Embarking on the 33.9 mile Sh Pond Trail, the traveler can be assured that the trip will provide an abundance of the area’s natural treasures as well as some quaint, small town amenities and year round recreational opportunities. The traveler first encounters Sherman Station, a small village once known as "Braggville" until the Bangor & Aroostook established a rail siding there in 1894. Continuing north, the rural residential setting displays small cemeteries, churches, farms and fields.
Don’t miss the turnout at milepost 31.1 where the majestic beauty of Mt. Katahdin can be viewed. This view is appreciated through all four seasons, but is most striking in autumn as Katahdin forms the backdrop for the multi-colored and uninterrupted canvas of fall foliage that extends from the monition to Route 11. Turn to the east and experience a panoramic view of rolling hills, forests and fields that nearly equals the westerly view.
Continuing north, the traveler descends into the busy little town of Patten. At milepost 34.4, be sure to make time to stop at the Lumberman’s Museum (open seasonally), which contains a multitude of interesting artifacts, equipment and exhibits that depict the many phases of lumbering history in the region.
The Shin Pond Bridge marks the beginning of the Grand Lake Road and the start of very interesting natural features. At milepost 49.2 S Falls Road will take you to the Shin Falls trailhead, where a pleasant seven minute walk finds you at either the upper falls (if you take the left fork) or the lower falls (if you take the right fork). The upper Shin Falls is truly exhilarating as you can stand on ledge outcroppings and watch thundering water spill down 50 feet to the pool below.
Although the Shin Pond Trail unofficially ends at the Matagamon Wilderness Campground at milepost 59.7, just ahead, the traveler will leave the paved road bed and for the next 1.5 miles will travel on a narrow packed gravel road that leads to the Matagamon Gate – the north entrance to Baxter State Park. In that short stretch, one can view the awesome outcropping of Horse Mountain’s summit to the west and drink in the peaceful tranquility of Grand Lake Matagamon to the east before reaching Baxter.
Use extra caution and care when driving this trail. Wildlife is abundant and always in the area and can sneak up fast! This trail is a two lane paved collector road with a few paved shoulder segments, like the Grindstone Trail. It is heavily used by logging trucks and heavy equipment as well as communter and residential traffic. Through the summer months, the highway is also dotted with tourist and recreation vehicle traffic as summer residents and visitors migrate to the park and Shin Pond.
Although the Shin Pond Trail veers west on Route 159, the traveler could opt to continue an exhilarating drive north on Route 11 and if inclined, enjoy a hike up Mount Chase or Bald Mountain, or simply turn left onto the Owlsborough Road for the 4.6 miles back to Route 159, taking note of the University’s experimental forest on the right as you go. Don’t be surprised to see a variety of wildlife along the Owlsborough Road, including deer, moose, bear, fox and partridge.
At milepost 48.8, the River Road will take you north to Godfrey Pitch on the upper Seboeis River, which is listed as a unique natural area. Fishing, hunting and camping opportunities await visitors at Scraggly Lake, Snowshoe Lake, and Grand Lake are accessed from this road.
At milepost 54.8 you will find the Bowlin Camps, from their facilities, visitors can hike or canoe to scenic river points such as Bowlin Falls, The Hulling Mace, and the falls at Grand Pitch.
- Patten Lumberman’s Museum – www.lumbermensmuseum.org
- Mount Chase Lodge – Mount Chase Lodge at Shin Pond
- Shin Pond Village – Shin Pond Village Store, Campground and Cabin Rentals
- Baxter State Park Information – www.baxterstateparkauthority.com
This trail hooks onto the end of the Grindstone Trail. If doing this trail individually, the traveler can take exit 264 off of Interstate 95. The trail begins by heading on Route 11 towards Sherman, Stacyville and Patten. Once in Patten, the trail heads west on Route 159 through Mount Chase and Shin Pond Village. Then the trail winds through unorganized territory on the Grand Lake Road which leads to the North Baxter State Park Entrance at the Matagamon Gate.
- Emergency Medical Services: Katahdin Valley Health Center – 4 Houlton Street, Patten, (207) 528-2285
- 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: Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office – 1-800-432-7842
- Police: Maine State Police – 1-800-942-2261
- Police: Penobscot County Sheriff – 1-800-432-7911
- Fire: Sherman Mill’s Fire Department – (207) 365-4229
- Fire: Patten Fire Department – 1-800-432-7911
- Other Services and Agencies:
- Maine Forest Service -(207) 463-2214
- Maine Warden Service – 1-800-624-2512
- Northern Katahdin Valley Waste Disposal District – (207) 757-8700
- Poison Control Center – 1-800-442-6305
- Patten Drug Co. – (207) 528-2244
- Wrecker Service – (207) 757-8726