Mt Redington falls into the same category as Owl's Head and Mt Isolation as far as 4,000 footers in New England go: its difficult to get to, there are hundreds of horror stories and most people only do it because its a 4,000-footer. However, it is actually and unexpectedly delightful hike with abundant wildlife and relatively straightforward directions.
|The road to Mt Redington, Maine|
Well I better just bite the bullet and do it. I've climbed almost all the 4kers in Maine and New Hampshire with a few frustrating stragglers. I'll freely admit that the thought of hiking Mt Redington was not exactly appealing at first and that I was just doing it to say "I've hiked all the 4,000-footers". For those who are not from New England, the 4,000-footers are all the tallest mountains in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine that we dirtbag hikers hike purely for bragging rights. There's 67 of them and while most are great adventures, there are a few notable summits that are notoriously difficult and are often saved for last... and not because they're the best.
Here's a general guide for hiking Mt Redington-
Mt Redington is located just west of Sugarloaf and south of the Crocker Range. Occasionally some masochistic hikers like to try and bushwack from South Crocker to Redington but I've been told that is one of the fiercest bushwacks in New England. The route I describe is based mostly on abandoned logging roads and a few herd paths. Its actually a delightful hike.
The parking lot for Redington, the Crockers and the western approach up Sugarloaf is located about 5 miles up Caribou Valley Road. This road was more-or-less doable in a low-clearance vehicle. On the map it appears as if you can drive all the way to the Appalachian Trail crossing but the road is barricaded past the only parking lot on the road. From here, its either by foot or by bike. Please note that by strictest Appalachian Mountain Club standards, you may not use anything motorized or a bike to hike Redington or any other 4,000-footers. You would be surprised how seriously this rule is taken by us hardcore AMC hikers...
|Most of the hike is along old logging roads|
has an excellent GPS guide to Redington. The hike starts by passing the car gate on Caribou Valley Road. Hiking 0.5 miles further will bring you to the Appalachian Trail junction which is surprisingly easy to miss but marked nonetheless. In another 1.1 miles is the first major fork, bear left. Going to the right will lead you up a dead-end hill. The road become more-or-less of an ATV road at this point and it ends in another 1.5 miles. At this point, you make a very obvious right turn to bring Redington in full view. (This all makes sense if you use the map above or bring your Maine Gazetteer Map).
Its just under a mile to the next turn off and this is probably the most gorgeous part of the hike. I was calling it "The Valley of Wildlife". Most other trip reports I've read on Redington also mention seeing abundant wildlife around this area and the pines open up for uninhibited views. It really makes the hike worthwhile!
As you hike across the Valley, another obvious fork in the road appears and you turn right to finally start gaining some significant elevation. This goes on for about 0.6 miles and a few cairns mark the turn-off for the Redington herd path. At the time of the hike, there was even an arrow made of wood marking the way. Clearly this is becoming an actual hike and not a bushwack.
In another 0.3 miles there is another cairn which marks the path up to the summit. It is pretty well marked as of August 2013. As you can see on the map above, there appear to be several different smaller paths to get to the summit. The reports differ at this point but it is actually pretty clear when you're out there. Several cairns and orange taped trees make the way clear. At no point was I lost or confused although don't expect anything but a herd path. It would be a bit difficult to explain online, at this point, you really have to just follow the cairns and have a good GPS or compass and map.
|Clearly marked path to Redington|
|The "official" route up Redington|
Eventually the trail pops up on the bare summit and you're there! The summit has been cleared of trees but there is not much of a view. The Crockers are somewhat clear from the summit but its not like the view from Sugarloaf or Abraham. After a bit of searching, I was able to find the famous canister with the incorrect elevation.
|Not a great view, but a view nonetheless!|
It can be surprisingly difficult to find the place you popped out of on the summit, so keep mental notes of where you came from or make a carin. Once I was back on the herd path, I was able to get down without trouble. I wandered back through the valley of wildlife and took my time. Redington turned out to be a wonderful hike. In fact, I might actually do that one again.
Read. Plan. Get Out There!