Trailheads are located at parking areas near Perch and Deboullie ponds. Access to the Deboullie Unit can be either from St. Francis-Fort Kent or from Portage Lake-Ashland. For visitors coming from the Portage Lake-Ashland area, at Portage, turn left from ME Route 11 onto West Road. After 1 mile, turn left onto a gravel logging road. After about 4 miles, stop and pay use fee at the North Maine Woods' Fish River checkpoint. After two miles, turn right on Hewes Brook Road and follow that road for approximately 13 miles to the Red River, where make a left turn on to the T15 R9 road and head west for approximately 7 miles into the Deboullie Public Reserved Lands. At each turn pay attention to the direction signs (signs for Red River Camps). Once within the Deboullie Public Reserved Lands, at a fork, either drive straightforward to Pushineer Pond, Deboullie Pond, and Red River Camps, or turn left (south) to Perch Pond, Togue Pond, and Denny Pond. For visitors coming from St. Francis-Fort Kent area, travel on ME Route 161 southwestward and pay user fee at North Maine Woods' St. Francis checkpoint. Proceed south approximately 8 miles on St. Francis Road (This road is open late spring through winter). Once within the Deboullie Public Reserved Lands, visitors choose to stop by Togue Pond, Denny Pond, Perch Pond, and Upper Pond, or drive all the way to Pushineer and Deboullie ponds. (Check http://www.northmainewoods.org/fees.asp for fee schedule)
Hiking trails in the Deboullie Unit form a 16-mile trail network with several round-trip and loop options leading to all major ponds and to Deboullie Mountain peak, the highest in Deboullie (1,981 feet). Hikers can choose between Denny Trail, Deboullie Loop Trail, Black Mountain Loop Trail, and Deboullie Mountain Trail, Whitman Mtn. Trail, and Whitman Valley Trail from different locations. All the hiking trails have blue trail markers and some signage at intersections.
Denny Trail (2 miles, easy):
Denny Trail begins at the new parking lot next to the main road west of Perch Pond Dam Campsite. Follow the trail to the Denny Pond road and turn left onto the Denny Pond Road. The trail goes northwest along the east side of Denny Pond and Galilee Pond into the densely wooded forest, and leads to the portage between Deboullie and Gardner ponds to join Deboullie Loop Trail. Follow blue trail markers painted on trees and don’t be lost.
Deboullie Loop Trail (5 miles loop, easy):
The Deboullie Loop Trail loops around the Deboullie and Pushineer ponds. The trail begins at the east end of Deboullie Pond at the end of the road where there is trailhead parking. The trail follows the north shore of the pond west 1.3 miles, passing the Deboullie Mountain summit trail, and continuing west 0.9 miles to the west end of the pond where the trail joins the portage trail between Deboullie and Gardner ponds. Be careful crossing the footbridge over the brook. The trail forks about 180 feet after passing the campsite. The right-hand trail is the Denny Trail that heads southwest about2 miles to Denny Pond. The left-hand fork continues the Deboullie Loop Trail eastward, going 2.4 miles through woods to southeast Pushineer Pond (the exit from the wood is by the road that goes south to Red River Camps and going north to Pushineer Pond). Hiking route continues from the exit on a gravel road along the east side of Pushineer Pond back to the original, eastern Deboullie Pond trailhead. The walk to the eastern Deboullie trailhead along the gravel road is approximately one-mile in distance.
Black Pond Trail (1 mile, easy):
The Black Pond Trail begins at the east side of Deboullie Pond where two parking lots are available for parking. It shares the same trailhead with the Deboullie Loop Trail. The trail follows an old lumbering road and easy for hikers. It goes to the southwest shore of Black Pond and from there it forks, the left side continues the trail to the Little Black Ponds, and the right side one begins the Black Mountain Trail.
Black Mountain Trail (3 miles, advanced):
The Black Mountain Trail begins at the southwest side of Black Pond at the end of the road where there is trailhead parking. The scenic vistas on Black Mountain provides spectacular views of Black Pond and the surrounding forest. The trail continues along the top of Black Mountain, across the saddle between Deboullie Mountain and Black Mountain then up the north side of Deboullie Mountain to the summit of Deboullie Mountain. Hikers may follow the Deboullie Mountain Trail downhill and the Deboullie Loop Trail North back to the trail head parking.
Deboullie Mountain Trail (4 miles, Advanced):
The Deboullie Mountain Trail begins from the Deboullie Loop Trail on the north shore of Deboullie Pond, where a day-use picnic site is located. The trail heads steeply up for six-tenths of a mile to the summit with views in all directions from the 48-foot fire tower. A large part of the trail has been rebuilt with stone steps, switchbacks and scenic vistas.
Whitman Mountain Trail (1.5 miles, moderate):
The Whitman Mtn. Trail begins at the trailhead on the main road west of the Perch Pond dam campsite. The trail crosses the Denny Pond road and then follows an old logging road. Near the top of the hill turn right. There is a steep section at the south end of Whitman Mtn. At the summit is a panoramic view of Perch and Togue Ponds and beyond. The trail follows the ridgeline northward to the Deboullie loop trail near the south shore of Pushineer Pond. Take the Whitman Valley Trail or the Denny Trail back to the trailhead.
Whitman Valley Trail (2 miles, easy):
The Whitman Valley Trail begins at the trailhead on the main road west of the Perch Pond dam campsite. The first section is the same as the Whitman Mtn. Trail. Just beyond the right hand turn for the Whitman Mtn. Trail turn left thru a beautiful hardwood stand. Soon you will be at the base of a long, sheer cliff. Follow the rock wall to the old beaver flowage. The trail then follows the babbling brook to the Deboullie Loop Trail. Both this trail and the Denny Trail are nice easy hikes. Take the Denny Trail or the Whitman Mtn. Trail to get back to the trailhead.
Deboullie is the French word, débouler, which means to tumble down—referring to talus sloped or rock slides at the base of the mountains in the area. Geologically, the area is well-known for the unique Deboullie syenite pluton that is exposed around the ponds and the mountains, and for a number of well-preserved relic rock glaciers that have been found northern-most of the northeastern United States.
In spring and summer visitors enjoy fishing for brook trout in most of the scenic ponds, and also for landlocked salmon in Togue Pond. In the fall there is hunting for partridge and deer. Fishing and hunting are allowed on Deboullie Public Reserved Land, subject to state law. Please note rules regarding fire-arms on and around campsites, trails, and boat launches.
For camping on the shores of the ponds, campsites have primitive facilities, including table(s), fire ring, and pit toilet nearby. There are 4 campsites with Adirondacks (lean-tos), a table shelter at the group site on Perch Pond and vault toilets at Perch and Deboullie. For the traditional Maine sporting camp experience, Red River Camps on Island Pond (Box 16, Portage, Maine 04768; phone # 207-5540420) offers cabins and meals on property leased from Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.
The ponds, streams, marshes, and forests provide habitat for many species of wildlife, ranging in size from mayflies to moose. In or near the water, visitors enjoy watching beavers, moose, loons, and bald eagles. In the forests, wildlife watchers may see red squirrels, snowshoe hares, and white tailed deer.