The Maine Mountain Guide

Maine Mountain Guide Book Review

The Maine Mountain Guide is the hiker’s bible for the mountains and hiking trails of Maine. It provides detailed descriptions of more than 625 trails, on 300 mountains, totaling close to 1500 trail miles in length, ranging from easy woodland strolls to strenuous mountain traverses. Now in its 11 edition, it’s been 6 years since the guide was last updated and reflects the trail expansion boom that’s come to Maine in the intervening period. With 450 updates to existing trails, and 175 new trails on 50 new mountains, the guide provides a wide variety of hiking opportunities for every interest and fitness level.

The Maine Mountain Guide (MMG) splits Maine’s hiking trails into 12 separate regions, providing a vast range of hiking opportunities no matter where you’re in the state, along the coast, near the lakes of central Maine, or along the border with Canada or New Hampshire.

  1. Baxter State Park and Mt Katahdin
  2. 100 Mile Wilderness and Moosehead Lake
  3. Kennebec and Moose River Valleys
  4. Western Lakes and Mountains
  5. Mahoosuc Range and Grafton Notch
  6. White Mountain National Forest and Evans Notch
  7. Oxford Hills
  8. Southwestern Maine
  9. Midcoast
  10. Acadia National Park
  11. Downeast
  12. Aroostock County

Planning Information and Maps

The MMG includes a list of suggested hikes for each region, sorted by effort level, with easy to read icons that help you find ones that are dog-friendly, are kid-friendly, have waterfalls, firetowers, whether they’re good cross-country ski trails, and so on. Each trail is then described in turn-by-turn detail, including its length, elevation gain, and the distance to each major trail junction or landmark along its length.

While this information is very helpful for selection a trail and planning hikes, it’s unlikely that you’ll to carry the entire book in your backpack when you go hiking. When hiking, it’s best to carry a map, so you can check landmarks as you pass them to verify your position. The MMG  includes two of these, but they’re made of paper, which is far less durable than waterproof maps made of Tyvek, which can survive hundreds of uses. Frequent hikers will probably want to upgrade to the waterproof versions of these maps: Maine Mountains Trail Map 1-2 and Maine Mountains Trail Map 3-6.

Detailed Driving Directions

While all of the Mountain Guides published by the Appalachian Mountain Club include detailed driving directions to each of the trail heads they cover, no where is this more important than in Maine, since so many of the roads are unpaved and only open seasonally. Forget trying to find them using Google Maps or your car’s GPS system. Updated and verified, these “analog” style directions are one of the most valuable sources of information in the MMG and something you’d be hard-pressed to replicate on your own.

About the Editor

The current edition of the Maine Mountain Guide was compiled and edited by Carey Kish, a retired newspaper reporter, and lifelong hiker who’s hiked the Appalachian Trail twice, once in 1977 and again in 2015. A longtime Maine resident, he’s a friendly and rambunctious character, who’s highly accessible on social media, is an active trail maintainer for the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, and speaker who makes frequent guest appearances around the state.


If you love Maine hiking and want to expand your horizons or love the adventure of exploring Maine’s wilderness areas, be sure to pick up a copy of the new Appalachian Mountain Club’s Maine Mountain Guide and its associated waterproof maps. Rich in detail and painstakingly edited, it provides an invaluable launch pad for exploring what the great State of Maine has to offer for hikers and backpackers, alike.

The author received a free copy of this book for review, but would have gladly purchased this exhaustive trail reference for his New England hiking guide and map collection.

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  1. Barry Blanchette

    I have the 10th edition of this guide and personally find it to be lousy. Very, very basic trail descriptions and information. Used to the much more detailed versions of the NH Guide. Is this edition really that thoroughly updated and on par with Steve Smith’s expansive NH version? Started hiking in Maine a lot more and having a definitive source of info as you noted is much more important than in NH.

    • I found it very detailed and it is actually larger than the NH version. It has the same format as the White Mountain Guide (which include NHs and parts of Maine). It looks like several sections of the WMG guide were cut and pasted into the Maine Guide, including Evans Notch and the Mahoosucs. Kind of makes sense since they are in Maine. One notable difference between the two trail systems is that the White Mountain Guide reports on a densely interconnected trail network, while the trails in the Maine Guide are highly dispersed and often quite short. I have a 1st edition Maine Mountain Guide and it’s a definite step up from that!

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