Hawk Mountain (1047 ft to 1070 ft, depending on who you trust) is a small mountain in Waterford, Maine, with sweeping views of the Lakes Region and Oxford Hills. Maps and information are available at the Western Foothills Land Trust website. Trails at the Hatch Preserve at Hawk Mountain are open year-round for hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, and we hiked it on a cold late December day, and again recently on a sunny day in March.
The trails are not well-marked (the website delicately described the preserve as a little “wounded”), but I summited and enjoyed the views via an ungainly, but very easy, 1.9 mile loop using what I believed to be the Europe and Cyrus trails, taking about 45 minutes. The fastest way to the top is an approximately 1.4 mile out and back.
The parking area on Hawk Mountain Road is well-maintained, and a kiosk contains a small map, walking sticks to borrow, and reminders to carry out what you have carried in. Past the main parking area/kiosk, there is a small parking area with a few spots next to an ATV trail intersection, with a town of Waterford parks sign. Beware during spring mud season of the short drive on Hawk Mountain Road between the parking areas, which is extraordinarily muddy, and requires four-wheel drive.
In January, there were sled tracks and footprints on the trails, but the paths were empty and climbed gradually up, opening out on views to the east. In March, with the “social distancing” pushing people outside, the trails were more full.
A short walk back west across the ridge leads to the scenic vista on town land overlooking the Oxford foothills, with views across to Pleasant Mountain. I didn’t need snowshoes or trekking poles for this simple hike, but some micro-spikes would have been helpful for traction on the packed, icy descent (an alternative would have been a piece of cardboard and a crash helmet, to slide down).
This is not a very challenging hike, but might be just the size and grade for young children, making it a perfect all-season hike for families in the Lakes Region, with a great picnic spot on top, and big views.