Loop Via the Starr Trail (Yellow) up and the Orange Trail down 4.7 miles total
Located just outside of the town of Rumford, Maine this mountain features a long bare granite ridge and summit. It has excellent views in all directions, and for the effort required to reach the top it is well worth a visit. From its easterly location, there are gorgeous sights west to the Mahoosuc Range and on clear days even as far as the Presidential Range. To the east and north are the ridges of Tumbledown mountain, and Old Blue Mountain, as well as many small lakes and ponds. The trails are located within the Rumford Whitecap Mountain Preserve. This is a 751-acre undeveloped tract on Rumford Whitecap Mountain (elevation 2,214 feet). The Preserve, including much of the bald summit and some of the south and east facing slopes, was purchased by the Mahoosuc Land Trust in 2007. It was acquired through the generosity of over 500 donors, grants from the Land for Maine’s Future Board, and five charitable foundations.
To get to the trailhead from US Route 2 in Rumford Point, take ME Route 5/Ellis River Road north for 3.1 miles. Turn right on Andover Road and cross the bridge over the Ellis River. After 0.4 miles, turn left on East Andover Road, and go another 0.2 miles to the parking lot on the left and the trailhead at a gated gravel road on the right.There are no fees collected at the parking area, and no facilities located on site. The parking area is small, so please park respectfully. This is a very popular hike and place for people to picnic and berry pick in the spring and summer months.
Within the Whitecap Mountain Preserve, two trails lead to the summit from the parking lot providing either two distinct experiences or the opportunity for a loop. The Red/Orange Trail starts at the red gate directly across from the parking area, and is marked with red/orange flags. The Starr Trail, marked by yellow blazes and ribbons, starts at the gray gate, about 100 yards north of the parking area on the East Andover Road.
The two trails merge just before reaching the summit, from which point, the remaining distance to along the ridge to the summit is marked by cairns, orange ribbon flags, and a few paint blazes. The ridge line, summit, and many viewpoints on the way up provide breathtaking views of the surrounding area with the Mahoosuc and White Mountains to the west, Mexico Hills to the east, and Androscoggin River Valley to the south. There is a property boundary on the summit, this is marked in orange/red as well. This is privately owned land, please respect land owner rights and do not trespass.
Either way you choose to ascend, the going is fairly easy. Water is plentiful before you reach the ridge, but be sure to bring some for the summit. There are no obstacles that would cause issue for hikers of all ages and abilities. Be aware of weather, this summit and ridge are exposed to inclement conditions. For humans and dogs, ticks are fairly bad in the overgrown logging roads that these trails begin on. Dress accordingly, use some bug spray and check yourself and your pet when you are done hiking.