Here at Only in Maine, we love telling you about the incredible hiking options that exist in our home state. We’re fortunate to have not only a huge trail system, but park services and volunteers who tirelessly maintain it. And, because Maine is comprised of very different geographies – coast, mountains and forests – we can explore lots of trails providing vastly different views and experiences. Here are some of our favorite trails in Maine. Many end in waterfalls, but all of them are truly unforgettable.
1. Step Falls Trail, Newry
This moderately easy 1-mile trail will bring you directly to the base of the falls, which are among the highest in Maine. For a different vantage point, take the slightly more challenging (though not difficult) hike up to the top. The trail follows along Wight Brook and offers opportunities for wildlife viewing and swimming.
Distance/Duration: Approximately 1 mile round trip, about 45 minutes to one hour for the whole thing, depending on your pace.
2. Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, Caribou
Within the refuge are over 5 miles of trails, all focused around Chapman Pond and Greenlaw Brook. There are three distinct trail heads and each trail is maintained and relatively flat, making these hikes great for beginners and kids. In addition to hiking, running, snowshoeing and skiing are all allowed in the area.
Distance/Duration: About 5 miles of trails and all are relatively easy, Plan for a half-day to explore.
3. Moxie Falls Trail, Moxie Gore
Moxie Falls is always included in any article we write about waterfalls because it is simply incredible. Part of its beauty is the sheer magnitude, being one of Maine's highest waterfalls. One of the most amazing features is the single vertical drop of 90 feet. The hike to reach it is fairly easy and really more of a walk.
Distance/Duration: About 1 mile, Approximately 30-45 minutes.
4. Ocean Path, Acadia National Park
If you think Acadia National Park is only for the serious hiker, think again. It's absolutely possible to explore the classic Maine forest and coastline using your own two feet - even if you are not a seasoned hiker. Hiking Ocean Path will give you views of what many believe to be "classic Maine" - from coast to forest. There are many stopping points which make it a relaxing hike for those who don't want to have to constantly scramble uphill over rock. The trail will take you past Thunder Hole and will end at Otter Point with views of Cadillac and Dorr Mountains.
Distance/Duration: 4 miles one way, about 8 round trip, anywhere from 3-5 hours depending on how many times you stop and enjoy the journey.
5. Rines Forest Trail, Cumberland
The Rines Forest is part a 216-acre woodland that features a variety of land types. The southern portion of the area is one of the most lovely and has steep rolling hills mixed with wonderful cascading streams. Keep in mind that much of this area is wet, floodplain and is meant only to be used in the winter.
Distance/Duration: The network is comprised of about 2.5 miles of trails, Anywhere from 1 to 3 hours depending on your route and pace.
6. Cascade Stream Gorge Trail, Sandy River Plantation
This relatively easy 1-mile loop follows the path of the Cascade Stream gorge. The hike offers picnic opportunities, and the stream is great for swimming on a hot day. The hike is located with the 50-acre Cascade Stream Gorge Conservation Area, which is on the Maine Registry of Critical Areas. It's a truly beautiful place.
Distance/Duration: Approximately 1 mile, about 30-45 minutes round trip, depending on your pace.
7. Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, Baring Plantation
If you get outside with the sole purpose of seeing wildlife, this hiking opportunity is perfect for you. Comprised of 29,098 acres, this Downeast region gem has over 50 miles of trails. 7,392 acres of the area is designated National Wilderness, so you're sure to see at least a few examples of Maine wildlife.
Distance/Duration: Over 50 miles of trails, with seemingly thousand of hours necessary to explore!
8. Angel Falls Trail, Near Byron
This easy hike ends in a lovely view of Angel Falls. The 90' plunging waterfall comes from the Mountain Brook and takes about 30 minutes to reach on the (almost) mile-long trail.
Distance/Duration: About 1 mile, Approximately 30 minutes depending on the trail condition.
9. Pleasant Mountain Trail, Bridgton/Denmark
With over ten miles of trails included in this system, there are lots of different options for hikers looking for a hearty hike. While most trails aren't terribly long, they'll require some hiking experience. The good news is that making it to the summit, which is the highest in southern Maine, will provide wonderful views of the White Mountains.
Distance/Duration: Anywhere from approximately 2 to 3 miles depending on the trails, anywhere from 1-3 hours.
10. Narrow Gauge to Poplar Stream (Maine Hut Trail), Carrabassett Valley
The Poplar Stream Falls trail system is part of the overall Maine Hut Trail system, which is one of our favorite things in existence in Maine! You'll start this hike at the Gauge Road Trailhead in Carrabassett Valley, then to the Maine Huts Trail. Once here, you'll head towards the Poplar Stream Falls Hut. The huts long the trails offer water and toilets to day visitors for free. If you'd like to stay and eat, they offer food and lodging for a reasonable fee.
Distance/Duration: The entire network is comprised of about 6 miles of moderately difficult trails, Anywhere from 2 to 5 hours depending on your route and pace.
Many of these trails lead to unforgettable waterfalls. If you’d like to explore more of them, check out this awesome
Maine waterfalls road trip for more ways to experience all that our state has to offer. And, as always, thanks to Maine Trail Finder compiling so many details for Maine hikes.