Quick overview of Mount Battie:
Elevation: 800 feet
Hiking Difficulty: (Mount Battie Trail) Moderate (some slightly challenging areas)
Length of Hike: 1.1 miles there and back
Auto Road: Yes
Elevation Gain: 600 feet
Location: Camden State Park in Camden, Maine
Your visit to Camden, Maine isn’t complete without traveling to the top of Mount Battie, where scenic panoramic views of Penobscot Bay, Camden Harbor, and surrounding islands await.
While standing atop the mountain on a clear sunny day, you’ll be able to see Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island to the north, and Matinicus Island (if you squint!) to the south. In the foreground are the islands of Vinalhaven, North Haven, and Isleboro in the distance.
Just beyond the peak’s edge is Camden Harbor and its small downtown below with yachts and schooners rocking against waves steps away from the village’s Main Street. This iconic sight has been the subject of countless photographs over the years, capturing the idyllic scene of a long-beloved Maine coastal community.
How to see the view atop Mount Battie
Getting to the top of Mt. Battie is possible by car or by hiking.
If traveling by car, you’ll find the entrance to Mount Battie within Camden Hills State Park, about a two-mile drive north of the downtown on Route One. As you drive into the entrance to the park, you’ll see an auto road gate (open from 8 AM to 4 PM) where visitors pay a fee of $4 for residents, $6 for non-residents, $2 for seniors, and $1 for children ages 5-11. Leashed dogs are also welcome. From there, it’s a short drive up a winding paved road to the summit. There’s plenty of parking at the top, although parking can get a little tight at the height of the tourist season.
A hike to the top of Mount Battie is worth the effort if you’re up for a moderate climb. There are many trails that lead to the summit but the most popular is via the Mount Battie Trail. Although the hike is short in distance – only a half a mile long – a few areas near the top are steep and demand climbing a short distance up rock. To access the trail, drive northwest on Mountain Street away from Main Street and turn right on Spring Street. In roughly the middle of Spring Street, you’ll see a small road to the left that leads up to the trailhead including a few parking spaces.
Mount Battie’s Stone Tower
You’ll know you’ve reached the summit of Mount Battie when you see its iconic circular stone tower.
Built in 1921, the tower was erected to commemorate the soldiers of World War II. It was built in approximately the same space where a hotel once stood. Visitors can walk the spiral staircase to the top of the tower for a better vantage point of the expansive view in the distance.
Steps away from the tower you’ll find a well-worn map that indicates which islands and other landmarks are visible in the distance.
When is the best time to visit Mount Battie?
The best time to visit Mount Battie is in the summer and autumn. Beware that Camden, and thus Mt. Battie, is crowded with tourists during these times, but a trip to the top is still worthwhile. The view is particularly stunning when leaves are at their peak in the fall.
While Camden Hills State Park is technically open throughout the year from 9 AM to sunset, the auto road to the summit may be closed at times from November 1st through May 1st due to inclement weather or lack of staffing.
And while the trailhead is also open year-round, beware that conditions near the top – which primarily consists of open rock – can be icy making the descent especially hazardous. An easier way to hike to the summit during snowy winter months is by walking up the auto road. You may still find icy conditions here but the incline is gentler. It’s still imperative to wear appropriate footwear to ensure good footing and warmth.
Other things to do in Camden State Park
In addition to taking in the view from the summit of Mount Battie, visitors can also camp overnight. The park has 107 single-family campsites that can accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs up to 40 feet. Forty-four of the sites have water and electric hookups and bathrooms are available that feature hot showers. While most visitors camp during the summer months, winter camping is also available.
Visitors can also reserve The Megunticook cabin, a rustic 20’ x 40’ insulated cabin with a fireplace and outdoor vault toilet but no electricity or running water. There are enough beds to accommodate six people.
Additional hiking is also available on the ocean side of the park, across Route One. There, you will find reasonably flat trails that wind close to the water’s edge. Picnic tables are also available on this side of the park.
Is a visit to Mt. Battie worth it?
A stop at Mt. Battie is definitely worth it if you’re visiting Camden or are en route to other towns along Route One. Even if you’re short on time and can only manage a quick visit, you won’t regret taking the time to experience the summit’s spectacular view.
Hiking to the top of Mount Battie is also worth the effort if you enjoy the outdoors, are in good physical shape, and have some experience hiking. The beauty of the Mount Battie trail is that it slowly unfolds the view as you climb, revealing all of its glory as you arrive at the summit.
About Kerry Flatley
Kerry Flatley has lived in New England for the past 26 years. She has roots in Maine & Massachusetts, family in New Hampshire, and grew up close to the Connecticut border. She loves all that this region has to offer – the ocean, mountains, islands, history, villages, and cities. When she’s not writing about New England, she’s relaxing at home in the Boston suburbs with her two teenage daughters and husband.