Originally published in Seasonal Guide, April 11, 2014
Hiking and Walking Spring 2014
With a canopy of unfurling young leaves above and a scatter of golden and green pine needles below, a walk through the woods in Spring fills you with a sense of nature’s possibilities. A dogwood tree may flower one day and then lend its white or pink petals to the beauty of the trail and woods. Open spaces in April are filled with cascading ferns come June. From the rainy days of May spring delicate wildflowers, while birds sing and yearling brooks turn to streams spilling over rocks. Step onto a trail in Spring and you may find yourself echoing naturalist John Muir, who wrote: “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
For more detailed information on the following trails, visit the website of the land trust that maintains the trail.
Note that the Conservation Trust of Brooksville, Castine and Penobscot is merging with Blue Hill Heritage Trust, with some property transferred to Maine Coast Heritage Trust; however, the Trust’s website will stay live during the transition.
^ Denotes Blue Hill Heritage Trust trails, bluehillheritagetrust.org.
Dogs whose owners clean up after them are welcome (on a leash) on those trails marked with a ¢ symbol.
^Patten Stream. Located off Warren Ln. (off Rte. 172). A trail begins at the small trailhead parking area on the left side of the dirt road. The 1.5 mile loop trail winds close to Patten Stream and is graced by wildflowers and song birds.
Osgood Lot walking trail. From Rte. 172 toward Ellsworth, turn left on North Bend Rd. Travel 0.25 miles to the town hall and park; look for sign behind town hall marking the 1-mile loop through woods; easy/moderate, some uneven terrain.
^Talalay Nature Sanctuary. On the Cross Rd. Trailhead the same as for the Furth Wildlife Sanctuary. 0.5 miles from the trailhead, bear right at the trail intersection to head around a 1-mile loop that winds through mossy forest and white cedar swamp. This trail is full of excellent bird habitat; bring your binoculars.
^Furth Wildlife Sanctuary. On the Cross Rd. Park on the side of the road. This 1-mile trail forms a lollipop loop that crosses through active beaver habitat and young forest. Several small bridges, dips and curves in the trail and the mossy forest make this trail fun for children. Also look for an intersection 0.5 miles from the road where the trail to the Talalay Nature Sanctuary begins.
^Carter Nature Preserve. Shore access. From Blue Hill, take scenic route along Rte. 176/Morgan Bay Rd. to Cross Rd. Parking is near the Cross Rd. bridge. Moderate, 0.7 miles, excellent for all ages and provides access to a rocky beach, tide pools and quiet secluded forest. Dogs allowed on beach, not in wooded area.
Starr and Virginia Lampson Preserve. Rte. 199, just before the intersection with Rte. 166. One-mile trail, views of Bagaduce River, woods, fields, shore access; easy.
Witherle Woods Preserve. Rte. 166 from Penobscot, right on Battle Ave. to near end of road. 132 acres of old-growth woods, beginner to moderate. Trails first used as artillery roads by the British during the Revolutionary War and in the War of 1812. Maintained by Maine Coast Heritage Trust, MCHT.org.
^Blue Hill Mountain. In Blue Hill, take Rte. 15 north to Mountain Rd. The first (roadside) parking area on the right serves the Osgood trail. The larger parking lot at the top of the hill serves the Hayes trail and Tower Service trail. The mountain is 934 feet high and provides views of the surrounding area, from the Camden Hills to Acadia National Park. Two trails start on the Mountain Rd. and end at the summit. The Osgood Trail (0.9 miles), on Blue Hill Heritage Trust property, provides a leisurely hike up through the forest. The Hayes Trail (0.7 miles) starts in the large field owned by the Town of Blue Hill and heads up a steep rock staircase. The least steep but longest path up the mountain is the radio tower access road (0.7 miles) which departs from the Hayes trail at the top of the field. The Becton Trail (2 miles) starts from a trailhead on Turkey Farm Rd. and ascends the north and west sides of the mountain. It is the only trail on the mountain to offer views inland. The trail connects to the Osgood Trail west of the summit. ¢
^Kingdom Woods Conservation Area. 878 acres of protected wetland and forest and provides access to undeveloped Fourth Pond. The main trail head is 1 mile from Rte. 177 on the south side of the Kingdom Rd. A half mile further down the Kingdom Rd. a second parking area marks the start of a family-friendly, flat nature trail loop (0.5 mile). Seasonal activities include blueberry picking and hunting (with permission). ¢
^Post Office trail. This trail is on private property but a public right of way is maintained by Blue Hill Heritage Trust. It starts at the back of the Blue Hill Post Office parking lot (look for stone steps) and goes behind the large EBS storage building. From there this lovely 0.5-mile trail crosses through an old apple orchard and into a cool, damp, old forest.
^South Street to Parker Point Road trail. This trail is on private property but a public right of way is maintained by Blue Hill Heritage Trust. Start at the water fountain parking lot on Parker Point Rd., Blue Hill. The 0.5 mile trail heads uphill to South St., ending just south of the Mainescape Store. ¢
^A.B. Herrick Memorial Landing and Peters Brook trail. Peter’s Cove and Peter’s Brook Trail, Rte. 172 to East Blue Hill Rd., then 0.6 mile; parking on roadside. This trail crosses privately owned land, protected by conservation easements. Public access is made possible by the generosity of the landowner. Please stay on marked trails. Shore access, picnicking.
Holbrook Island Sanctuary. From Blue Hill, Rte. 15 to Rte. 175, then left on Rte. 176; follow brown signs. System of 9 trails on both sides of Falls Rd., 0.7 to 2 miles, from beginner to strenuous, encompassing beach, mud flats, rocky coast, mixed woodlands, wetlands, meadows; abundant wildlife. Trail maps are available in the park, just look around.
^John B. Mountain. Off Breezemere Road in Brooksville, located 0.8 miles from Rte. 176. A 1.2 mile trail begins at a small parking lot (more parking .25 miles north). A 0.75 mile loop brings you to the top of this short mountain (250 ft.) where you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Eggemoggin Reach, Blue Hill Mountain and the Camden Hills.
Sedgwick & Brooklin
Rocky Ridge fitness trail, at the Sedgwick Elementary School on Rte. 15. Graveled and graded trail includes 10 to 12 fitness stations in woods; 0.75 mile. Check in at school office when school is in session.
^Snow’s Cove Preserve trail, just down the hill from the Elementary School, 500 ft. north of school entrance on Rte. 15. Parking area, 1.5 miles of trail including loop along Bagaduce River, horseshoe crab shells can be found. ¢
^Cooper Farm trail, off Rte. 15, Caterpillar Hill. Take Cooper Farm Rd. to small parking lot on right. One-mile loop through woods and blueberry barrens, two cut-off trails; moderate with some uneven terrain; moderate uphill climb. Bog bridges and mossy trails. (You can pick blueberries here in season). ¢
Salt Pond access trail. Take Rte. 15 south from Blue Hill village, turn left onto Rte. 172 at roundabout, travel 10 miles to Hales Hill Rd. on left; 0.1 mile down Hales Hill Rd; park on road shoulder. Walk 500 feet across an open field to the pond, called “salt” because it is tidal. ¢
^Hundred Acre Wood trail. The trailhead is located off High St., 0.1 mile from the 4-way intersection of High St., River Rd., Hales Hill Rd. and Hales Wood Rd. The 1.7-mile loop travels through a diverse landscape including a white cedar grove, pine and spruce forests, and open areas with blueberries. The trail is easy to moderate and suitable for all ages.
Deer Isle & Stonington
*Pine Hill, Little Deer Isle. After you come over the bridge onto the Island, turn right at information center, then left at Blastow Cove Rd., continue 0.2 miles to parking area on right. Strenuous and steep, but a wonderful view of Eggemoggin Reach and the causeway.
*Bowcat Overlook, Little Deer Isle. Just before the causeway, as you come on the Island. One-acre shore parcel, with access to Carney Island and with plaque highlighting connection between this point and Robert McCloskey’s book Time of Wonder.
*Scott’s Landing, Deer Isle. Rte. 15 just after the causeway, across from Causeway Beach. Twenty acres of fields, scenic vistas and shorefront, easy trails.
*Shore Acres Preserve, Deer Isle. Rte. 15 to Sunshine Rd. south of Deer Isle village; travel Sunshine Rd. for 1.2 miles, bear left onto Greenlaw District Rd., then 0.9 mile to parking area. Moderate, 1.5 mile loop, uneven terrain through woods and along shore. Spectacular views of Greenlaw Cove and Campbell Island. ¢
Mariners Memorial Park, Deer Isle. Rte. 15 to Sunshine Road south of Deer Isle village, then turn right off Sunshine Rd. at Morey Farm Rd., follow signs. Easy, 0.5 mile. Shore access; kayak/canoe launch; picnic area. ¢
*Edgar M. Tennis Preserve, Deer Isle. Rte. 15 to Sunshine Rd. near Deer Isle village, 2.5 miles to Tennis Rd. on right. Easy to moderate with some uneven terrain; 3 miles of trails. Shore access; historic cemetery, wildlife including ospreys, eagles and occasional seals on Toothacher Ledge. ¢
Holt Mill Pond Preserve, Rte. 15 to Airport Rd. in Stonington, access road just west of medical center. Easy, 0.5 mile. Salt marsh and estuarine habitats. ¢
*Barred Island Preserve, Sunset. Rte. 15A from Deer Isle village, turn right on Goose Cove Rd., follow signs. Moderate, 2 miles round-trip, steep trail to beach; access to Barred Island and large beach at low tide. Panoramic views of Isle au Haut and Mark Island.
Crockett Cove Woods, Stonington. Rte. 15A from Deer Isle village, 3 miles beyond Sunset Post Office, turn right onto Whitman Rd., then right onto Fire Rd. 88 to trailhead. Easy/moderate, 2 miles round-trip; self-guided nature trail in spruce forest and bog.
*Settlement Quarry, Stonington. Rte. 15 to Oceanville Rd., then 0.9 mile on the right. Short trails and old quarry roads through former granite quarry, 2 miles total. Informational signs describe granite quarrying and geology of area. A view of Isle au Haut, Merchant’s Row and Webb Cove is visible from the top of the quarry. ¢
Isle au Haut
Isle au Haut, French for “High Island” and named by navigator Samuel Champlain in 1604, offers its own bounty of natural treasures. Half of the island is part of Acadia National Park.
Accessible via the mail-boat ferry, departing from the bottom of Seabreeze Ave. in Stonington. The number of daily trips from Stonington to Isle au Haut changes with the seasons, so be sure to check the ferry schedule at isleauhaut.com.
Bicycle rentals are available to visitors (from the mail-boat company). Bicycles are not allowed on hiking trails, but there are 5 miles of paved road and 7 miles of unpaved road for biking. Be careful when biking—roads are narrow and winding. The Keeper’s House Inn will be open for the season until October 7. There are few services on Isle au Haut, which has a year-round population of about 45 people.
The general store is well stocked, Revere Memorial Town Hall has Wi-Fi, there is a gift shop, a café specializing in handcrafted chocolates, and a beautifully restored church.
Isle au Haut/Acadia National Park trail system, 18 miles of trails, 0.2 to 3.8 miles, easy to strenuous. Be sure to stay on public land. Interior trails are quiet, and travel through forest, marshes, bogs, mountain summits, and a freshwater lake. Rocky coastal trails offer views of 100-foot cliffs. Must have advance reservation to camp on the island (see isleauhaut.com), and you must carry out any trash.