The new Maine Mountain Guide is entertaining and inspiring

I live vicariously through Carey Kish, enjoying his posts about all his outdoor adventures. He and his wife are amazing hikers and adventurers, and Carey has written a number of hiking books.

But I’ve got to say, his new book, Maine Mountain Guide, published by AMC Books, is his best. The book is nearly 600 pages long and even includes maps in a folder attached to the back page.

Maine Mountain Guide is actually a new edition of AMC’s guides which have been used by hikers for more than a half century. But thanks to Carey, the new book features 175 new trails, 50 new mountains, and 17 additional in-text maps. Every mountain hike can be found in this guide.

And everything you need to know to plan and enjoy your hike is included, from cumulative distances to elevations. I especially like the way the hikes are presented: by region and listed from easy to moderate to strenuous. Yup, I won’t be trying those strenuous hikes! Some of the hikes are not up mountains, but to awesome places like Big Niagara Falls in Baxter Park. I can tell you that the big pool below that falls is full of brook trout!

Of course, my favorite mountain hikes are included, from Baxter Park’s Mount Coe and North and South Brother to the Kennebec Highlands ten minutes from my home.

The book opens with tons of helpful information, from camping to geology to what to carry and wear. There’s even information about my favorite things, Fire Towers. By 1950 Maine’s Forestry Department was staffing more than 100 towers. By 1991 all were closed. Some towers continue to be maintained by volunteers and I have hiked to several of them.

One tower is at the top of Mount Pisgah in Winthrop, now owned and maintained by the Kennebec Land Trust. I hiked up there quite often as a kid growing up in Winthrop. And Linda and I donated our Mount Vernon woodlot to KLT this year. It will focus on kids, including posters along the trails to teach kids about the wildlife habitat they are hiking through and seeing. I also wrote a booklet of stories about my wildlife experiences on the woodlot, which kids will get for free.

Bryan Wentzell, Executive Director of the Maine Mountain Collaborative, described Maine Mountain Guide very well: “This revised edition is not just an update. It’s a comprehensive go-to resource for anyone who wants to enjoy Maine’s incredible mountains.”

Carey has been hiking since he moved to Maine at age 13. He and his friends spent lots of time in the woods around Bangor. “When my dad finally took me up to Baxter State Park and I climbed Katahdin, I might as well have been standing atop Mt. Everest, such was the elation. I was irrevocably hooked on hiking,” he wrote.

Among many other hikes, Carey has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail twice. In the last three years, he’s spent lots of time hiking Maine mountains for this book. Of course, he and his wife didn’t just hike in Maine.

Earlier this year I enjoyed Carey’s Facebook posts about their trip to Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas, the favorite national park of Linda and me. If you are not Facebook friends with Carey, I encourage you to do that. His stories about their outdoor adventures are entertaining and inspiring.

And I am certain that Maine Mountain Guide will both entertain you and inspire you to enjoy some of those great hikes. I’m focused on the easy hikes, but feel free to tackle the strenuous ones!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.