Finding the trailhead to Tumbledown Mountain in northern Maine is an adventure, but once that task is completed, an excellent hiking adventure awaits. Still, despite its isolated location, Tumbledown attracts many summer visitors. Besides the enthralling climb and a excellent mountain panorama from the summit, there is a high-altitude pond, where hikers can cool off after a hot, summer aerobic workout.
To climb Tumbledown you first need to drive to Jay, Maine on Highway 4, then turn left on 156 which will take you into the thriving metropolis of Weld, Maine. At Weld go straight at the four-way stop then turn left when you see a sign for Webb Corners. After ½ a mile proceed straight on a logging road, called Morgan Road and finally after 2 ½ miles take a right onto another logging road called Byron Road. This last route is not much more than a jeep trail that will take you past the Brook Trail trailhead to a parking area for the Loop Trail and Parker’s Ridge.
Climbing up the Parker’s Ridge trail and coming down the Brook Trail makes for a nice all day hike. The hike to Parker’s Ridge rises 1700 feet and passes through mixed deciduous forest that gradually gives way to a spruce- pine-hemlock mixture. Occasional views through the trees to the valley down below are nice, but a real treat awaits hikers when they reach the rocky ridge. For at this point the trail breaks out onto a sparsely forested plateau with great views.
From the ridge there is a short downhill stroll that takes you to the pond. This alpine body of water is so enticing that many hikers spend their time here instead of continuing on the last section of trail to the summit. However, the summit has great views as well, espepecially towards Sugarloaf, Saddleback, Bigelow, the Mahousics and even parts of the Presidential Range in New Hampshire. Also, there are several other summits located nearby, where more adventurous climbers can spend the rest of the day exploring.
To return to your vehicle you can retrace your steps along Parker’s Ridge or follow the Brook Trail that begins at the mouth of Tumbledown Pond. The Brook Trail drops quickly down a steep slope, but is longer because you have to pick up a spur trail at the base mountain to arrive back at the original logging road and parking lot.
Due to the swimming at the pond Tumbledown attracts many summer hikers, but those who wait for autumn get to view the intense fall colors of the Tumbledown Valley. Another popular place for viewing fall foliage is from the shores of Webb Lake, which is situated back on paved roads near Weld.