|Little Wilson Falls|
Directions – Little
Wilson Falls is in Elliotsville Township, a little south of Moosehead Lake. Take Route 6/15 into Monson. This is the main road to from the south. Driving north about a half mile from the center of Monson, you will see a sign on the right for the Borestone Mountain Sanctuary. Take this road (Elliotsville Road.) Drive 7.3 miles until you reach a small bridge that crosses Greenville . Just before this bridge turn left onto a dirt road. (Just the other side of the bridge is the paved left for Big Wilson Stream . The next hiking post will describe going up Borestone.) The dirt road is not maintained and has a lot of potholes in it. You will need to drive slowly. A couple of camp roads will branch off of it. Keep to the left at all of these branches. When you come to the end of the road, you will see a couple of picnic tables and Little Wilson Stream. There is room for several vehicles to park. Borestone Mountain
There is actually a smaller set of falls visible right here at the parking spot. If you do not want to do any hiking you can still drive to here, have a fire pit and table for a picnic, and enjoy the smaller falls. People also come here to dive into the water and swim around.
|Little Wilson Stream|
The AMC hiking guide for Maine says that to reach Little Wilson Falls you should ford the stream “where the bridge used to be”, then walk up a logging road until it intersects with the Appalachian Trail, then follow the Appalachian trail back to Little Wilson Stream, ford back over it, then follow the Appalachian Trail to the falls. Fording the same stream twice didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I decided to see if I could just bushwhack up the same side of the stream I was already on. It turned out a lot of other people must have had the same idea because I found a moderately worn footpath to follow.
From the parking area you should head upstream towards the trees. You will find a worn path heading up into the trees. Take it. It will parallel the stream for much of the way to the falls. The path is worn well enough to see, although ferns and other plants had grown over it in some places. There is a lot of walking over roots, so watch your footing. There is a lot of old moss in the forest.
|On the footpath to Little Wilson Falls|
The path rises very gradually, eventually moving up and a little away from the stream. At about eight tenths of a mile this footpath intersects with the
Appalachian Trail. There was a ribbon tied around a tree at this junction. Someone had written some informal signage at this point. It actually seemed to point the wrong way for the falls. I just stayed on the Appalachian Trail heading upstream and in another two tenths of a mile I came to the falls. (If you are looking for a more challenging hike you can simply take the Appalachian Trail from where it crosses Route 6/15 and go to the falls that way. I believe it is around 7-8 miles to reach them.)
Over the years Little Wilson Falls has gouged a canyon right out of the slate that makes up so much of the underlying strata of this part of the state. You cannot see the falls head on, but you come to them part way down their cascade and you can easily get to the top of them. Looking down the falls into the canyon was quite impressive. I had the falls all to myself. I just sat there for a while enjoying the view and the sound of the water.
There is a little cupboard on the
When you decide to head back the way you came, you need to be careful identifying the path you came in on. I watched for the ribbon I had seen. When I came to it I could see two paths, so I took the one that stayed closer to the stream figuring that logically it would be the one I came in on. This turned out to be wrong. This was a spur of the
Appalachian Trail that led down over some stone steps to the banks of Little Wilson Stream. It looked like this would be an informal campsite for someone hiking the trail.
I retraced my steps back to the ribbon and took the path to the right. I quickly started recognizing other landmarks so I knew I was on the right trail. When I go back there someday I am going to explore a little to understand how the heck the
Appalachian Trail comes in and goes out. It was almost as if it looped back on itself.
When I got back to the parking area there were six kids jumping off rocks into the water. Before I left, a mom pulled up in a van to get the kids. These were the only people I saw the entire time.
Other than a little bit of a rough road to drive over for a mile or so, and a little bit of confusion on the trail back, I had a very pleasant time on this hike. If you like waterfalls at all then this hike is highly recommended.
Cumulative distance: 2 miles
Cumulative elevation gain: 350 feet
Cumulative duration: 1-2 hours (including time for photos)
Maine Hiking Guide