Trails available & stats:
Hiking trail: 3 mi
Maine Trail Finder link: Mount Will Trail
Mount Will is a 3-mile loop trail located at 1070 US Route 2 on Bethel town-owned forestlands and private lands. Hiking counterclockwise, you’ll climb along the steep edge of a harvested forest before traversing a long switchback through a deciduous tree stand to the North Ledges, an oak and pine-dotted rocky outcropping located 0.8 miles from the trailhead that features views of the Androscoggin River heading northeast. If you hike clockwise, you’ll find yourself hiking through a recently harvested forest filled with raspberry and blackberry bushes. After the cut area, a series of steep switchbacks will get you to the South Cliffs, an exposed cliffside located 1 mile from the trailhead that features views of Bethel and beyond to the south and west. The middle 1.2 miles traverses up and over the wooded summit through a series of switchbacks and bedrock ridges, connecting the ledges to the cliffs for a moderate, 3-mile loop. The trail also features a series of interpretive signs crafted for the trail by a local school group.
The trail was developed by the Bethel Conservation Commission to increase public awareness of the natural resources and beauty of the Androscoggin River Valley. The section of trail from the trailhead to the North Ledges is in the aforementioned 115-acre Bethel Town Forest. The Town of Bethel acquired the property in the 1800s and it served as the Town Farm for several years. No buildings remain on the property but a field in the southeasterly portion of the land is still maintained for hay production by a local farmer. Timber is harvested periodically by the town. Deer winter on much on the southerly and easterly portions of the property and the harvesting plan protects the large hemlocks that provide cover for the deer.