The Island Falls Trail begins at the intersection of Route 11 and Route 159 East in Patten. After taking in the Lumberman’s Museum, travelers interested in experiencing more of the history and culture of the northern Katahdin valley region can do just that in Island Falls. But first, those with keen botanical and ornithological interests, a side trip to the Thousand Acre Bog could be just what you are looking for. The Bog contains numerous rare and indigenous plant species, plenty of birds in their natural setting and is rich in peat humus. There are NO marked trails, so only those experienced in wilderness orientation should venture into the woods.
History buffs should pay a visit to the Island Falls Historical Society on Nina Sawyer Lane at milepost 10.1 and can arrange a tour of the William Wingate Sewall house located on the north side of Route 159 at milepost 10.15. W.W. Sewall was a long-time companion of Theodore Roosevelt, who first met Sewall in 1878 while vacationing from college as a young man and stayed overnight in Sewall’s house.
Sewall and his nephew, Wilmot Dow, guided Roosevelt on a hunting and fisg excursion in and around Mattawamkeag Lake, where TR found a peaceful place located at the confluence of the West Branch Mattawamkeag and First Brook, to go and read his Bible each day. In 1920, a plaque was placed at this spot known as Bible Point by the Roosevelt Memorial Association and it was later name to the State Register of Historic Places in 1970. Many of the adventurous times TR had with Sewall and Dow were chronicled in Bill Sewall’s Story of TR and in A History of Island Falls, Maine, which includes a chapter written by TR entitled, My Debt to Maine.
Back on the trail don’t miss the Webb Museum of Vintage Clothing located at milepost 10.2. The trail continues across the bridge over the Mattawamkeag River southbound along Route 2, where Hurricane Ridge will appear to the east around milepost 13. As the trail turns west at milepost 21.3 onto Route 158, it rapidly descends into the peaceful little village of Sherman Mills. Route 158 takes you back to the intersection of Route 11 and reconnects with the Shin Pond Trail for the end of this trip.
The Island Falls Trail offers several side trip opportunities for site seeing. Should travelers continue eastward on Route 2, they’ll find the Island Falls Historical Tower located next to the Municipal Building on Main Street, just a few hundred yards beyond the milepost 10.7 intersection. This monument features the cupola and bell from the old Island Falls High School and a veteran’s memorial. The adjacent community park and playground offers a chance to stretch the legs and enjoy some physical activity before venturing further. Lady Bird Turnout, located 2 miles northeast on US Route 2, is a scenic turnout that features a stunning panoramic view of Upper and Lower Mattawamkeag Lake and a memorial to George F. Robinson, the man who was wounded while saving the life of Secretary of State Seward during the Lincoln assassination. There are also several well-marked public boat launches on both Pleasant and Mattawamkeag Lakes for water recreation.
- Patten Lumberman’s Museum – www.lumbermensmuseum.org
- Northern Katahdin Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce – www.katahdinmaine.com
- William Wingate Sewall House – www.sewallhouse.com
- Bible Point History – www.maine.gov/doc/parks/programs/history/biblepoint/history.htm
This trail begins at the intersection of Route 11 and Route 159 East in Patten. After about 10 miles you will be in the town of Island Falls. At milepost 10.17 is the intersection of Route 159 and Route 2 West. Turn onto Route 2 West to continue with the Island Falls Trail. Hurricane Ridge appears at milepost 13 and after passing the Island Falls – Crystal town line at milepost 14.4 the traveler will see impressive glimpses of Mt. Katahdin materializing to the southwest. At milepost 21.27 is the intersection of Route 2 and Route 158. Route 158 takes the traveler back to the intersection of Route 11, as well as fuel, food and lodging, as well as Interstate 95. It also reconnects with the Shin Pond Trail for the end of this trip and the beginning of another.
- Ambulance: Island Falls Ambulance Service – (207) 463-2112
- Emergency Medical Services: Milliken Medical Center – (207) 463-2112
- Emergency Medical Services: Houlton Regional Hospital – 20 Harford Street, Houlton, (207) 532-2900
- Emergency Medical Services: Millinocket Regional Hospital – 200 Somerset Street, Millinocket, (207) 723-5161
- Police: Maine State Police – Houlton – (207) 532-2261 or 1-800-924-2261
- Police: Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office – 1-800-432-7842
- Fire: Island Falls Fire Department – (207) 463-2313
- Fire: Patten Fire Department – (207) 528-2197