10 Trails Worth Taking
When it comes to hiking, Maine saves the best for last. A summer stroll along a windswept ridge or sea cliff can take the heat off even the warmest August day, but the thrill of kicking your feet through newly fallen leaves and marveling at the seemingly explosive foliage that still clings to the trees can't be beat. Best of all, most of the bugs are gone! These ten itineraries range from easy strolls to serious ascents. Choose the one that fits your schedule and fitness level and get outside and enjoy Maine's spectacular season finale.
This 2,443-foot peak seems to rise right out of the Rangeley Lakes, sandwiched as it is between Mooselookmeguntic and Rangeley Lake proper. Though it's a mid-sized Maine mountain, Bald is relatively easy to climb because the trail starts at a high elevation and is only about a mile long. Nice views can be had from the firetower at the top.
Ship Harbor Nature Trail
One of two fine seaside trails in the Southwest Harbor area, Ship Harbor is a short loop that takes you from Route 102A near Seawall to pink granite ledges on the open Atlantic. The going on the 1.3 mile-walk is easy, the vistas are great, and there's always the chance you'll get to see some birdlife. Warblers are common, and eagles live hereabouts as well.
It's remarkable that islanders on Monhegan have managed to make a world-class trail system that's seventeen miles long on an island that's little more than one square mile. Any one of these paths makes for a good hike, as they all lead somewhere fine. A couple of ideas might be the Cliff Trail, which traverses the island's soaring headlands, or the Cathedral Woods Trail, which takes you through an enchanting grove of old spruce.
The Bigelows — aka the "Bigs" — have been the site of controversy more than once. But the humpbacked quartet of peaks that form the range have always remained high on the list of Maine hikers because they offer nice views of Flagstaff Lake, Sugarloaf Mountain, and the sea of woods all around. Scads of trails scale the rise here — try the Cranberry Peak Trail, which takes you up the peak of the same name at the west end of the range. It's a 3.2-mile route and takes about three hours.
Yet another peak with a receding hairline, Bald Mountain was opened up to the public as part of the Georges Highland Path a few years back. It's a nice climb, the trail leaving Barnstown Road in Camden and scaling the 1,272-foot Camden hill. The going is steep and switches back and forth, but the beautiful view of Penobscot Bay and the surrounding hills is worth the effort.
Howe Brook Trail
A little known gem of a wilderness path in Baxter State Park, Howe Brook Trail connects with the Pogy Notch Trail, which leaves South Branch Pond Campground in the northern part of the park. The trail follows the brook of the same name as it climbs Traveler Mountain. The brook rises and falls in a series of slides, chutes, and pools, and it's remarkably beautiful. The walk is a long one — about three miles to the end of the trail at a picturesque waterfall.
Get a taste of the Hundred Mile Wilderness by trotting up this 2,660-footer just outside of Monson. The climb to the summit is about four miles and will take you the better part of three or four hours, but you'll get to see a cool gorge, Slugundy, and the famous fastness between Monson and Katahdin.
Most people who visit Quoddy Head State Park look at West Quoddy Head, poke around on the shore, and leave thinking they've seen what there is to see. Which is too bad for them, because there's some extraordinary hiking to be done here. Take the trail from the parking area, and you'll quickly understand why they call this part of Maine the Bold Coast. Hundred-foot cliffs soar above a serrated shoreline, and surf booms in sea pockets. The trail follows these cliffs and headlands for two miles, and it's worth doing the whole thing. Loop inland on your return trip, and you'll see a unique bog full of rare and endangered species.
Everyone associates the Lovell region with lakes, but its mountains are nice, too. Sabattus Mountain is a good example. Known for the huge cliffs on its southwestern face, the 1,253-foot peak is easily climbed and immensely rewarding. For little more than a half-hour of work you get to stare out at the western mountains of Maine in all their glory.
Tumbledown's 3,068-foot elevation ranks it in the upper echelon of Maine mountains, and its fine vistas, three peaks, big cliffs, cool pond, and fun climb definitely make the Weld-area massif one of the finer hikes to be found in the state. A popular route is the Brook Trail, the most direct ascent, which is one and a half miles long and passes picture-perfect Tumbledown Pond on its way up. Hard to beat.
Open Road, Big Views
Looking for a way to enjoy the fall colors from the comfort of your vehicle? The Pine Tree State offers hundreds of miles of scenic highways and byways, places where you can sample the foliage and meet some interesting people along the way. We've highlighted eight of our favorites.
Highway to Hope
Barely half a mile north of Moody's Diner in Waldoboro, Route 235 bears off to the north, winding through fields and along ridgetops and past farms that were first cleared by the eighteenth-century German settlers lured to the area with promises of a metropolis that didn't exist. Watch for the sharp left turn (and subsequent great views) above Seven Tree Pond, and be sure to pause to admire the village green in Union. After a short stretch of pavement shared with Route 17, the road heads off on its own again, past Alford Lake, up over hills and down through dales before landing in the tiny but tidy burg of Hope.
Cooks Corner to Land's End
For a trip that begins amid the fast-food and strip malls of Cooks Corner in Brunswick, Route 24 cleans up its act quickly as it drops south through a minor archipelago of linked islands to Land's End. The highway twists and turns through trees thin enough to offer occasional glimpses of water on both sides of the narrow pavement. The famous cribstone bridge that carries the road from Orrs to Bailey islands puts the traveler right into the scenery, along with lobsterboats and saltwater as well as several nice restaurants. The road ends above a cobble beach popular with scuba divers and below the hugely popular Land's End Gift Shop with a panorama of Casco Bay.
Union to Searsmont
Route 131 from Union to Searsmont cuts through the middle of some of the old back-to-the-land territory in Maine, a region popular with 1970s homesteaders who flooded into the state in search of cheap land and simple lives. The highway runs along the foot of Appleton Ridge, and those with a good map might want to take a side road to the top just to admire the absolutely stunning scenery. Most of the homesteaders moved on (or went back to law school), but the rich landscape along 131 through the graceful Saint George River Valley still suggests what lured them in the first place.
Sullivan to Steuben
Travelers east of Ellsworth who decide to follow the state's official scenic highway — Route 182 — between Hancock and Cherryfield are missing one of the best pieces of Down East Maine. Route 1 out of Hancock may no longer include the excitement of the famous Singing Bridge over Sullivan Harbor, but the nearby Sullivan Falls are worth a visit before swooping down to Gouldsboro and back up to Steuben, on the delightfully named Joy Bay. The views across Frenchman Bay at the mountains of Acadia National Park are as good as they get.
Blue Hill to Stonington
Go to Blue Hill for the restaurants and galleries, but continue to Stonington for the ride. Here on the quiet side of Penobscot Bay, Route 15 meanders with the landscape. The stunning view from the top of Caterpillar Hill and the humpbacked Deer Isle Bridge are worth the trip all by themselves. The road-weary can pause at the beach on the right just after the causeway to Big Deer Isle or they can continue into the village of Deer Isle and on to smartly terraced and thoroughly scrappy Stonington, with its working harbor and island-studded vistas.
Machias to Starboard
Just past the University of Maine campus in Machias, Route 92 splits off Route 1 to the right — or to starboard, if you're talking ship-speak. Appropriate, since the lane leads eventually to the tiny community of Starboard after passing through Machiasport and along the beautiful western shore of Machias Bay. Quiet fishing villages, harbor views, and the sea-smoothed "speaking" cobbles of Jasper Beach make the trip well worth the drive.
Greenville to Kokadjo
Bear right at the blinking light in the middle of Greenville and get ready to go exploring. The Lily Bay Road parallels the eastern shore of Moosehead Lake, sometimes at water level and sometimes from ridges offering expansive vistas of the lake and the surrounding forest. Beyond Lily Bay, the road shoots off into the deep woods (remember: pulp trucks always have the right of way) before arriving at Kokadjo, a forest outpost composed of a popular general store, an inn, and a few scattered camps on the west end of First Roach Pond. While admiring the foliage, be ready to greet moose both in the road and along it.
Bethel to the White Mountains
Bethel is both a river town and a mountain community, blessed with the Androscoggin River raging down from nearby New Hampshire and the White Mountains looming overhead. Route 2 west from the town makes the best of both, shadowing the river even as it rises into the western mountains. A left onto Route 113 toward Hastings leads into the heart of Maine's piece of the White Mountain National Forest, as well as giving access to half a dozen great hiking trails. The leaves seem to have an extra glow in these parts, perhaps because there are simply more hardwood trees in the west than there are in the spruce forests of the north.
The Perfect Picnic
Crisp days, clear skies, and fresh breezes. Autumn in Maine practically begs you to get outdoors, whether it's for a hike, a walk in the park, or just resting in your favorite secluded spot. Bring along a blanket, some tasty vittles, and a few refreshments and you have the makings of a perfect fall afternoon. Here are a few ideas for where to make a feast in the great outdoors. But don't wait too long to plan your picnic; some of the best eateries near these spots close up shop when temperatures really start to drop.
This Kittery Point bastion has an enviable view of Portsmouth Harbor, and there's a ninety-acre park on the grounds where you can take in the view, eat, hike, and, if you're especially brave, swim. Stop at Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier (207-439-1030) and grab a mess of bugs on your way there (though you might find it hard to tear yourself away from the eatery's own colorful picnic tables and view).
The great irony about Two Lights State Park is that the two lights that gave the Cape Elizabeth park its name are actually not in the park but down the road a bit. Doesn't much matter. The view here of Casco Bay and the open Atlantic is about as good as it gets. And you can stop at Barbara's Kitchen (207-767-6313) on Cottage Road in South Portland for some excellent sandwiches on your way in.
Any number of exceptional picnicking areas await down this finger of land south of Bath — Popham Beach State Park, Fort Popham, and Fort Baldwin are the obvious ones, and there are plenty of others. Pick up a sandwich at Mae's Café and Bakery (207-442-8577) on Centre Street in Bath and head out on this spectacular peninsula.
Another great old fort, this one an octagonal 1808 blockhouse on the tidal Sheepscot River, and another great place to picnic. Just a skip from one of the most notorious bottlenecks on Route 1, the park is a good stress-relief valve, and you can grab some cheese and crackers at Treats (207-882-6192), a basket of fried seafood and fries at the always excellent Sea Basket (207-882-6581), or a pizza at Sarah's (207-882-7504) on the way there.
One of the best known picnic spots around, Pemaquid Point is home to Pemaquid Point Light, an oft-photographed beacon on the open ocean. The rocks here are fun to scramble on — but be careful of high-surging seas — and you can grab some wine and cheese at Weatherbird (207- 563-8993) in Damariscotta on your way down the peninsula.
Locals use this pocket of a park on Rockport Harbor, but most tourists don't know about it. It offers a great look at one of the more picturesque havens along the coast, and there are a handful of picnic tables set up. Visit the Market Basket (207-236-4371) out on Route 1 for a sandwich, and you're set for an alfresco luncheon of the finest kind.
Picnic tables are set up at the side of the road near this spectacular Penobscot Bay vistas, and there's a pleasant eatery just up the road in Brooksville called Buck's Harbor Market (207-326-8683). Pick up eats there and settle down at Caterpillar Hill for a memorable meal.
Screw Auger Falls
This Grafton Notch State Park staple is a popular picnic spot. The views of the twisting gorge and the Bear River are fine, and you can pick up some good eatables at DiCocoa Marketplace (207-824-6386) in Bethel and then work off the calories on the park's trails afterward if you like.
Just south of the town of Millinocket, River Drivers' Restaurant (207-723-8475) sits right on the Penobscot. Pick up lunch there and enjoy it on the banks of the river, take it to the state picnic area at nearby Dolby Pond, or venture north to Togue Pond at the south entrance of Baxter State Park.
This towering Southwest Harbor precipice is actually very easy to reach, requiring less than a half-mile walk. Not too many people know about it and the fantastic view it has of Echo Lake and the ocean beyond the hills, so you can often have it all to yourself. Visit the village of Southwest Harbor and grab some goodies at the great Little Notch Café (207-244-3357), and you'll be all set.
Fall is one of the best times to sample the 113 public golf courses that have opened in Maine since the sport became popular here during the late nineteenth century. Pros and amateurs alike are welcomed at these clubs, which offer some of the best scenery the state has to offer, from seabreeze-swept fairways to putting greens tucked into the tall pines. What follows is a list of Maine public golf courses, arranged alphabetically by municipality. For further information, consult local chambers of commerce or call the courses directly.
Cedar Springs Golf Course: Bog Road, Albion. 9 holes. 207-437-2073.
Dutch Elm Golf Course: 5 Brimstone Road, Arundel. 18 holes. 207-282-9850.
Fox Ridge Golf Course: 550 Penley Corner Road, Auburn. 18 holes. 207-777-4653.
Prospect Hill Golf Course: 694 South Main Street, Auburn. 18 holes. 207-782-9220.
Bangor Municipal Golf Course: Webster Avenue, Bangor. 27 holes. 207-941-0232.
Hermon Meadows Golf Course: Billings Road, Bangor. 18 holes. 207-848-3741.
Western View Golf Course: Bolton Hill Road, Augusta. 9 holes. 207-622-5309.
Kebo Valley Club: Eagle Lake Road, Bar Harbor.18 holes. 207-288-3000.
Bath Country Club: Whiskeag Road, Bath. 18 holes. 207-442-8411.
Belgrade Lakes Golf Course: West Road, Belgrade. 18 holes. 207-495-4653.
The Links at Outlook: #10 Route 4, Berwick. 18 holes. 207-384- 4653.
Bethel Inn and Country Club: Broad Street, Bethel. 18 holes. 207-824- 2175.
Boothbay Region Country Club: Country Club Road, Boothbay. 18 holes. 207-633-6085.
Pine Hill Golf Club: Brewer Lake Road, Brewer. 9 holes. 207-989-3824.
Bridgton Highlands Country Club: Highland Ridge Road, Bridgton. 18 holes. 207-647- 3491.
Country View Golf Course: Route 7, Brooks. 9 holes. 207-722-3161.
Brunswick Golf Course: River Road, Brunswick. 18 holes. 207-725-8224.
Bucksport Golf Course: Duckcove Road, Bucksport. 9 holes. 207-469-7612.
Lakeview Golf Course: Prairie Road, Burnham. 9 holes. 207-948-5414.
St. Croix Country Club: River Road, Calais. 9 holes. 207-454-8875.
Cape Neddick Golf Course: 650 Shore Road, Cape Neddick. 18 holes. 207-361-2011.
Caribou Country Club: New Sweden Road, Caribou. 9 holes. 207-493-3933.
Sugarloaf Golf Course: 5092 Access Road, Carrabassett Valley. 18 holes. 207-237-2000.
Point Sebago Golf Course: Route 302, Casco. 18 holes. 207-655-2747.
Castine Golf Course: Battle Avenue, Castine. 9 holes. 207-326-8844.
Todd Valley Golf Course: Bacon Road, Charleston. 9 holes. 207-285-7725.
Great Chebeague Golf Club: R.R. 1, Box 470, Chebeague Island. 9 holes. 207-846-9478.
Val Halla Golf Course: 1 Val Halla Road, Cumberland Center. 18 holes. 207-829-2225.
Allen Mountain Golf Course: Burrow Road, Denmark. 9 holes. 207-452- 2282.
Dexter Municipal Golf Course: 35 Sunrise Avenue, Dexter. 9 holes. 207-924-6477.
Foxcroft Golf Course: Foxcroft Center Road, Dover-Foxcroft. 9 holes. 207-564-8887.
White Birches Golf Club: Route 1, Ellsworth. 9 holes. 207-667-3621.
Kennebec Heights Country Club: 1 Fairway Lane, Farmingdale. 18 holes. 207-582-2000.
Sandy River Golf Course: George Thomas Road, Farmington Falls. 9 holes. 207-778-2492.
Freeport Country Club: 2 Old County Road, Freeport. 9 holes. 207-865-4922.
Aroostook Valley Country Club: Russell Road, Fort Fairfield. 18 holes. 207-476-8083.
Fort Kent Golf Course: St. John Road, Fort Kent. 9 holes. 207-834-3149.
Gorham Country Club: 68 McLellan Road, Gorham. 18 holes. 207-839-3490.
Spring Meadows Golf Course: Portland-Lewiston Road, Gray. 18 holes. 207-657-2586.
Piscataquis Country Club: Dover Road, Guilford. 9 holes. 207-876-3203.
Hampden Country Club: Western Avenue, Hampden. 9 holes. 207-862-9999.
Lucerne Golf Club: Route 1A, Holden. 9 holes. 207-843-6282
Woodland Terrace Golf Course: 1251 Bar Harbor Road, Holden. 9 holes. 207-989-3750.
Salmon Falls Golf Course: Salmon Falls Road, Hollis Center. 9 holes. 207-929-5233.
Houlton Community Golf Course: P.O. Box 948, Houlton. 9 holes. 207-532-2662.
Va-Jo-Wa Golf Course: 142 Walker Settlement Road, Island Falls. 18 holes. 207-463-2128.
Great Cove Golf Course: R.R. 1, Box 65, Jonesboro. 9 holes. 207-434-7200.
Kenduskeag Valley Golf Course: R.R. 1, Box 5195, Kenduskeag. 9 holes. 207-884-7330.
Cape Arundel Golf Course: Old River Road, Kennebunkport. 18 holes. 207-967-3494.
Spring Brook Golf Course: Route 202, Leeds. 18 holes. 207-946-5900.
Apple Valley Golf Course: 316 Pinewoods Road, Lewiston. 9 holes. 207-784-9773.
Limestone Country Club: Sawyer Road, Limestone. 9 holes. 207-328-7277.
Green Valley Golf Course: Route 2, Lincoln. 9 holes. 207-732-3006.
Maple Lane Inn and Golf Club: 295 Maple Lane, Livermore Falls. 9 holes. 207-897-6666.
Lake Kezar Country Club: Route 5, Lovell. 18 holes. 207-925-2462.
Birch Point Golf Course: Birch Point Road, Madawaska. 9 holes. 207-895-6957.
Lakewood Golf Course: Route 201, Madison. 18 holes. 207-474-5955.
Mars Hill Country Club: York Road, Mars Hill. 18 holes. 207-425- 4802.
Oakdale Country Club: River Road, Mexico. 9 holes. 207-364-3951.
Hillcrest Golf Course: Westwood Avenue, Millinocket. 9 holes. 207-723-8410.
Katahdin Country Club: Milo. 9 holes. 207-943-2686.
Cobbossee Colony Country Club: Hardscrabble Road, Monmouth. 9 holes. 207-943-8734.
Moose River Golf Course: Route 201, Moose River. 9 holes. 207-668- 4841.
Naples Country Club: Route 114, Naples. 18 holes. 207-693-6424.
Orchard View Golf Course: Old Corinna Road, Newport. 9 holes. 207-368-5600.
Northeast Harbor Golf Course: Sargent Drive, Northeast Harbor.18 holes. 207-276-5335.
Northport Golf Course: 581 Bluff Road, Northport. 9 holes. 207-338-2270.
Turner Highlands Country Club: North Parish Road, North Turner.18 holes. 207-224-7060.
Norway Country Club: Lake Road, Route 118, Norway. 9 holes. 207-743-9840.
Waterville Country Club: Country Club Road, Oakland. 18 holes. 207-465- 9861.
Dunegrass Golf Course: Wild Dunes Way, Old Orchard Beach. 18 holes. 207-934-4513.
Hidden Meadows Golf Course: Route 43, Old Town. 9 holes. 207-827-4779.
Penobscot Valley Country Club: Main Road, Orono. 18 holes. 207-866- 2423.
Rocky Knoll Country Club: 94 River Road, Orrington. 9 holes. 207-989-0109.
Palmyra Golf Course: 147 Lang Hill Road, Palmyra. 18 holes. 207-938-4947.
Paris Hill Country Club: 355 Paris Hill Road, Paris. 9 holes. 207-743-2371.
Golf at Province Lake: Route 153, Parsonsfield. 18 holes. 207-793-4040.
J.W. Parks Golf Course: 94 Hartland Avenue, Pittsfield. 9 holes. 207-487-5545.
Fairlawn Golf Course: R.R. 1, Box 622, Poland. 18 holes. 207-998-4277.
Poland Spring Country Club: Route 26, Poland Spring. 18 holes. 207-998-6002.
Portage Hill Country Club: Route 11, Portage. 9 holes. 207-435-8221.
Riverside Municipal Golf Course: 1158 Riverside Street, Portland. 18 holes. 207-797-3524.
Presque Isle Country Club: 35 Parkhurst Siding Road, Presque Isle.18 holes. 207-764-0430.
Mingo Springs Golf Course: Route 4, Rangeley. 18 holes. 207-864-5021.
Frye Island Golf Course: Frye Island Ferry Landing, Raymond. 9 holes. 207-655-3551.
Rockland Golf Course: 606 Old County Road, Rockland. 18 holes. 207-594-9322.
Goose River Golf Course: 50 Park Street, Rockport. 9 holes. 207-236-8488.
Samoset Resort Golf Course: Waldo Avenue, Rockport. 18 holes. 207-594-1431.
Mount Kineo Golf Course: Kineo Island Road, Rockwood. 9 holes. 207-534-9012.
Biddeford-Saco Country Club: 101 Old Orchard Road, Saco. 18 holes. 207-282-5883.
Deep Brook Golf Course: Route 5, Saco. 9 holes. 207-283-3500.
Sanford Country Club: Country Club Road, Sanford. 18 holes. 207-324-5462.
Nonesuch River Golf Course: 304 Gorham Road, Scarborough. 18 holes. 207-883-0007.
Pleasant Hill Golf Course: 38 Chamberlain Road, Scarborough. 9 holes. 207-883-9340.
Willowdale Golf Course: 52 Willowdale Road, Scarborough. 18 holes. 207-883-9351.
Searsport Pines Golf Course: Mt. Ephraim Road, Searsport. 9 holes. 207-548-2854.
Sebasco Harbor Resort Golf Course: Route 217, Sebasco Estates. 9 holes. 207-389-9060.
Loon's Cove Golf Course: Route 201, Skowhegan. 9 holes. 207-474- 9550.
Sable Oaks Golf Course: 505 Country Club Road, South Portland. 18 holes. 207-775-6257.
South Portland Municipal Golf Course: 155 Wescott Road, South Portland. 9 holes. 207-775-0005.
Causeway Club: Fernald Point Road, Southwest Harbor. 9 holes. 207-244-3780.
Island Country Club: Route 15, Sunset. 9 holes. 207-348-2379.
Bar Harbor Golf Course: Corner of Route 3 and Route 204, Trenton. 18 holes. 207-667-7505.
Natanis Golf Course: Webber Pond Road, Vassalboro. 36 holes. 207-622-3561.
Wawenock Country Club: Route 129, Walpole. 9 holes. 207-563- 3938.
Pine Ridge Golf Course: West River Road, Waterville. 9 holes. 207-873-0474.
Merriland Farm Par 3: 545 Coles Hill Road, Wells. 9 holes. 207-646- 0508.
Rivermeadow Golf Course: 216 Lincoln Street, Westbrook. 9 holes. 207-854-1625.
Sunset Ridge Golf Links: 853 Cumberland Street, Westbrook. 9 holes. 207-854-9463.
Twin Falls Golf Course: 364 Spring Street, Westbrook. 9 holes. 207-854-5397.
Wilson Lake Country Club: Route 156,Weld Road, Wilton. 9 holes. 207-645-2016.
Grindstone Neck Golf Course: Grindstone Neck, Winter Harbor. 9 holes. 207-963-7760.
The Ledges Golf Course: Route 91, York. 18 holes. 207-351-3000.