from the Lodge at Moosehead Lake. Get directions to both trailheads and learn more about hiking the trail at www.mainetrailfinder.com.
The Rim Trail provides a fairly level, intermediate, 8 mile loop hike no matter which trailhead you start from. That being said, the trail is also quite rocky. Traversing its length will take longer than you might expect. It can still be fairly easily tackled in a day, though, and is well worth the effort.
The hike offers excellent views throughout, plus swimming holes and four beautiful waterfalls. Best of all, you don’t have to hike the whole trail to see the falls. Many people stop at Screw Auger Falls and enjoy a picnic lunch before turning around.
Planning Your Hike
Gulf Hagas is an excellent day trip for the experienced and prepared hiker.
The gorge is quite remote, deep in undeveloped wilderness. Before you hike the Gulf Hagas Rim Trail, you should have a trail map, or a USGS topo sheet, and a compass. Sturdy, sensible footwear, appropriate seasonal clothing, and an adequate supply of food and water are also strongly recommended.
The trail is open year-round and very popular for hiking and bird watching. In fact it can be a bit too popular for some, especially on weekends between 9am and 4pm. Those who prefer more solitude should consider hiking outside this peak period. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
Visit the Gulf Hagas page on www.mainetrailfinder.com for maps and more information.