Mount Kineo, with its steep and exposed cliffs, rises some 800 feet from the waters of Moosehead Lake. The sheer-sided mountain sits on a tiny peninsula in the center of the lake and is a magnet for summer hikers, who take a boat or ferry from the public launch in Rockwood and shuttle the short 0.8-mile distance to the foot of the rocky mountain. However, in the winter, you can park at the town dock lot (on Village Road, off Route 15) and cross the frozen lake on foot. The lake’s ice conditions vary of course, with the season.
There are three trails that lead from the Carriage Trail to the top of Kineo; the Indian Trail is the steepest and most difficult but also the trail with the most dramatic views along the way. Care should be taken in all conditions, but don’t attempt it at all if the trail is icy or the weather dicey. Opt instead for a hike to the summit via the gentler Bridle Trail or North Trail, which climbs the northeast slope of Kineo. No matter which trail you choose, you won’t be disappointed. The views from the top of 1789-foot Mount Kineo, of Moosehead Lake and surrounding northern Maine forests, are splendid.
"A paddle and hiking adventure to a precipitous peninsula overlooking the state’s largest lake. At 34 miles long, and 117 miles square, Moosehead is Maine’s largest lake and the largest body of water within one state east of the Mississippi River. The region is often referred to as the “Gateway to the Great North Woods,” and is, indeed, one of northern Maine’s most spectacular settings. Outside of chartering a floatplane, there is perhaps no better way to take in this vast, expansive country than from atop the precipitous cliffs of magnificent Mount Kineo. True to any worthy outdoor experience, simply getting to Kineo can be a challenge in itself. The mountain rises dramatically from the middle of Moosehead Lake at the western tip of a peninsula jutting from the eastern shore. The only way to reach it is by water." Read more
"Rising above Moosehead Lake’s deepest waters, Mount Kineo’s 700-foot cliffs stand guard over the largest body of fresh water in Maine. Native Americans who ventured to this location in search of stone for tools described the mountain as a large moose slain by the gods. By the nineteenth century, Kineo lured countless tourists venturing north by train and steamship to stay at the immense Victorian hotel that once stood beneath the towering cliffs. Today, summer homes still dot the shorefront, but in 1990 more than 800 acres on the peninsula were permanently protected as public reserved land, with assistance from the Maine Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and funding from the Land for Maine’s Future Program. Thanks to these efforts, hikers can continue to scale Mount Kineo’s steep slopes and enjoy one of the finest views in northern Maine. The trailhead is located on a peninsula on the other side of the lake." Read more
"Mount Kineo seems to rise out of the middle of Moosehead Lake. It is part of the largest mass of rhyolite known. This hard rock of volcanic origin attracted native peoples for millennia. They used the rock as flint and fashioned it into tools and arrowheads. Later, one of Maine’s most famous hotels was at the foot of the mountain. The hike climbs along the edge of the high cliffs that are the mountain’s east face. There are fine views from the refurbished fire tower on the summit. The second half of the hike follows the shore of Moosehead Lake around the north and west sides of Mount Kineo." Read more
"Mount Kineo seems to rise out of the middle of Moosehead Lake. It’s part of the largest known mass of rhyolite. The hike first climbs along the edge of the high cliffs that are the mountain’s east face. There are fine views from the refurbished fire tower on the summit. The second half of the hike follows the shore of Moosehead Lake around the north and west sides of Mount Kineo. Mount Kineo sits right in the middle of Moosehead Lake, connected to the east shore by a narrow isthmus. The only way to reach Mount Kineo is by boat from Rockwood. The mountain and its near island has a long history of human use. Native Americans made tools, flints, and arrowheads from rock on Mount Kineo. Like nearby Big Spencer Mountain, it’s made of rhyolite, a very hard, fine-grained volcanic rock similar to granite." Read more
"Standing atop Mount Kineo’s summit tower, you are blessed with an extraordinary panorama of endless blue waters, lush green hillsides, and distant rocky mountaintops. Even more dramatic than the summit vista are Kineo’s 700-foot cliffs, which emerge from the deepest depths of New England’s largest lake. Native Americans, who searched for stone tools at its base, believed Kineo was the remains of a large cow moose slain by a god. In 1990, the mountain that inspired this legend and more than 800 acres surrounding it were permanently protected by the state, with assistance from the Maine Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and funding from the Land for Maine’s Future Program. Thanks to these efforts, hikers can continue to scale Kineo’s legendary slopes and enjoy one of the most spectacular views in New England." Read more