Mount Kineo State Park is a public recreation area located on the eastern side of Mount Kineo in Androscoggin County, Maine. The state park’s 5,300 acres (21km2) include forested backcountry, old-growth forests, and several peaks over 3,000 feet (910m). It is managed by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
The park offers camping facilities, hiking trails, hunting, cross-country skiing, fishing, waterfalls, and picnicking areas. The park has no phone, but visitors can use their cell phones to access remote parking areas with wireless service. There are four main trail systems in the park: the North Ridge Trail System, the South Ridge Trail System, the West Mountain Trails system, and the Pond Loop Trail. All of these trails start and end near the ranger station/information center and pass through various habitats such as hardwood forests, pine forests, rocky fields, wetlands, and glacial erratics.
Some of these trails are maintained by the Parks Division of the Maine Department of Transportation, who mark them with blazes. Others are maintained by the Maine Forest Service or the American Alpine Institute and are unmarked. Because there are so many unmarked trails, getting lost is easy. However, because much of the terrain is mountainous, even marked trails can get steep very quickly, especially if one gets off route. Careful hikers can easily spend hours exploring this complex of hills and valleys.
In 1908, lumbermen cut down most of what was to become Mt.Kineo State Park. Frank Hathorn, an Englishman who had made his fortune in California, bought the land and hired Robert P. Gorman to manage it for him. Gorman assembled some 2,400 acres (9.7km2), which he called “Beebe Woods,” around three mountains named after himself. One of these, Mt. Kineo, would become famous as the mountain that Jack climbed in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped. The other two were unnamed. He bequeathed half of his estate, including Beebe Woods, to the people of Maine upon his death, requesting that it be used as a place where “the youth of our common country may find peace and pleasure.” This wish was partially fulfilled when, in 1934, the federal government designated 1,500 acres (6.1km2) as the Mount Kineo Recreation Area.
A year later, the state legislature authorized the creation of Mount Kineo State Park with 2,600 acres (11km2) set aside for forestry purposes. An additional 900 acres (3.6km2) were added in 1941, bringing the total acreage to nearly 5,200. Additional land acquisitions have brought the park to its present size of 5,300 acres (21km2). On November 9, 2010, a severe snowstorm known as the Storm of the Century struck the region, causing extensive damage to the Appalachian Mountains, including structural damage to buildings at Mount Kineo Lodge. After determining that all structures were safe, crews began clearing roads and trails on December 4, 2010, and completed restoration work within six months, returning many amenities to full operation by late spring 2011.