DESCRIPTION: Vaughn Stream falls is an attractive, 20 foot cascade located immediately adjacent to the Appalachian Trail, half a mile west of the Slugundy falls trail head. At the falls, a large granite outcrop splits the stream, creating the twin falls pictured at right. In late summer, small brook trout can be seen in the five-foot deep pool at the bottom of the falls. The main waterfall at the AT crossing is actually the exit falls from a small canyon. Upstream, several additional small waterfalls are worth exploring, if time allows.
Scenic Rating: 3/5
Difficulty Rating: 2/5
Hike Duration: 2 hour
Handicap Access: No
GPS Reading: N45.4205 W69.4286
DeLorme Atlas: Map 41 E4
From Greenville: Turn right on Pleasant Street, opposite the Moosehead Marine Museum parking lot. Drive east. At 1.8 miles, the road turns to gravel. At 2.0 miles the road makes several sharp turns to skirt the runway at Greenville’s municipal airport. At 3.6 miles, cross Wilson Stream just below the Wilson Pond outlet dam. Here, the road changes its name to the KI Road. At 4.2 miles, enter Plum Creek timberlands. Here, the road becomes privately owned and log trucks have the right of way. The road quality also deteriorates in places. At 7.3 miles, turn right at the junction of two woods roads. The small blue sign at this junction points left to the AMC’s Little Lyford Pond camps. At 7.5 miles, turn left. At 9.2 miles, stay on the main road, with views of Barren and Borestone mountains to the east. Continue on the main road until you reach a “T” intersection at 11.7 miles. Turn right and continue to the AT trail sign at 13.0 miles.
Note: The last half of this drive can be an unnerving experience. Constant attention is required to avoid potholes, rocks, ruts and log trucks (especially on weekdays for log trucks). This is not my favorite route.
From Monson: Follow the driving directions to Big Wilson Falls. Cross the road bridge over Big Wilson Stream and turn left. Cross the MM&A railroad tracks and continue past the entrance to the Audubon Society’s Borestone Mountain preserve. The road descends the north side of Borestone Mountain, with good views of Barren Mountain to the north. Continue on the road (now gravel) to the gated road bridge over lower Long Pond Stream. From here, you have your choice of two routes:
Old AT Route. Park on the roadside before crossing the Long Pond Stream bridge. A woods road comes in from your left. This road is not maintained and the lower portion is subject to frequent shallow flooding. A new ATV trail adjacent to portions of the road has not improved the situation. Plan on getting your feet wet. Hike 1.1 miles to a snowmobile bridge that crosses lower Vaughn Stream. Cross Vaughn Stream, using the bridge. At 1.7 (hiking) miles, as the woods road is gradually ascending, reach the Slugundy Falls AT trail head and sign (photo right).
Otter Pond Route. Drive to the bridge crossing lower Long Pond Stream. If the gate is open, continue driving across the bridge (the road is closed seasonally to vehicle traffic). Turn left 0.7 miles beyond the bridge. Otter Pond is on your right. Continue 0.6 miles to the end of the road. From this point, enter the woods (on foot) and follow an old, overgrown tote road. Long Pond Stream can be heard on your left. After hiking 0.3 miles on the tote road, there is a path marked by orange surveyor’s tape. After 0.5 miles, this trail connects with the Appalachian Trail east of the AT’s crossing over Long Pond Stream. If you are visiting Slugundy falls, the Otter Pond route avoids crossing Long Pond Stream on the AT. However, to visit Vaughn Stream falls, you will need to cross Long Pond Stream. This crossing can be hazardous in high water conditions.
Note: The author has not personally hiked the Otter Pond route. The trail description for this route is adapted from the Moosehead Chamber of Commerce’s website trail guide.
Click on map to enlarge.
Photos: top & top right ©Bob Hamer, bottom right ©Erik M. Stumpfel