Hamilton Audobon Sanctuary (West Bath, ME)

Mud flats of Back Cove from Red Trail, Hamilton Audobon Sanctuary, West Bath, Maine

The Hamilton Audobon Sanctuary, located near Foster Point in West Bath, Maine, contains about 93 acres of forest, marshes, and mud flats, with miles of looping trails surrounded by wide views of the New Meadows River and its Back Cove. Parking is located at 681 Fosters Point Road in West Bath, where there is a lot, map kiosk and composting toilet, open each day from dawn to dusk. Check out the map and guide at Audobon’s website (Note: dogs are not allowed at Hamilton Audobon). These trails are level, well-marked, and easy.

Light through the forest, Hamilton Audobon Sanctuary, West Bath, Maine

The sanctuary is named after Millicent Hamilton, who lived on the land on which it now sits until her 1986 death, and who gave the property to the Maine Audobon Society. I started the Red Trail in a wide field with views of the river and the chattering sound of chickadees, blue jays, and woodpeckers, the trail marked by posts along the margins of the field. A foot bridge leads across a creek to the Blue Trail, which starts in a crowded wood, making its way to Back Cove Point. I had the trail mostly to myself, and the shoreline was quiet and empty with the exception of a few early morning clamdiggers on the flats.

Back Cove grasses, Hamilton Audobon Sanctuary, West Bath, Maine

A sequence of benches is available along the trail skirting the Back Cove, with views of the water, for rest and reflection. To make a loop, I just kept taking lefts, keeping the water to my left side, and soon reached the Green Trail, at the eastern end of the sanctuary. Muddy portions of the trail were equipped with little boardwalks for traversing muddy spots. On the far east side of the preserve, a narrow channel bounds the trail, with views across to Williams Island.

Back Cove, Hamilton Audobon Sanctuary, West Bath, Maine

The trail then turns back west, and this wide and flat portion of the Green Trail leads back through the connecting trails to the parking lot. I walked about 3 miles around the perimeter of the sanctuary via the Red, Blue, and Green Trails in a little over an hour. One advantage to these concentric loops is the ability to create your own progressively more difficult (or leisurely) hikes, particularly with kids.

View of Williams Island, Hamilton Audobon Sanctuary, West Bath, Maine

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