Hike the Grand Canyon of Maine (Gulf Hagas)



8.6 miles

Elevation Gain

1000 ft

Route Type


Added by Danielle Tourigny

Spend the day exploring various waterfalls, swimming holes and and cliff jumping only 3 hours from Portland, and it's dog friendly!

Find the trailhead by turning left at the Brownville junction and then turning left onto Katahdin Ironworks Rd. This is a well maintained dirt road (had no trouble getting down it with a Corolla). There is a checkpoint where you need to pay a day use fee. When I went summer 2018 it was $9 per person for Maine residents and $14 per person for out-of-staters. It seems steep, but I promise on a nice sunny day it is absolutely worth it. The trail is beautifully maintained and there are so many waterfalls and spots to take a cooling dip in the clear water. 

The parking lot for the trailhead will be a couple miles up the road on the right after the checkpoint. On weekends in the summer, it will fill up in the morning, so be sure to get there on the earlier side. Follow the trail in 

From the West Branch parking lot, a short spur trail connects to the Appalachian Trail at a river crossing. This is the beginning of getting your feet wet for the day. There isn't a ton of elevation, so I spent the entire day hiking in my Tevas (any kind of water shoe or sandal that attaches to your feet well will do just perfectly)!

There are plenty of signs explaining each stop on the trail and when you pay your fee at the checkpoint they will give you a map. First stop is Screw Auger Falls, then Hammond Street Pitch, The Jaws, Buttermilk Falls, Stair Falls, Billing Falls and finally to the Head of the Gulf. Once you get to Screw Auger Falls, it is only 2.8 miles to get to the Head of the Gulf. You can turn around at any point!

I would plan on 8-9 hours for a full day of photography, swimming and hiking. There is plenty to do there. Side note: the first people to ever go rafting down Gulf Hagas completed it last summer - pretty exciting feat! Imagine what it would be like to raft these waterfalls as you enjoy the day. 

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Known for

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole



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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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