About the Mountain
Pleasant Mountain is a 2,006 foot high ridge that runs in a north-south direction alongside Moose Pond in southwestern Maine. Several hiking trails to the summit traverse the mountain from different directions, while the north end is covered with a network of ski trails that is visible from Highway 302. During winter months a ski lift takes skiers to the top for the 1500 foot descent back down the mountain.
Officially known as Shawnee Peak, the ski resort has a large base lodge, easily accessible from Highway 302 and sponsors other activities such as snowboarding, tubing and snowshoeing. The choice of downhill runs is moderate, but the view of Moose Pond is worth the trip to the top. Also, visible (on a clear day) are Mt. Washington and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The skiing experience at Shawnee Peak is generally considered to be very good. This resort does not have the alpine conditions that are sometimes found in the nearby New Hampshire and northern Maine, but snowfall is plenty ample and its location to the nearby metropolitan area of Portland attracts many skiers.
The Hiking Trails
Hikers on the trail system have several trail systems to choose from. The Ledges Trail begins on the east side of the mountain. The trail commences several miles south from Route 302 on Mountain Road near the edge of Moose Pond. The trailhead is a little hard to spot, so keep your eyes peeled. Parking is available along the side of the road and unlike the nearby White Mountain National Forest is free. The trail climbs quickly following some high ledges, which provide excellent views of Moose Pond and the forest below.
After the rocky outlooks, the path veers west to the summit, which is cluttered with a few man-made items such a fire tower and some communication towers. However, if you walk past the metal structures, you will find a wide open rocky field with a superb view of western Maine and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Take some time to sit down, rest and enjoy the vista. It is one of the better panoramas in Maine.
Two other foot trails run to the top of Pleasant Mountain. The Fire Warden Trail begins on the west side of the mountain, while a third trail, called the Southwest Ridge trail, makes an ascent from the south end. Hikers can find the Fire Warden trail on Wilton Warren Road, which is accessible from the township of Fryeburg. This is the quickest way to the top, but the footpath through the forest does not provide much of a view.
A Summer Harvest
On the other hand the southern route is a longer, more gradual climb that offers a few views along the first section of trail. This trailhead is located on a dirt road, just past Beaver Pond. All trails converge at the summit, which is located midway along the long ridge. One of the best times to climb this mountain is during August, when the plentiful fields of wild blueberries come into season. The tasty wild berry grows all along the top of the entire ridge.