Grab your boots, your snowshoes, and your cross-country skis. These serene, super-scenic Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserves offer easygoing ways to embrace the snowy season — away from the crowds. For more, go to mcht.org/preserves.
Just minutes from bustling Camden and Rockland, this former dairy farm is the ideal spot for a low-key, family-friendly hike, walk, or jaunt on skis. The wide, level 1 ½ -mile trail skirts yawning pastures before heading into the spruce-fir woods full of sugar maples, towering pines, and scads of century-old stone walls and foundations. “You get this really nice variation in landscapes,” says MCHT regional steward Aaron Englander. Along the way, you’ll catch views of Bald Mountain and likely see tracks of the resident deer, foxes, and porcupines.
Though MCHT just opened this 927-acre preserve on the eastern edge of the Schoodic Peninsula last summer, it has long been a popular hiking and fishing haven for locals. And it’s easy to see why. From the entrance just north of Prospect Harbor, 2½ miles of intersecting loop trails follow an evergreen-lined meadow, wind through wetland forests, and lead to the namesake pond, a favorite freshwater fishing hole for anglers looking to reel in largemouth bass. Watch for deer, moose, and bobcats, as well as the eagles and ospreys that nest there.
If you’re up for a snowshoeing or Nordic skiing expedition don’t miss Witherle Woods, an 185-acre forested preserve right on the edge of downtown Castine. A group of local volunteers typically groom the trails on a regular basis. The property offers nearly seven miles of trails that loop around former batteries and lookouts used by troops from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. MCHT steward Caleb Jackson recommends the Indian Trail, a rugged quarter-mile course with water views. Be sure to check out the Blockhouse Point overlook, which affords expansive looks of Penobscot Bay, with Islesboro, the Camden Hills, and Sears island in the distance.
Along the farthest reaches of the rugged Down East coast, you can get a tranquil little hike in at Bog Brook Cove Preserve. From the south entrance in Cutler, pick up the Norse Pond Loop, a 3-mile lollipop-shaped trail that wends through stands of aspen, white birch, spruce firs, and along the shore of the 11-acre pond., where you can steal glimpses of the panoramic views of Canada’s Grand Manan Island. “With so many evergreens, it almost has a cozy feeling,” says MCHT regional steward Melissa Lee.
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Have you visited one of Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s 140 preserves? Share a story about your visit at mcht.org/go/favorite-preserve, and MCHT will send you an insider guide to preserves and a sticker — and be entered to win an MCHT hat!