Photo Credit: www.visitaroostook.com

Deboullie Caves

“Deboullie,” a rough translation of the French word ‘debouler,’ which means to charge down, or to tumble down, was named for the rockslides that can be found on Deboullie and other nearby mountains. The area is owned by the people of the State of Maine, and is managed by the Department of Conservation’s Bureau of Parks and Lands for a variety of resource values, including recreation, wildlife and timber.

Deboullie is remote. Access to the area begins at a North Maine Woods (NMW) checkpoint in either Portage (via Route 11) or St. Francis (via Route 161). Armed with good directions from a friendly NMW staffer at the checkpoint, a traveler with a keen eye and a light foot on the gas pedal will encounter abundant wildlife – especially moose – as well as a couple of small waterfalls that are more than worth the short walk in the woods needed to reach them.

Campers will find 19 peaceful campsites scattered among the lakes in the southern half of the unit.  The views and the sound of the waters of Gardner, Deboullie and Pushineer Ponds as they become the Red River only steps away from your tent are second to none.  Anglers will realize an excellent opportunity to fish for brook trout and landlocked salmon while and hunters can pursue ruffed grouse and deer. Both activities are subject to state law.

For all you hikers out there, Deboullie truly is a hidden gem. The foremost footpath begins near the thoroughfare between Pushineer and Deboullie Ponds and leads to the fire-tower at the Deboullie Summit (elevation: 1,981 feet). Along the way, you may discover several small ice caves, cross the namesake rock slide and climb the sometimes steep fire warden’s trail to the summit. Once there, the best views are available from the unmanned Maine Forest Service fire-tower.  After descending the mountain, the heartiest of hikers may also want to continue their trek by circumnavigating Pushineer and Deboullie Ponds to gain access to Gardner Pond, the Denny Pond Trail, as well as more ice caves. Other trails include the Black Pond Trail.

It should also be noted that NMW charges day use and camping fees, so be sure to visit their website or call ahead for information. The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands is also a great resource.