Mount Cutler is a little mountain in Hiram Maine with an elevation of 1234 feet. I explored this area before and enjoyed the rugged terrain and beautiful views. Yesterday I drove the 10 miles or so to Hiram Village and headed out with Scout. The direct route up is extremely steep with drop offs and ledges, and I didn't want to take Scout over that as I don't know how good his puppy judgement is. Instead we ran down the snowmobile trail for a good long out and back, then started up the Saco Ridge Trail. This trail is blazed in red and leaves the snowmobile trail about a mile or so from the trail head parking. In the Spring I had trouble staying on this trail, but now it has been freshly blazed and appears to have been well traveled over the summer.
The mountain is small, only a hill really, but it is steep and rugged. I alternated running and walking up to the ridge. Along the way there is a little spur that cuts over to the Old Saco Ridge Trail that offers a very nice view of the Saco Valley and Hiram Village. I accidently continued on the Old Saco Trail and found myself going down a slippery slope that was so steep that Scout just wouldn't or couldn't stop! When we got down where it was a little more level I thought things out and realized we shouldn't be heading down already and the blazes had turned to blue. Oh well, we turned around and scrambled back up and found our turn.
Continueing over the red blazed trail we enjoyed views of the Hiram Hills, Baldwin, and the White Mountains. Snow covered Mount Washington was as clear as could be from several overlooks. The Saco Valley still has some nice folliage, very golden and yellow and glowing. All of the ridge is very runnable, but one must be careful because there are a few places where it is easy to loose the trail. One can easily find himself on a different hiking trail, an ATV trail, or in the middle of a bush whack and have to back track. I did this several times last time I was here.
Yesterday I did better.
Instead of completing the loop down the direct steep ledgy trail that we had avoided to begin with, I took the White Flag trail through a gentler, more wooded and longer route down. Strangely, the blazes abruptly changed from white to blue half way down, which caused me to stop and back track to where they changed, just to be sure i was still on the trail. I was, so I continued down.
This trail comes out on Hiram Hill Road, a little distance from the village where the trail head parking is. If you do this loop, and I highly reccomend it, turn right when you hit the paved Hiram Hill Rd and run about 1/4 mile down the road, looking for the rail road tracks on your right. Follow the tracks and they'll complete the loop taking you directly to your car.
The loop isn't longer than 4 or 5 miles at most, but you can easily get 10 or more miles in on the nicely groomed snowmobile trails that circle the mountain. Be prepared for some walking on the climb, no matter which trail you use. This mountain is known for its rugged steepness. And bring a camera (I left my new camera in the car), the views are incredible!