Places We Protect

Mt. Tom Preserve

Maine

A view of a forested flood plain with lakes and distant mountains.
Beautiful View Looking out from the summit of Mt. Tom. © Ian Patterson

Overview

Description

Mt. Tom Preserve protects a silver and red maple floodplain along the Saco River and includes the rocky summit of Mount Tom at 1,073 feet in elevation. The 995-acre preserve spans the Saco River and boasts over 3,500 feet of river frontage. Several day-use hiking trails provide recreational opportunities, as does a 1.14-mile snowmobile trail that is part of a larger network maintained by the Interstate Sno-goers. Visitors can summit Mt. Tom, canoe along the Saco River, or just walk through the beautiful forests!

Geologically, Mount Tom is a Roche Moutonnée—an asymmetrical hill or mountain with a gently sloping up-ice north side that has been smoothed and polished by a glacier. The down-ice side where the rocks were sheared off is abrupt and steep, leaving the exposed rocky southern cliffs.

Today’s river terrace forests support clean water for resident native fish, invertebrates, and a unique heath natural community found on river beaches. The floodplains provide excellent habitat for spotted salamanders and several species of turtles, with a lush understory of sensitive fern and royal fern. Two regionally rare birds–the golden eagle and peregrine falcon–have been regularly sighted near the rocky cliffs of Mt. Tom during the breeding season. Old eastern red cedars dot the hillside and two rare plants–the fern-leaved false foxglove and smooth sandwort–have been found within the dry oak-hickory forest on the south-facing slope of the mountain.

Access

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Hours

Sunrise to sunset

Highlights

Hiking trail that leads to Mount Tom (1,073 ft.) and some of the best floodplain forests in Maine.

Size

995 acres

Explore our work in Maine

Hiking

The West Ridge Trail is one and a half miles one-way. Marked by white blazes, the trail starts at the TNC parking lot and meanders through several distinct habitats; a mixed oak forest, northern hardwood forest, red pine stand, oak-hickory forest with eastern red cedars, a relatively uncommon shrub in Maine. It crosses small brooks and following a large rock ledge formation. The trail also shows evidence of past human activities in the area. An old homestead site, historical stone walls, and a large sawdust pile from past timber harvesting provides a glimpse of the past.

The trail continues to ascend the western ridge, becoming steeper after about a mile, where frequent views of the Saco River valley can be seen through natural clearings in the trees. Further up the trail, the junction of Old Mount Tom Trail (taking hikers off TNC-owned land) comes in from the left. Stay right to reach the summit and its rocky ledges and views. From the top, you’ll see the long ridge of Pleasant Mountain to the east and the Saco River Valley and Kezar Pond to the south

 

Directions

From Route 302, turn north on Menotomy Road (on the left when traveling from Fryeburg; right when traveling from Bridgeton). In about one mile, look for the Fire Lane 31B sign and the preserve parking area on the right.

A wooden summit sign on a signpost reads Mount Tom elev. 1,073.