A fantastic resource for hiking is the Maine Trail Finder: Maine has hundreds of trails, from coast to mountains to north woods, managed by a jumble of land trusts, conservation groups, and state and federal agencies. At first the Maine Trail Finder only featured a few dozen trails, mostly in Franklin County. Since then, the site’s coverage has grown to span the whole state. This spring, the site got a fantastic upgrade and now has a bevy of new features for hikers of all capability levels.
In addition, open for all-year enjoyment (from summer in boots to winter in snowshoes), there are several hiking trails that are a short drive from the house:
The Bold Coast, Boot Cove and Hamilton Cove trails skirt along the edge of rugged ocean cliffs and scenic vistas.
Middle River Park Trail – St. Regis Park on the Middle River was once pasture land for animals and later a family farm. The park now provides a natural escape for hiking, picnicking, wildlife observation, paddling, and winter sports right in the middle of Machias. 1.2 miles,easy, no fee.
Machias River Preserve – The Machias River is one of the great rivers in Downeast Maine. Downeast Coastal Conservancy’s trails allow hikers miles of forest and river frontage to hike. The river is steeped in local history and evidence of past logging history can be seen in structures in the river. 5 miles, moderate, no fee.
Down East Sunrise Trail – This 96-mile multi-use, scenic rail trail runs along the entire Downeast coastal area connecting multiple scenic conservation areas, intersecting Downeast salmon rivers, and providing year-round recreation opportunities. 96 miles, easy, multi-use trail, no fee.
Roque Bluffs State Park – Roque Bluffs State Park provides visitors with a great diversity of coastal landscapes to enjoy in 274 acres on Schoppee Point. A beautiful, half-mile crescent of sand and pebbles along Englishman Bay is backed by the shallow waters of Simpson Pond. 3.1 miles, easy to moderate, day use fee $6.00, (x-country)
Eastern Knubble – A trail runs through this 31-acre Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserve from the scenic harbor village of Cutler to a cobble beach and historic silver and copper mines. 1.4 miles, moderate, no fee.
Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land – Offering a taste of wilderness in downeast Maine along the famous Bold Coast, Cutler Coast Public Lands is a 12,334-acre expanse of a variety of ecosystems including 4.5 miles of headlands overlooking the Bay of Fundy. 9.6 miles, advanced to strenuous, no fee.
Ingersoll Point Trail – “Just another slice of paradise, wonderful job.” Each trail offers a different experience and it’s easy to spend several hours hiking and enjoying the view from the beach. 3.4 miles, moderate, no fee.
Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge – Moosehorn NWR (Edmunds) covers more than 8,771 acres, with more than 10 miles of dirt trails and a wheel-chair accessible trail. The refuge provides visitors with exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities. 13.6 miles,easy, no fee. The Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of two units. One, at Baring just three miles north of Calais, has 16,080 acres. The other, at Edmunds between Whiting and Dennysville, is 6,665 acres in size. The Refuge offers its visitors more than 50 miles of roads and trails which are closed to vehicle traffic but open to hiking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The Refuge is a breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife including the bald eagle, osprey, Canada geese, and ducks. The American woodcock is studied and managed here.
Bog Brook Cove Preserve – This 1,700-acre preserve lies at the heart of Maine’s Bold Coast, which stretches from Western Head in Cutler to Quoddy Head in Lubec. 5.8 miles, easy to advanced, no fee, x-country skiing.
Cobscook Bay Wildlife – This peninsula in Cobscook Bay can be explored on a 1.5 mile forested loop hiking trail, or a 3 mile round trip on a grassy lane through forest, old fields and orchards. 4.5 miles, moderate, no fee, x-country skiing.
Shackford Head in Eastport offers a hilly peninsula jutting into Cobscook Bay with nearly three miles of craggy shoreline which is passable at low tide, particularly from the Broad Cove side. The main trail from the parking area to the “Viewpoint” is about a mile, and three-year-olds have made it look easy. From the Viewpoint you’ll have a panorama from the “Old Friar” headland on Campobello at your left to Lubec with its church-steepled hilltop straight ahead and then a sweep of Cobscook Bay, North Lubec and a hint of Perry and Pembroke at your right.
Great Wass Island: You can get there by crossing the bridge from Jonesport to Beals Island (through Beals and over a causeway). Take the dirt road that’s on the right to Black Duck Cove (about 1.5 miles) and you’ll see the parking lot on the left. Two trails begin together at the parking lot, then diverge 100 yards into the woods. The Mud Hole trail (1.5 miles) soon follows a lovely long fjord, leading eventually to spectacular views of neighboring islands. The Little Cape Point trail (2 miles) winds through deep moss-covered spruce and fir forests. Open ledges of pink granite offer views of bogs complete with a bog “bridge” allowing visitors to walk through a rich swamp without harming its insectivorous pitcher and sundew plants. You come out on another vista of the islands and weatherworn ledges.