Maine January 16, 2017
The Hidden Park That Will Make You Feel Like You’ve Discovered Maine’s Best Kept Secret
When many folks think about Maine’s outdoors, they immediately think of Acadia National Park. And, while it’s one of the most incredible nature features of our state, it also has some pretty great company. Places like our state forest (
Durham State Forest), state memorial ( Colburn House State Memorial), and state wildlife management area ( Pond Farm State Wildlife Management Area) are also beautiful places to spend some time. But, one of our absolute favorite parks sometimes flies right under the radar. We recommend a journey to Mount Blue State Park in Western Maine.
Located in mountainous western Maine, Mt. Blue State Park is the largest state park we have. It's named for the spruce that inhabit the granite slopes of Mt. Blue.
The area encompasses just about 8,000 acres. It is separated into two sections by Webb Lake, which makes it even more than reasonable to spend a few days exploring all it has to offer.
In addition to views of Mt. Blue and the surrounding mountains, you'll find an extensive network of trails, a sandy beach, camping area, boat launch and picnic area.
One of the obvious choices for your first activity in the park is a hike up its namesake, Mt. Blue.
While the hike is relatively short at about 3 miles round trip, the journey can be strenuous so make sure you're up to it. You can do it year-round, but note that the road leading to the parking lot will be closed in the winter, so you'll have to tack on an additional 2.5-mile hike to reach the parking lot trailhead.
Otherwise, begin the trip by making your way to Mt. Blue Road.
Follow it for 2.5 miles, bearing right at the logging road about 1.8 miles from the main fork. At the end, you'll find parking and the trailhead.
About a mile from the trailhead you'll come to a former fire warden’s cabin where you can take a rest. When you reach the summit, you'll find what's left of an old fire tower.
While the journey up is challenging at times, the view from the summit is awe-inspiring. On a clear day, you'll see the entire Weld area, including much of the the park and Webb Lake.
Mt. Blue is 3,187 feet tall, which doesn't qualify it as the tallest in the area, but it's stunning nonetheless. It's almost as tall as Little and Big Jackson Mountains to the north and just a bit taller than Tumbledown Mountain to the west.
Hiking not your thing? Fear not! There are tons more activities to keep yourself busy in the park. Webb Lake splits the area and is perfect for boating, swimming or simply watching nature.
Catch a sunset and just maybe you'll spot a moose!
Or, maybe a loon.
Prefer winter exploration? Not a problem! Mt. Blue State Park is even better in the snow.
Access to the winter trails is located at the Center Hill Parking area next to headquarters.
If you want to snowshoe, there are two trails for you to explore: Rock Lookout Trail and Center Hill Trail. Neither is terribly challenging, but Rock Lookout Trail is just a bit easier.
Both trails start at the same trailhead and follow the same route for for a while. Eventually, they split, but each will lead you to a scenic overlook.
Prefer cross-country skiing? You're in luck! There are SIX trails in total! While they range in difficulty, from about a half-mile to ten-miles in length, each will allow you to explore some of the more remote-feeling regions of the park.
Central Trail (0.5 miles, marked in yellow): Starting at park headquarters, this trail connects to all others, except the pine trail. It leaves the parking area through an apple orchard and follows an old power line for a short distance.
Birch Trail (2 miles, marked in blue): Leaving the Central Trail, the Birch Trail crosses the road into a wood yard, and then loops around a ridge through hardwood and evergreen forests.
Maple Trail (10 miles, marked in red): This extensive trail traverses a wide variety of terrain and passes through fields, old farmlands, and several types of forest. Plan ahead and allow plenty of time to complete this long loop, or use the suggested turnaround points for shorter trips.
Fox Trail (0.5 miles, marked in orange): This short loop off the Central Trail also connects with the Moose Trail. It traverses a section of old farmland now grown up into trees.
Moose Trail (1 mile, marked in green): Leaves and returns to the Central Trail. The Moose Trail tours a harvested hardwood forest and a red pine plantation.
Pine Trail (1 mile, marked in brown): Two short loops that leave from the Moose Trail. Travel in a clockwise direction to avoid steep grades.
(NOTE: These excellent trail descriptions come from
Check them out for more information.)
You'll also have the opportunity to use your ATV and snowmobile in the park. While a source of some contention among those who would prefer the 25 miles of trail be separated into motorized and non-motorized, you'll find that they're maintained fairly well.
Whatever it is you prefer to do outside, make sure you give Mt. Blue State Park a visit. There are so many activities you can enjoy in every single season Maine has to offer.
Want to explore some other state parks? Check out a list of some of our favorites by