Tumbledown is arguably the most hiked mountain in western Maine. The jagged peaks and beautiful tarn on the summit give this mountain a unique beauty.
Sitting above Tumbledown is the lesser hiked peaks of Little and Big Jackson mountains. These peaks afford incredible views of Tumbledown and surrounding mountains. I hike here regularly, and have scarcely ever seen another hiker or runner, unlike Tumbledown, where you are likely to see dozens.
The variety of trails allows a hiker to visit all three summits in just under 11 miles. One should not underestimate the difficulty of these hikes/runs. The climbing is steep and technical. Rock scrambling should be expected. The climb up Little Jackson is especially daunting, with no breaks in the ascent. The last mile involves some very tricky footing.
To reach the trailhead in Weld, Maine, turn on to the Byron Road for route 142. Drive 4.3 miles. Parking is on the left and trailhead on the right.
Follow the signs pointing to the Jackson’s and Parker Ridge. The blue blazed trail. will begin with a gradual climb, but it will quickly become steep. At approximately 3.2 miles you will reach the col between Big and Little Jackson. Follow the signs for Big Jackson. This trail is fairly short. It is notblazed, but very easy to follow. The summit has no view, but open ledges shortly before the summit offer views of Little Jackson and Tumbledown.
Return to the sign at the col, and follow the sign and blazes to the summit of Little Jackson. Footing is tricky and rock scrambling is required. The 360 degree view makes the effort worth it.
Begin to descend the Jackson’s trail. A short distance down, take the Pond Link trail on the right. A sign marks the junction and the trail is well blazed. Pond Link is the easiest of the trails, and sees very little foot traffic. In just over a mile you will arrive at a junction near the pond. Head left onto the Tumbledown Mountain Trail and follow it over Tumbledown East Peak and Tumbledown Southwest Peak. Return the way you came back to the junction.
The Parker Ridge trail is located right where Pond Link ends, and is marked with a sign. You will climb steeply away from the pond to an open ridge with stunning views. Keep an eye out for the blue blazes. From here Parker Ridge descends steeply and footing is difficult.
After nearly 3 miles on Parker Ridge you will return to the Jackson’s trail. From here enjoy and easy mile descent to the parking area.
Note: Due to trail improvements and community input the original route (turning around at the pond) has been expanded to include Tumbledown East Peak and Tumbledown Southwest Peak. All future attempts require a summit of Big Jackson, Little Jackson, Tumbledown East, and Tumbledown Southwest.
This doesn't actually look like it summits Tumbledown but only goes to the intersection where the pond is.
Brendan, I agree, this route should at the very least go to the SouthWestern Summit of Tumbledown to complete the route. I'm not sure why Sara didn't do the O&B since she did for the other two but this should be included to complete the trio. I went today and lowered the time to just over 3 hours and I added in the trip to the summit of SWTD and hoping we can submit this for an amended route moving ahead. The added miles and vert are some of the finest on the trip as they run the slabs an open ledges above the pond.
I just took a closer look at this (after seeing Jesse's submission). You're right, it looks like Sara didn't summit any of the three Tumbledown peaks. I would think that the route should at least summit the highest Tumbledown peak, that being Tumbledown Mountain (3081'), which neither Jesse nor Sara summited. That said, It might just make sense to go up, tag Jackson and then head to Little Jackson, Tumbledown, tag Tumbledown Southwest Peak, and then to Tumbledown East Peak, therefore traveling to all of the summits in that area.
For now I removed Sara's FKT. I will be reaching out to Jesse and Sara (who was also the route submitter) about revamping the description and summit requirements.
Ryan (New England Regional Editor)
Correcting for Sarah's name here - I was saying "Sara". My apologies.