Gulf Hagas

Location: northwest of Brownville, Maine
Distance: 7.4 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 500 feet
Date: July 30, 2010

Screw Auger Falls

The Gulf Hagas is a gorge with 130 foot-high walls in Maine. Over a course of three miles through the gorge the West Branch Pleasant River drops 370 feet. To get to the gorge you have to first stop at Katahdin Iron Works State Park to the south near Silver Lake to obtain a permit before continuing on the well maintained dirt road to the trailhead.

The Jaws from a distance

The trialhead is at an elevation just under 700 feet, and after only about 0.2 mi from the trailhead you must wade across the West Branch Pleasant River. In this section the river is wide and calm, and in late July it wasn't much more than one foot deep at the most. After crossing the river the trail passes Pugwash Pond and  then through the Hermitage, which is an stand of old-growth trees. The Hermitage includes eastern white pines that are up to 150 feet tall.

Gulf Hagas

It is 0.9 mi from the river crossing until you cross Gulf Hagas Brook. From this second crossing There are several loops of different lengths that you can hike. Screw Auger Falls is just below this second crossing. Below Screw Auger Falls the trail begins to follow the rim of the Gulf Hagas. There are a couple of very short spur trails that go to viewpoints. Perhaps a mile and a half after crossing Gulf Hagas Brook you reach the Jaws, a point where the gorge becomes very narrow. About a half mile past the Jaws you reach Buttermilk Falls, and Billings and Stair Falls are both about 0.8 mi past Buttermilk Falls.

Billings Falls

Stair Falls is the uppermost falls and at an elevation of over 1,100 feet. You can choose to hike on past here, turn around, or make a loop. I made a loop because it was only 2.2 miles back to the Gulf Hagas Brook Crossing, where retracing my original path would have been 3.0 miles. However, the loop I chose went through upland forest, followed an old tote road, and had no views whatsoever. After the crossing you have to follow your original trail for 1.1 miles and a river crossing back to the trailhead.

Stair Falls

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