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Discover a B52 Crash Site

Location: Near Greenville
Region: The Maine Highlands
Activities: Hiking and visiting a Historic Site

Near northern Maine’s Moosehead Lake, you’ll find a quiet mountain trail that wanders through an unusual memorial to American aviators and the Cold War.

On a frigid January day in 1963, a B-52 Stratofortress bomber took off from Westover Air Force Base in western Massachusetts and headed north. Its mission: to practice a type of high-speed, low-level flying needed to evade enemy radar. It was hard and it was risky. Bad weather and high winds could toss the bomber as it maneuvered close to the ground. And the B-52 was massive; its wings would spread half the length of a football field. On that day, the biggest danger turned out to be turbulence.

As the B-52 roared low over Maine woods and peaks, it was shaken by winter turbulence so intense that it ripped the vertical stabilizer—the gigantic tail—clean off the airplane. As the tail fell away, the rest of the plane turned hard and slammed into Elephant Mountain. Only two of the plane’s nine crew members survived. Both bailed out in the seconds before the plane crashed to earth.

Today, the remains of the B-52 lie silent among the trees. On impact, the plane disintegrated, spewing parts over a wide area of the mountain side. Under the branches, visitors can see pieces of aluminum from the body, large structural panels, even the landing gear. Organizations have erected memorial plaques and signs to guide people through the site. Those visitors are asked to leave everything from the crash in place.

To find the site, here are detailed instructions that begin in the nearby town of Greenville.

Driving Distance:

From Portland: 165 Miles
From Bangor: 80 Miles
From Lewiston/Auburn: 140 Miles

Businesses & Organizations

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  • We are a registered Maine Guide Company focused on sustainability and offering Custom Canoeing, Backpacking Adventures, and Educational Skills Courses, for individuals, organizations, and groups of all ages.

    Phone: 207-945-1944


    Address: Novelty Dr , Carmel

    Adventure Boating, Canoeing and Kayaking Hiking and Climbing
  • Custom, family-friendly guided hikes, fly-fishing, and paddling adventures in Downeast Maine.

    Phone: 207-358-0412


    Address: 87 Main Street (PO Box 503) , Milbridge

    Boating, Canoeing and Kayaking Registered Maine Guides Winter Activities
  • Visit us for all outdoor activities! Cross country skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, biking, and so much more.

    Phone: 207-370-1696


    Address: River Road , Turner

    Trails and Routes Day Hiking Hiking with Kids
  • Enjoy great hiking close to Northern Outdoors Adventure Resort in The Forks, Maine or at our Katahdin Adventure Base Camp near Baxter State Park!

    Phone: 207-663-4466


    Address: 1771 US Route 201 , The Forks

    Backpacking Guided Hikes and Walks Hiking with Kids
  • Swan Island welcomes hikers, campers, birders, anglers, wildlife watchers and explorers.

    Phone: (207) 547-5322


    Address: Intersection of Routes 197 and 24 , Richmond

    Day Hiking State Parks Sanctuaries, Land Trusts and Refuges
  • Maine Wilderness Adventures offers women, youth groups and families the opportunity to experience a...

    Phone: (207) 568-3450

    Address: 35 Fowler Rd , Thorndike

    Guided Hikes and Walks Hiking with Kids Day Hiking

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