With a fresh coating of snow, it’s pretty clear that winter just isn’t quite ready to leave. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t sit around dreaming about spring. And, we’ve been doing just that! From green grass to fresh leaves to birds and beach days: We. Are. Ready! If you are too, you might want to consider some planning out your warmer-weather hikes. Here are some of our favorite kid friendly hikes in Maine. Spoiler Alert: They’re actually great for grown-ups, too!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Barred Island Preserve, Deer Isle
Barred Island Preserve is located on the west side of Deer Isle. There are about 1.5 miles of trails in the preserve, but the best one is about a mile. It leads to visitors across a sandy path that's covered during high tide. So cool! And there's LOTS of areas for kids to comb through sea life and tide pools.
2. Jesup Path, Bar Harbor
You might want to save this trail for autumn because it has some of the best fall foliage views you'll find with an elevation gain that little enough for kids. Enjoy the views from close to sea level on this 1.5-mile hike through the wooded areas of Acadia National Park.
3. Wolfe’s Neck State Park, Freeport
The beauty of this trail network lies in the multitude of options! Walking through the Casco Bay Trails will take you from forest to Maine coastline. It's one of the best for kids and you can even plan to add an afternoon at the outlets in downtown Freeport. While there are 5 miles of trails, many are short and great for little legs!
4. Cascade Stream Gorge Trail, Sandy River Plantation
This fun and easy 1-mile hike is a simple loop. It follows the Cascade Stream gorge path and offers picnic spots to stop for a break. On a warm day, the stream is great for swimming, too! You'll find the trail within the 50-acre Cascade Stream Gorge Conservation Area, which is on the Maine Registry of Critical Areas. The route is about 1 mile and it should take 30-45 minutes round trip.
5. Higgins Mountain, Georgetown
This path is found in Reid State Park and it's great for a fun family day out. The trail itself is a little more than a mile, but the summit is beautiful. From the top, you'll be able to see Maine's coast from Robinhood Cove towards Sheepscot Bay.
6. Step Falls Trail, Newry
This trail is fairly easy at just 1-mile, but it's probably best for older kids since you'll find some rocky terrain. Although, we all know Maine kids are a hearty bunch! The trail will bring you directly to the base of the falls, which are among the highest in Maine. The 1 mile round trip route will take about 45 minutes to one hour depending on your pace.
7. Ecotat Gardens and Arboretum, Hermon
The fact that this garden is completely free of charge, makes it great for big families! It features more than 80 acres of land provides 15 acres of gardens for exploring. The trail system meanders through wooded area, as well as the marshy area below. If you explore every path you'll walk about 1.3 miles. Plan on spending between 1 and 3 hours here.
8. Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, Caribou
The refuge includes more than 5 miles of trails, which are all focused around Chapman Pond and Greenlaw Brook. There are three different trail heads from which to set off on adventure! All of them are routinely maintained and flat, lending to the kid-friendly nature! Hiking, running, snowshoeing and skiing are all allowed in the area. The 5 miles of trails are all easy-peasy! Plan for a full day here.
9. Lily Bay State Park Trails, Beaver Cove
The Scott Paper Company donated the land for this wonderful place. While the area is mainly used by campers and visitors to Moosehead Lake, the area is a nice getaway into the surrounding land. You'll find 2 main hiking trails that are fairly easy, family friendly and will take you along the shore of the lake.
If you're up for more than a mile, you can do both trails which are about 2 miles total.
10. Holden Community Learning Trails, Holden
This network of trails is near the elementary school in Holden and offers a great way to learn more about the outdoors. If you're looking to take it easy, take the Washburn Trail. Most of the trails are super easy and fun. There are markers throughout providing information on everything you'll see. The trails are approximately 1.2 miles if you do everything in the network. 1 to 3 hours should do it!
11. Alewive Woods Preserve, Kennebunk
This forested preserve is comprised of approximately 625 acres and includes Alewife Pond. The looped trail goes to the pond and back, but we love that you can just do a portion with kids and still see all the beauty it has to offer. Kids will love the wildflowers in the spring, but they'll REALLY enjoy picking fresh Maine wild blueberries in the summer!
There are about 2.5 miles of trails making up the entire network. Plan on spending about 1 to 3 hours.
12. Mackworth Island, Casco Bay
This just might be the BEST trail for kids on this list, if not in all of Maine! Just North of Portland, in the town of Falmouth Mackworth Island offers a short, fun looped trail around the island. Though it's not actually an island at all - the small bit of land can be accessed via a causeway at the mouth of the Presumpscot River, just off of Route 1. Arrive and pass the gate house, and head into the parking lot. The trail begins just after that. But, while the trail is fun it's the Fairy village that we REALLY love! Kids of all ages are encouraged to use bits of nature to create houses for the local fairies. While the trail is short, plan on allowing for enough time to hatch some truly creative plans!