The following post was written in collaboration with Madison (Maddie) Kahn of Outside / Backpacker Magazine. Maddie approached me with the idea for the story and I assisted her with the research and development, compiling the sightings information and making hiking suggestions based on areas with the highest number of Mt. Lion sightings. With permission from Maddie, I have asked to publish my blog posting ahead of her future article and she agreed! Thanks Maddie!
Even I have a Mt. Lion sighting story, that occurred one late night while driving down the Lake Road in
St. Agatha. In the glow of the headlights a large long tailed cat leapt across
the road and was gone in less than a second. If not for my passenger swearing he had seen the same sight, I may have not believed my own eyes. It would be less than a year later, a confirmed cougar sighting was made in St. Agatha,
bringing credibility to my account.
Most reported cougar sighting remain unconfirmed, likely based on individuals claiming to see Mt. Lions when in actuality they see large mature bobcats with unusual but not uncommon dark tan
coats (see game camera photo above). Only a small handful of these accounts by using
scat, hair and foot print identifications have ever been authenticated (See RED dots on Map). What is of course not yet determined is if these animals represent a real indigenous population of Maine Mt. Lions or if these are pets released into the wild. Currently 6 Maine residents are licensed to keep these large cats but it is suspected many more unlicensed owners exist.
Below is a listing of the town where sightings have been made. By mapping these sightings, it is easy to
note there exists a concentration of animal sightings well within the boundaries of central Maine. It is a misnomer to think that to potentially see one of these large cats you need to travel into the most remote and isolated
areas of the state.
Maine Mt. Lion Sightings Confirmed Sightings (Red):
Maine Mt. Lion Unconfirmed Sightings (Black):
Waldoboro - Medomak Pond
Within the areas of highest concentration of sightings, there are a number of access points and hiking
trails were one may chance to potentially see a Maine Mt. Lion. Several means
exist to find more in-depth information concerning these trail systems
including: Maine Trail Finder and an excellent book titled “Applician Mountain Club – Maine Mountain Guide
Given the areas of the
highest likelihood of seeing a Maine Mt. Lion, I have selected the following
1. Deboullie Mountain Trail - Long
2. Big Squaw and Little Squaw Mountain Trail - Greenville
3. Little Moose Mountain Trail - Greenville
4. Mount Megunticook Trail fromthe North - Lincolnville
5. Crocker Hill Trail - Paris
6. Frye Mountain WMA– Augusta
7. Down East Sunrise Trail -
8. Bald / Ragged Mountain - Camden
9. Bangor City Forest - Bangor
10. Check out other Interesting Areas to hike in Maine with: One Minute Hikes Map
11. Other secret areas exist, where you may be able to find Maine's mysterious BIG CAT'S. If you wish to inquire about these additional areas please comment on this post and include your e-mail address. I will personally respond to any inquiries.
*If you are really serious about attempting to see a Mt. Lion it would pays large dividends to hire a Maine
guide who is skilled in the art of predator calling. These professionals are skilled in the use of electronic devices are capable of luring in meat eating predators from miles away. Hiding in a
portable blind and using these “calling” devices, photographs and video of these
elusive cats of legend may be possible if enough time and energy is
For more on Mt. Lion sightings from my blog as well as the links
to the online information used to craft this article, please see the
*Disclaimer – Mt. Lions are obviously
large, fast, smart, agile and dangerous animals that have been known to hunt,
kill and eat unsuspecting hikers and backpackers. If you are planning to look for these large cats, you need
to know that you are potentially putting yourself at risk of possible dismemberment
and /or death. Please take all appropriate precautions whenever visiting the Maine woods and pursuing large game animals.
You crazy kids! Going out looking for something that could sneak up on you, pounce on you, and eat you slowly! Sure sounds like fun! :)ReplyDelete
Trey, While I was turkey hunting in Florida last April, I had a Panther stalk my turkey decoy. It got to about 30 years before I moved and spooked it. If I hadn't moved who know how close it might have come!Delete
Here in Connecticut we had one confirmed sighting not to long ago after the one was hit by a car.ReplyDelete
Rick, Fairly hard to argue with their existence when someone manages to run one over. Did they determine if it was indigenous or someone's pet?Delete
I don't believe the Downeast Sunrise Trail would be a great option for anybody wanting to see any abundance of game let alone a mountain lion, odds are you may see a few Grizzly, Big Bear, Kodiak, Rhino, Gator, and the occasional Ranger, Rancher, Outlaw, and Sportsman. In the spring you can actually see a Duckman on this trail, usually on Sundays though.ReplyDelete
You aren't allowed to poo poo my choices unless you offer another Washington County hiking option! :) We need to do the ATV (Downeast Sunrise Trail) thing from Calais to Machias and back some day. NOW that would be fun! Talked to "Bucket" today for about 1/2 and hour! LOL!Delete
We do a lot of hiking in and around Waldo County..It would be awesome to spot one, as long as they don't want our pooches for a snack.ReplyDelete
PBM, Do you have any hiking suggestions in Waldo county that would be interesting to explore and might hold a Mt. Lion or two?ReplyDelete
Well since the city forest made the list I would submit that Sears Island in Searsport is always a good place to wander in search of fairy tale creatures. Also a solid hike in Frankfort is Mt Waldo which is good to get to now before a proposed wind farm makes it off limits...and all puppy friendly for PBM.Delete
Dusty, Hey do not jest about the Bangor City forest, it is less than 15 miles from one of the locations of an unconfirmed sighting. Of course, that particular sighting was made by a hobo who had been drinking sterno all day filtered through a dirty sock.Delete
If anyone is interested in exploring Dusty's suggestion:
Information on Hiking Mt. Waldo
I saw what I swore was a mountain lion in Lincoln a couple months ago, and a friend and I have been trying to confirm it ever since. He found what appeared to be a cat scratched tree in the wood, so he set up a trail cam, and has been catching photos of various critters every since. I've made a few posts on my website about it. This is the original with the description of my sighting and a pic of the tree: http://www.exploringlincoln.com/2012/01/let-your-lion-out/
And this is one where he just caught a little of some cat-like creature that is tough to identify: http://www.exploringlincoln.com/2012/03/lincoln-photo-of-the-day-march-13-2012/
He then adjusted the camera and caught some shots of this cat going after the bait: http://www.exploringlincoln.com/2012/03/lion-eyes/
The last one is most likely a bobcat, but definitely isn't the one in the previous post, which could be a lion. We still have the cam up, and I am in hopes we will catch one on film. I've received a lot of response from others who claim to have seen one around the Lincoln exit on I95, so hopefully we will be successful.
You have a nice website at http://www.exploringlincoln.com and some interesting posts on the phantom know as the Maine Mt. Lion! Thanks for sharing! I hope that you manage to catch a few photographs of a lion in the next few months! Good luck!
So... If I shot and killed one...say somewhere in the Allagash... would I be arrested?ReplyDelete
I was always told to never commit a crime I wasn't willing to pay for with either time and/or money. Unfortunately, that would be a crime you would NOT want to have to pay for . . . shooting any creatures in Maine not on IFWs "huntable" list is a crime. That includes Mt. Lions, Big Foot and the Tooth Fairy. :)Delete
I remember my father and I feeling pretty rattled by an 'encounter' we had in the late 80's which my father of course swears was the big cat to this day. I was just a boy, but I do remember that we were traveling somewhere between St francis and Allagash late and were stopped by a small yard of deer all crossing the road... at once. "Soooo that was kinda cool" was really the only thought, maybe that they were all spooked and driven maybe, but in that area certainly nothing that gets the frogs talking at Rock's in Ft Kent. But 5 mins later when pulling into a driveway just down the road the high beams definitely caught some...thing off guard which we both immediately saw and it scurried off up what was a pretty aggressive grade behind it... And it was big & quick & moved like a cat & it was gone...and we never speak of it now because in our family it's got the same stigma as a UFO siting. Now that I've got that off my chest...good to know there are other crazies out there who believe. Send me the bill for this session Steve. :)ReplyDelete
Dusty, I actually have relatives that have said they have seen UFOs so there is absolutely no judging on this blog.Delete
Mt. Lions were in Maine in the 1930s and there have been confirmed sightings up to present day. The rarity of these sightings however, leads to the belief that if you see one you must be out of your mind.
LOL, No worries! This session is free of charge! Just do me a favor and keep the comments rolling!
Great article! Paris is my hometown, and my family is still there, but I don't remember hearing about this. Maybe I need to hike Crocker Hill when we're back! Thanks, Steve and Maddie, for sharing! Happy Trails :)ReplyDelete
AA, The information I obtained came off the "Cryptomundo" website linked above. It lists the Paris sighting as having occurred in December of 2005. Details other than that I have yet to dig up! Take care and thanks for commenting!Delete
My brother in Whitefield claims he had tracks in his back yard not more than a mile from the school(the past couple of years)....and sightings in Coplin and Langtown area as well....Have you read Loise Dickinson Rich's book "We Took to the Woods" ? its about depression era life near Middle Dam/Andover to Rangeley. At one point in the book she is followed by a big cat....ReplyDelete
Anon, Interesting. WIll have to add those sighting details to my updated map! I haven't read that book but will be sure to add it to my summer reading list! Thanks for commenting!Delete
IN 1983 While Deer hunting the western side of Floods Pond in Otis, I jumped a sleeping Mountain that was laying on a big rock. At 1st I thought to myself " Look at the size of that Lynx" but in an instant it either winded me or realized it heard something and it leaped of the rock. It was around 150 lb animal with a 4' tail. Could not be anything else but what it was. When skeptics scoff at my story I tell them this...ReplyDelete
"If I told you I saw a Giraffe in the Maine woods, would you believe me? Of course their reply is always NO! Then I ask Why? Because Maine doesn't have Giraffes or because you don't think I know a freaking Giraffe when I see one?"
GPS coordinates: 44.731482°N 68.498588°W
Any way to edit a comment. I left out the word lion after mountain. I didn't really jump a sleeping mountain.ReplyDelete
PM, Nope! Sorry buddy your screwed. :)ReplyDelete
Hey - always late to the party I guess. Go for something in Searsmont - My sister and I lived in Montville for awhile, she had sheep, ducks, chickens, pigs - we found prints the size of the palms of our hands around her pond where the ducks had disappeared and we used to hear weird screams at night. She swore it was a panther and I swore she was nuts. Just sayin'.ReplyDelete
Ren, Interesting. Will be sure to add to the lists of "potential" sightings! You sure the weird screams weren't Bigfoot?!?!Delete
Sounds like a Bobcat to me Renee. A mountain lion has huge feet. Their print is the size of an average man's entire hand. Don't mis-understand, I am not a doubter..I've seen one. But a track the size of a woman's palm is no Mountain lion. :-)Delete
PM, Careful buddy Ren has been known to bite. :)Delete
My wife and I were on vacation in the Machias Area last week, and a mountain lion ran across the road right in front of our car, less than 20 feet away. I had a very clear view, and there was no mistaking it. After talking to the caretaker of the house, she informed me that they see mountain lions in the area pretty regularly, but the state feels it's bad publicity, and bad for tourism, so keeps it on the hush and denies them being there. Whether or not that's true, I can't say, but that's what I was told. I was looking up photos of Maine mountain lions, and that's how I came to your site. It was exactly like the photo you posted in a previous entry. Wasn't very tall, but was very long. Absolutely no mistaking it for anything else.ReplyDelete
Anon, Thanks a ton for taking the time to comment! I went to college at UMM and lived in the area after school for several years. Know most of the territory in that areas of the world like the back of my hand. Can you provide more specific information as to where the sighting occurred? THANKS AGAIN!Delete
We were staying just a few miles from the University in Roque Bluffs. Absolutely LOVE this area, and can't wait to get back. This was near Roque Bluffs state park, on a gravel side road, near the intersection of Heath and Duck Cove Rd. Now, something that's interesting but can't be confirmed, my dog is trained in scent detection. There was 2 times, at night, that she alerted to something in the woods. We live in an area that has a high concentration of wildlife, including daily black bear, coyote, deer, turkey, various birds, etc. If you leave food in the yard, 100%, guaranteed there will be bears shortly following. We often go up the Appalachian Mountains, and to the farm areas, so seeing/picking up scent of animals is not something new to us. This was a different reaction, this was not a typical alert. I have never had a problem calling her off, she is trained to competition level and will normally recall immediately upon command, even while in a dead sprint. While she didn't take off into the woods, I had a tough time getting her attention back to me, which again, is extremely unusual. She was intensely focused on one area. This was more of a "if you come out of the woods I'm going to get you" kind of reaction, almost like a warning to whatever was out there. I don't know how to describe it, but I can tell you I went inside both times immediately as this was not a "normal" reaction and I wasn't about to try to find out what it was. I did all of our dog's training, so I know what's normal and what's not, and the sounds coming out of her raised the hair on my neck. For another hour or so she was pacing in front of the windows looking out to the woods. So, like I said, this doesn't exactly prove anything in the least, but I can tell you that she picked up on something that she wasn't used to seeing, and outside of moose and cats the wildlife we see is similar.Delete
Some years ago I worked with a young man in Augusta who claimed to have taken part in a state funded reintroduction effort of mountain lions in western Maine. He spoke of at least one subsequent litter by a female called princess. Gulf war Vet with law enforcement background, he had names dates, locations and photos. I had no reason to call him a liar, but I cannot verify his claims.ReplyDelete
My wife and two children witnessed a mountain lion with a long tail, black spot at the end, cross the road next to Hogback Mountain off Rt220, in Montville in the winter of 2009. We were within 50ft and the animal crossed the road slowly while the tail twitched. The height of this cat's back, was higher then the front of our Pontiac mini-van. My first thought was that someone lost their pet African Lion, and then I realized we saw an Eastern Mountain Lion.ReplyDelete
I remember being in St. Agatha with you that night when we saw the big cat... quite a rush!ReplyDelete
My name is Linze I Live in Rockwood Maine over the years I have talked to local that have seen mountain lions I yesterday saw one crossing the road about a mile b4 squaw mountain the size and the long tail made me sure of what I saw was indeed a mountain lion I have seen them b4 out west.i contacted local game wardens and biologist and nobody wants to belive they are here why? regardless of what people think im sure of what I saw and a lot of other people in northern maine agree.very cool exsperienceReplyDelete
I work in a building that parallels the railroad tracks in Bangor. I just looked out my window and saw a huge black cat of some sort walking along the tracks and it was significantly taller and longer than any household cat I've ever seen. It was as large as a medium sized dog. Yikes.ReplyDelete
I believe I saw a mountain lion in Maine, in the summer of 1976.ReplyDelete
I was 16 and working at Camp Winnebago for the summer. It's 20 miles NW of Augusta, along Rt 17.
When I saw the cat, I was in the wooded area across Rt 17, from the camp.
The area had been logged, and there was lots of slash (limbs from the harvested trees).
I had a bow and was hunting (poaching, sad to say), so I assume I was trying to be quiet. I just caught a glimpse of the cat. He was the size of a Labrador Retriever. He was brown/tan (no spots).
I just saw him briefly and he traveled so quietly that I wondered if I imagined it. But, I can remember that image to this day, now 40 years later.
Cherry Hill, NJ
jimyuill at pobox dot com