The Grindstone Trail


chickadee-signThe East Branch of the Penobscot is historically significant for river driving from the mid-1800′s until the early 1900′s. In 1904, over 75,500,000 board feet of lumber was driven down the river to various mills in Eastern Maine by the East Branch Driving Company. Later, the East Branch carried pulpwood to supply the paper mills in Millinocket.

The East Branch is at times tranquil and smooth, but then churns untamed and frenzied as it passes through the gorge at Grindstone Falls. Just north of Grindstone Falls is an iron bridge for rail traffic passing over Route 11 and the town of Grindstone.

Grindstone is so small that it is not included in Ava H. Chadbourne’s volume of Maine Place Names and can go easily unnoticed by the motoring public. Following Route 11 and you will be rewarded with majestic and unequaled views of Mount Katahdin over the next four miles. Some have said that the vistas of Katahdin are so remarkable because the summit rises from such an otherwise uncluttered and peaceful landscape.


Special Caution: There is a section of the trail where it is a paved two lane collector road with graveled shoulders and is a principal route for logging trucks and over heavy haulage. Motorists must take care not to be distracted by the scenery and are encouraged to use any of the several available turnouts and vantage points to savor the scenic beauty found along the trail. The drive is both scenically pleasant and stimulating as it contains three different ninety degree curves on route to Stacyville.

Side Trips: There is a side trip available at milepost 19.9, by taking the Old Matagamon Tote Road, which leads up to a hike up Lookout Mountain, scenic wilderness, camping and fishing at Whetstone Falls and further west to Wassataquoik Stream for more outdoor adventure.

Important Links:

Directions: From Interstate 95, take exit 244 Medway/Millinocket. Head onto Route 11/157 West into Medway. At milepost .2, turn right onto Nicatou Road towards the town of Grindstone. This road is the beginning of the trail; the end is at the intersection of Route 11 & Route 158 in Patten, Maine, total trail mileage is 25.1 miles.

Emergency Services:

  • Ambulance: Millinocket Fire Department – 222 Aroostook Avenue, (207) 723-026
  • Ambulance: Paten Ambulance Service – 1-800-432-7911
  • Emergency Medical Services: Millinocket Hospital – 200 Somerset Street, (207) 723-5161,
  • Police: Millinocket Police Department – 197 Penobscot Avenue, (207) 723-9731
  • Police: Penobscot County Sherriff – 1-800-423-7911
  • Police: Maine State Police – 1-800-924-2261
  • Fire: Sherman Mill’s Fire Department – 20 Golden Ridge Rd, (207) 365-4229
  • Fire: Patten Fire Department – 27 Dearborn St, 1-800-432-7911