Advanced Bike 13.2 Miles // ~ 6 – 9 Hours
Having a Map Adventures Trail map is highly recommended for this route, as roads and trails are not all indicated with signs at important junctures. For more details, read our trip report of an overnight version of this trek. Skip below for a shorter version of this trip.
Pack a good lunch and start your day by driving to Bowlin Camps Lodge. Founded in 1895, its one of the oldest camps in the region. It sits on a beautiful stretch of the East Branch of the Penobscot and they offer parking for the day for $10.
Unload your bikes and head out due west across the East Branch on the Bowlin Suspension Bridge. Go up the short hill after the bridge. You’ll come across a sign pointing to the north and south along the International Appalachian Trail (IAT). Take a right along to the north on the IAT. Stay straight and bike along the K Comp Rd for .7 miles. You’ll merge back up with the IAT at The Pines area for another .7 miles. Then veer left to bike along the K Comp Rd for 1.5 miles. Eventually, you’ll hit the juncture of the K Comp Rd and Little Messer Pond Rd. Take a left there and bike 2.7 miles until you hit the Lookout Trail .3 miles after the turnoff to Big Spring Brook Hut. You can bike up the Lookout Trail nearly to the top of the Scenic Lookout. When you cross a fork in the trail after a mile, stay left on the Lookout Trail. There will be forks to the left after the first. Only take your first left. Continue for 1.4 miles until the trail narrows and starts winding into the woods. You will need to leave your bikes or carry them to walk the last few hundred yards to the Lookout. Enjoy sweeping views of the monument to the east, and Katahdin and the Katahdin tablelands to the southwest.
To loop back to Bowlin Camps, go down the Lookout Trail and take a right out onto Little Messer Pond Rd. Bike .3 miles and then turn left onto Keyhole Rd. Take the fun, gradual downhill bike along Keyhole Road 2.9 miles until you hit the IAT. Turn left onto the IAT and bike 1.4 miles until you hit the hilltop where you first came up from the Bowlin Suspension Bridge. From there, take the bridge and return to your car.
To take a shorter mountain bike trip to the Lookout, park at the Haskell Gate in the north of the monument. Set out east then south along the IAT for 2.6 miles until you hit the Little Messer Pond Rd. Take the Little Messer Pond Rd .3 miles until you hit the juncture of the K Comp Rd and Little Messer Pond Rd. Follow the directions from that juncture to the Lookout, as described above. When you return from the Lookout Trail, take a left onto the Little Messer Pond Rd, back along the way you came. Return to the IAT and head north then west to return to your car at the Haskell Gate.