Aside from the obvious draw of Baxter State Park , many smaller parks and preserves offer excellent hiking opportunities in the Moose-head region. One of the most obvious is Mount Kineo, the dramatic cliff-sided island in the middle of the lake. The easiest way to get to the trailhead is to take a boat across from Rockwood. It’s also possible to drive from the opposite side of the lake. The route is a short, steep hike up the naturally stratified layers of rock that rewards hikers with a view of the lake on all sides.
Another popular hike is the one to the fire tower atop Big Squaw Mountain, east of the lake, an easy four-mile round-trip hike that affords spectacular views. If you are feeling lazy, a chairlift from Big Squaw ski resort will whisk you up to the tower in 15 minutes. Another mountain popular with hikers doesn’t even have a trail up to its peak.
Elephant Mountain is named for obvious reasons—its massive bulk uncannily resembles a pachyderm. But the mountain’s biggest draw is the wreck of a B-52 bomber, which crashed here during training maneuvers in high winds in January 1963. Of the nine passengers, two were rescued in a heroic attempt to reach them through 15 feet of snow the next day.
The bomber’s remains, which can be reached by an easy half-hour trail, are scattered across the mountainside, with guns and wing sections peeking out through the trees and a row of American flags marking the fallen soldiers at the fuselage.