Baxter Area Biking

Mount Kineo
At a Glance
Length/Configuration : 20-mile combination (short spur leads to long loop)
Aerobic Difficulty : Moderate; a few short grades
Technical Difficulty : Jeep trails require only a modest level of technical skill
Scenery : Kineo is a dramatic mountain peninsula jutting into Moosehead Lake
Special Comments : Consider riding this trail in early June with the many riders who turn out for the Tour de Moose, an annual race and tour

The Mount Kineo 20-mile loop follows hard-packed logging roads as they meander around the base of the Mount and along the shores of Moosehead Lake , Maine's largest body of water. The trail follows the route of the Tour de Moose, a local race and tour held in conjunction with"Moose Mainea," the Moosehead Lake-area celebration of the largest member of the deer family. The elevation gain is slight, limited to a couple of short, easy climbs, and the technically challenging obstacles are confined to a few washed-out sections that can be crossed with a minimum of risk. This ride is well suited for beginning riders in moderate physical condition. Cyclists who attempt this ride should be equipped with a reliable map and familiar with basic map-reading skills.Mount Kineo appears to burst from the depths of Moosehead Lake, towering 800 feet over the lake surface. Volcanic in origin, the dramatic cliffs still display the scars of the forces that have acted upon it: from the bubbling lava boiling up from beneath the earth's crust to the grinding action and compression of the glaciers that have passed over it. It was against this backdrop of rugged beauty that the Kineo House was constructed. Built during a time characterized by luxury and opulence, the hotel boasted accommodations for 800. Wealthy patrons from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia favored the area's clean, crisp air and excellent fishing. Vacations usually entailed a stay for the whole summer, so the resort had to be capable of supporting and holding the large numbers of visitors. There was a yacht club, golf course, and riding stable attached to the resort. In fact, the first part of the ride follows some of the old carriage paths that meandered through the area.

Around the turn of the century, visitors could board the train in New York City and ride straight through to Moosehead Lake, where a steamer transported people to Mount Kineo. There is nothing left of the old hotel, which was consumed by fire many years ago. A few of the old outbuildings once associated with the inn complex are still standing. They are rather dilapidated, with peeling paint and rotten boards, but nevertheless manage to retain the dignity of this fine resort. There remains a small inn at the site, which provides overnight accommodations, meals, and excellent access to the hiking and mountain biking trails nearby.

We highly recommend completing this ride during the Tour de Moose. The modest entry fee includes a ferry ride to the Kineo House, a T-shirt, and a chance to mix it up with the local mountain bike talent. This is an excellent first mountain bike race for anyone feeling so inclined.

Map of Mount Kineo

General Location: Mount Kineo is located in the center of Moosehead Lake in Piscataquis County.
Elevation Change: There is no significant change in elevation throughout this ride, which is characterized by short, moderate hills.
Season: This ride is usually initiated in early June with a race that is organized in conjunction with"Moose Mainea": an annual month-long festival and celebration. Riding conditions remain good well into the fall.
Services: At the base of Mount Kineo, there is a casual inn called the Kineo House. The Kineo House offers lodging, lunch and dinner, and access to a variety of outdoor adventures. Information is available from the Kineo House by calling (207) 534-8812, or can be requested in writing at P.O. Box 397, Rockwood, ME 04478. All other services are available in Greenville.
Hazards: At some points along this ride, culverts have been washed out and water flows freely across the road. Be aware that some of these areas may at times be characterized by soft ground and deep water.
Rescue Index: The most realistic source of assistance on this ride is the Kineo House at the base of Mount Kineo. At the farthest point on the ride, this means that you will be approximately 10 miles from assistance.
Land Status: Private logging roads open for recreational use.
Maps: This ride is clearly depicted in the DeLorme Mapping Company's Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (map 41, sections A-1 and A-2). Try to use the most recent edition of the Gazetteer, as the road system can change from one year to the next. The USGS quad for the area is Mount Kineo.

Finding the Trail: This ride begins on Mount Kineo, which is accessible from Rockwood by means of a boat shuttle across Moosehead Lake. Parking for the shuttle is located at the dock in Rockwood.

Source of Additional Information:
North Woods Outfitters
Main Street
Greenville, ME 04441
(207) 695-3288

North Woods Outfitters not only offers bicycle sales and service, but a staff of knowledgeable riders who can provide you with trail information and a coffee shop that serves java in all its delectable forms. Kayaks, canoes, and camping equipment are also available at this excellent resource for outdoor explorers.

Notes on the Trail: From the Kineo House at the base of Mount Kineo, begin pedaling toward the peninsula that connects Mount Kineo with the mainland. Immediately after crossing the peninsula, bear right at the fork in the road. You will be riding toward Cowan Cove. Stay on the main road and avoid several side roads off to the left and right. As the road loops up around Cowan Cove, bear right at the first fork you come to and then bear left at the second fork. After crossing a small stream, bear left. Turn right at the next junction and cross Cowan Brook. Immediately past the brook, turn right. At this point you will begin riding south toward Ronco Cove. Ride past a road branching off on the left and continue along the main road all the way to Lucky Pond. Cross the outlet for Lucky Pond and then pass a road on the right and a road on the left before crossing a small stream. Turn left immediately after this stream. Ride past a road on the right that leads up to Spencer Pond and continue following the road over Lucky Brook. Bear right at an intersection immediately past the brook and return to the junction at Cowan Brook. From here, retrace your route back to Mount Kineo.

© Article copyright Menasha Ridge Press. All rights reserved.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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