Maine September 04, 2017
You’ve Probably Overlooked These 10 Little-Known Maine Hikes Hidden Under Your Nose
The end of summer doesn’t have to signal an end to hiking season. In fact, some of the best hiking in Maine happens when the leaves begin to change and fall foliage turns the landscape into a kaleidoscope of colors. As you gear up for chilly weather hikes, make sure you’re heading out to uncharted territory this year. If you think that means you need to head far off-the-beaten path, think again! These hikes are likely to be new for some people, but they’re surprisingly easy to find.
1. Saco Beach Loop, Saco
This four-mile round trip hike includes the beach and some more structured trails. You'll find it just a few miles from Old Orchard Beach, at Ferry Beach State Park. The park is comprises of more than 100 acres and includes some these trails that are part of the Saco Bay Trails system.
2. Ecotat Gardens and Arboretum, Hermon
This manicured trail costs nothing to enjoy, but that's not why we like it. The more than 80 acres of land provides 15 acres of gardens for exploring. It's full of non-native flowers and native trees. The trail system meanders through wooded area, as well as the marshy area below. The trip is about 1.3 miles which includes the entire network of paths. Plan to spend anywhere from 1-3 hours.
3. Eliot Mountain, Mount Desert Island
The summit of this pretty mountain looks out over Northeast Harbor in the 1,000-acre Land & Garden Preserve outside of Acadia National Park. History lovers might like this option. The trails here are said date back to the 1800s.
4. Holden Community Learning Trails, Holden
This network of 1.2 miles of trails is located near the elementary school in town and serves as a great place for providing outdoor education to the community. If you're looking to take it easy, take the Washburn Trail. For those looking to get deeper into the woods, there are a few different trails that cross each other. Plan to stay anywhere from 1-3 hours.
5. The Kennebec River Rail Trail, Augusta, Hallowell and Gardiner
A lovely 6.5-mile trail follows the Kennebec River on its west side as it bends and curves its way towards the coast. It also follows the railroad tracks that once connected Portland to Augusta. While they are no longer in use, they're still maintained today in case they are ever used in the future. Stone markers are used every quarter mile to track the distance and look just like the original markers once used in conjunction with the train.
6. Whiskeag Trail, Bath
You might be surprised to find out that one of the longest coastal walks in Maine is actually just outside of Bath! In fact, this trail will actually take you to the heart of town. It follows the Whiskeag Creek, connecting the Bath Area Family YMCA with KELT's Thorne Head Preserve. Taking the five-mile hike means winding your way through three public preserves.
7. Little River Community Trails, Belfast
Head to Belfast for this hike, which winds its way right through town. Start on Route 1 at the old brick pump house. The trail begins at the kiosk near the Belfast Water District office. You'll know you're on the trail when you see the blue paint markers on the trees. Make your way along the Little River for about four miles until you end up near the Walsh baseball field. From here you'll need to make your own way back to where your parked.
8. Higgins Mountain, Georgetown
This hike can easily be tacked onto a trip to Reid State Park. The trail itself is short - a little more than a half mile - but the summit is incredible. The top offers views of Maine's coast eastward from Robinhood Cove towards Sheepscot Bay.
9. Thorncrag Sanctuary, Lewiston
Thorncrag can be found outside of downtown Lewiston, and offers access to the largest sanctuary for birds in all of New England. But, you don't need to be a bird watcher to enjoy yourself here. There are six different trails, collectively about 6 miles, each allowing visitors to explore every area of the property. The park offers beautiful hills, lovely woods and ponds and streams.
10. Alewife Woods Preserve, Kennebunk
This forested preserve is about 625 acres and includes the lovely Alewife Pond. The looped trail leads directly to the pond and back. Visitors have access to about 2.5 miles including the full network of paths and should plan to spend anywhere from 1-3 hours.
To enjoy the trees without heading out into the forest, make a reservation at
this restaurant with a decidedly treehouse-feel.