Tucked between the Pleasant Hill neighborhood and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Scarborough’s Pleasant Hill Preserve is 135 acres of land, with over 1.5 miles of trails, held and maintained by the Scarborough Land Trust (SLT). No hunting or bicycles are allowed on the trails, dogs must be leashed, and the .25 mile Eleanor’s Trail is ADA accessible. The trailhead, at 270 Pleasant Hill Road in Scarborough, has year-round parking and a map kiosk.
SLT maintains a map on their website- this does not include the newer Swallows Field trail, which crosses the field from the barn on the west side, connecting with Monty’s Trail. For those who really like to get in the weeds on natural history, SLT also has a lengthy, in-depth Natural Resources Inventory regarding Pleasant Hill Preserve available on their site, with history, geology, and species information.
I explored this preserve on a chilly January day, and the trails and boardwalks were icy, but very navigable with just the tread of good boots. Blue jays and chickadees made for a raucous early morning chorus, but I didn’t see much other wildlife on this day. According to SLT’s website, over 100 species of bird frequent this area. Due to the amount of frozen water (this is a marsh area, after all), those with mobility issues may want to use a set of poles in the winter. I made a 1.9 mile lollipop loop, going on Eleanor’s Trail and counterclockwise on Monty’s Trail, taking a little less than forty minutes – this is definitely a doable lunch break hike.