Black Bear Mountain is the big brother, so to speak, of Rocky Mountain. Located so close to the village of Inlet, this peak gets some pretty serious attention from hikers; the summit can be a very crowded location. Black Bear Mountain from Route 28 is the most popular approach, but a secondary approach can be found leaving from Uncas Road. Using the Route 28 trailhead you have an excellent opportunity to create a loop for a slightly longer outing.
How to get there
Follow Route 28 west out of the village of Inlet and in no time you will see the trailhead on the right. This is a large parking area, paved but rough. The Black Bear Mountain Trail is to the right side of the parking area.
One of the nice features of the Black Bear Mountain Trail is that you can loop over the top and connect to another trail making for an interesting day in the woods. The loop will add on time and distance to the trip, but you will get to see different lays of land and spend some time on a lightly used and soft trail. You also have the option to descend via your route in, once you have reached the summit.
From the trailhead you will start off walking along an old rocky woods road and quickly come to a split in the trail, take the right at this time, you will return left at the end of the loop. From here the old road continues for a bit before it turns into more of a foot trail and goes through a wet area over a long attractive boardwalk. At this point, the trail will start to ascend, at times quite steeply. The trail from Seventh Lake will come in on the right in a col between Black Bear and a lower summit; the Seventh Lake Trail can be easily hiked right past and not even noticed. The final approach to the summit is a bit more interesting, as rocky footing starts to be introduced as well as your first views. The summit of Black Bear has several viewing areas to spread out amongst the crowds of people who often frequent this peak.
If you wish to continue on the loop, please read further and have a great trip.
The loop continues over the top of the mountain; it can be hard to locate off the summit, but look closely for markers on the trees and you will find the way. The trail will drop off the summit on a very narrow trail. The trail is easy to follow but in many cases ends up being steep and slippery. The descent is through a different forest type than you were in on the way up. You will be down off the mountain quite quickly and come to the Uncas Road Trail on your right. Don't follow here but head much more left along a grassy trail that shadows the base of Black Bear Mountain. Through this area the forest opens up into mostly hardwoods with wildflowers blooming all around. The lower portion of this loop is quite flat, and for being as flat as it is, there are not too many wet areas to navigate through. It will be 3-miles back to the trail you started in on, but those 3-miles moves by quickly. Once back at the trail intersection you pass on the way in, you will have about 0.75 miles remaining to your vehicle on Route 28.
Route 28 to the summit: 1.9 miles
Full loop: 6.3 miles
Black Bear is an excellent destination for snowshoeing and does get some moderate winter attention. It may be too much of a hike for young children under winter conditions. The back portion of the loop get very little use in winter, it may require the user to break trail under difficult conditions.
The mountain trail is not recommended for cross-country skiing. The lower portion of the loop could make for a nice cross-country ski if conditions were good.