Blueberry Ledges

Morning light, Abol Stream Trail, Baxter State Park, ME

Some trails at Baxter State Park are quieter than others, and Blueberry Ledges, on the south side of the park, approximately midway between Katahdin Stream Campground and Abol Beach, is a beautiful spot you just might have all to yourself. Appalachian Trail (AT) thru-hikers this close to Katahdin are unlikely to take side trails, and day-hikers are often focused on the more robust peaks to the north and east. The lollipop loop trail to Blueberry Ledges from the trailhead at the end of Abol Beach Road is a 6.6 mile hike (if you take the side trails like I did), using the Abol Stream Trail to briefly leave the Park, then pick up the Appalachian Trail (AT) northbound on the way out, and Abol Pond Trail on the return. On a bright mid-September morning, I used this route recommended by the book Hiking Maine’s Baxter State Park. The Blueberry Ledges are also accessible from the north by using the AT southbound from the Park Tote Road near Katahdin Stream Campground, an out-and-back hike of about three miles each way. The trails are all on the downloadable Kidney-Daicey map from Baxter State Park, and in my pack, as usual, was the durable Map Adventures’ Katahdin Baxter State Park Waterproof Trail Map.

Mount Katahdin from Abol Stream Trail, Baxter State Park, ME

I began by crossing the small bridge at the outlet of Abol Pond, following the trail along a wide, wooded floor dotted with colorful late-season mushrooms. The path rises on an esker above Abol Stream. A little over a quarter mile in, there’s a short side path along the stream, which dead-ends at a robust beaver dam, and after about .4 miles, a small sign-in kiosk for hikers. At about .7 and 1.1 miles are more turnouts with excellent views of Katahdin’s bulk rising clear and crisp over multi-colored marsh grasses. The trail at this point is an old woods road bounded by sweet fern and pine, and serenaded by the chattering of red squirrels and jays.

Appalachian Trail northbound near Abol Pond Trail, Baxter State Park, ME

As the marsh opened up wide to the right, I reached the junction with the Appalachian Trail and turned right, reaching to another kiosk and the re-entry to Baxter State Park, where a friendly Ranger awaited inbound entries off the Appalachian Trail, which he said had slowed for the season, with clumps of hikers every now and again making their last push to Katahdin. I took my leave and continued north, turning right (left would take you out to Abol Bridge) at an intersection after about 1.5 miles to stay on the AT, moving up through long, thin white birches. A fire danger sign at the intersection with the Abol Pond Trail yields a clue to a likely reason for the thin forest bounding the trail, as a 45-acre wildfire burned its way through here in May 2020.

Waterfall on Katahdin Stream south of Blueberry Ledges, Baxter State Park, ME

A massive boulder looking like a giant’s tooth sat to the right of the trail, and erratics that size and smaller peeked through the small trees on either side of the path, remnants of a glacial past. A little before two miles, I started hearing rushing water to the left and followed a small side trail towards the sound, finding some small Katahdin Stream waterfalls in what would be a nice place to dip in on a hot day. I returned to a trail that began to move uphill, then levelled out on a tree-lined ridge, with more side trails at about 2.6 miles and 2.8 miles leading down to waterfalls, with rocks treacherously slick from runoff, morning dew, spray, and algae.

Ledges off Appalachian Trail south of Blueberry Ledges, Baxter State Park, ME

As I approached the Blueberry Ledges spur trail, the reason for its name became immediately apparent, with wide expenses of exposed rock covered in berry bushes (to my admittedly untrained eye, they appeared however to primarily be huckleberry bushes, rather than blueberries, a guess I later confirmed through the Picture This application). Sparrows, chickadees, and red squirrels bounced around, feeding on the berries. The apex of the ridge led to a trail gently sloping downhill to the left, flowing to Katahdin Stream, lined by full berry bushes. These granite ledges, flat and sunny, bounded by berries, make for a perfect picnic spot. From here, you can listen to the birds and the rushing stream and enjoy the beautiful views across and down the stream.

Pool before dropoff on Katahdin Stream, Blueberry Ledges, Baxter State Park, ME

I returned downhill on the AT and turned left this time to complete the loop on the Abol Pond Trail. The path started with a gradual uphill climb before leveling out and becoming a narrow path through the deciduous forest. I then moved downhill over the rolling terrain, passing a woodland pond to the left, which sat improbably above the trail, thanks to a carefully woven web of branches, each bearing the trademark conical ends of beaver-chewed wood.

Blueberry Ledges, Baxter State Park, ME

After a short downhill run, the trail changed to a darker green, with more conifers lining its edges. I crossed the slippery Abol Stream, inadvertently dunking my trail runners, just before emerging onto Abol Beach Road. The trail itself continued across to connect with the Kettle Pond Trail, but I turned right and went back to my car, conveniently parked at the picnic area at Abol Beach, completing the easy loop in about 2 hours and 15 minutes. This is, however, a hike with plenty of spots to stop and picnic, explore, pick blueberries, or cool off in a chilly stream, and can easily be made into a full day.

Fat, ripe huckleberries on “Blueberry” Ledges, Baxter State Park, ME

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Schiller Coastal Studies Center Trails (Harpswell)

Spruce Fir-Forest Trail, Bowdoin’s Schiller Coastal Studies Center, Harpswell, ME

Schiller Coastal Studies Center, a 118 acre preserve on Harpswell’s Orrs Island, is owned by Bowdoin College, with trails made open to the public (foot traffic only, dogs on leash) from dawn to dusk. We discovered this special place using Maine Trailfinder, and did an early September hike of just under 3 miles, seeing most of the peninsula in under an hour-and-a-half through a long loop using the Spruce Fir-Forest Trail, Dipper Cove Path, Pine Needle Path, Brewer Cove Trail, Long Cove Loop, and Stone Wall Walk. We planned and hiked this loop using the excellent printable map available on the Schiller Coastal Studies website, as well as at an information kiosk at the small parking area off Bayview Road (it’s hard to see, due to the map’s colors, but the Long Cove Loop does connect to the Stone Wall Walk to complete the circle).

Harpswell Sound by Dipper Path, Bowdoin’s Schiller Coastal Studies Center, Harpswell, ME

We started by walking south on Bayview Road, turning right (west) onto the blue-blazed Spruce Fir-Forest Trail. This trail descended quickly through its namesake forest to Dipper Cove on Harpswell Sound, meeting the Dipper Cove Path (green blazes) to head north along the shoreline, with glimpses of the water peeking through the sunlit trees. We enjoyed broader high tide views from the rocky shore of the emerald water and Wyer Island. According to Schiller Coastal Studies’ trail guide, the footpath to access Wyer Island is open at low tide only. The descent to the shore and the return climb along the Dipper Cove Path are the only real elevation along this loop.

Terminus of Pine Needle Path, Bowdoin’s Schiller Coastal Studies Center, Harpswell, ME

We moved through the sunny campus along the road to rejoin the Pine Needle Path to the point of the peninsula, where a rocky promontory guarded the entrance to Brewer Cove. Several students could be seen moving around the quiet campus. This amazing coastal property was deeded to Bowdoin College in 1981 by William (a Bowdoin graduate) and Irma Thalheimer, who continued to reside in the farmhouse there until their respective deaths in 1986 and 1994. The Center is named for Philip Schiller and Kim Gassett-Schiller, who more recently donated $10 million for laboratory and facility construction.

Late afternoon light, Brewer Cove Trail, Bowdoin’s Schiller Coastal Studies Center, Harpswell, ME

A chair tucked into a large bush gripping the rocks appeared to be a quiet, secret study spot, seen only by mergansers gliding by across the flat surface of Brewer Cove. We returned south, briefly retracing our steps to get onto the Brewer Cove Trail (blue blazes), which skirted the bottom of the cove, then headed north at a stone wall. The Brewer Cove Trail hugged tight to the small ridge along the way to Dog’s Head, with views down to the sheltered waters of Brewer Cove throughout, past twisted cedar trees.

Dog’s Head views, Long Cove Loop, Bowdoin’s Schiller Coastal Studies Center, Harpswell, ME

At the point of this peninsula, where the Brewer Cove Trail gives way to the Long Cove Loop (yellow blazes), a bench looks out over Dog’s Head and Harpswell Sound, where gulls, cormorants, and mergansers competed for territory. Here, we saw a small group of hikers heading back to the trailhead in the late-afternoon light. We paused briefly to enjoy the ocean views. The walk south along Long Cove seemed familiar, and looking at the map, it became apparent why – the Schiller Coastal Studies trails lie immediately across the Cove from the Devil’s Back Area Trails, which I explored previously on an unseasonably warm winter’s day. At a rocky open area in the trees, we heard, then saw, a pair of osprey wheeling overhead.

Bright yellow and green ferns, Bowdoin’s Schiller Coastal Studies Center, Harpswell, ME

We headed uphill through evergreens and brightly colored changing ferns to pick up the Stone Wall Walk, the last leg of our loop. This trail passed a large section of blowdown trees and then moved through open fields. As we moved into the forest on the home stretch, I caught sight of a porcupine making its way out of the fields and across the trail. At our approach, it turned away from us, raising its tail toward us to telegraph its willingness to protect itself. The porcupine then lumbered through the pines, and made its way quickly up a tree, watching us from its perch as we walked back to the parking area.

Porcupine on Stone Wall Walk, Bowdoin’s Schiller Coastal Studies Center, Harpswell, ME

Winnick Woods Long Loop

Winnick Woods, Cape Elizabeth, ME

Winnick Woods is a 71 acre parcel of land owned by the Town of Cape Elizabeth, part of the Cape Elizabeth Greenbelt, which has a page with maps and a description. The trailhead is at a small gravel parking area with a map kiosk and space for eight vehicles off Sawyer Road. Be forewarned – the maps, including the ones posted along the trail, are not good ones. I used AllTrails to navigate an easy 3.8-mile Winnick Woods Long Loop that covered most of the preserve, and used the Cross Hill Trails to extend the hike, which took about an hour and forty minutes, with plenty of time to stop and examine the varied flora.

Stagnant pond, Winnick Woods, Cape Elizabeth, ME

This winds past some adjoining backyards, follows power lines in places, and crosses Cross Hill Road twice, but stays on established trails. Like many trails designed for mountain bikes, there are multiple twists and turns and intersections to maximize mileage and track length, which can be confusing for hikers and bikers alike. We encountered many mountain bikers and stepped briefly off the path to allow them to pass. The trail was also populated by trail runners and dog walkers.

Single-track through junipers on Winnick Woods Long Loop, Cape Elizabeth, ME

The trail begins with a wooded path (the White Trail), opening on a large meadow, where we saw (and heard) a large red-tailed hawk patrolling the skies above. We then turned left onto the Yellow Trail, which crosses the north side of a small, stagnant pond, and passes behind a neighborhood through a mixed forest. Throughout the early September hike, we saw a wide variety of berries, trees, shrubs, late summer flowers, colorful mushrooms, and birds. Regarding the fern family alone, we identified bracken fern, cinnamon fern, eastern hay-scented fern, Japanese painted fern, and Christmas fern. Nuthatches and brown creepers serenaded the woods and foraged along the tree trunks.

Winnick Woods Long Loop, Cape Elizabeth, ME

The marshy area to the east of the loop signals a move to higher ground along power lines, and the beginning of the Cross Hill Trails, lined with juniper and wildflowers. Here, a cacophony of catbird sounds greeted us in the lower-lying areas, before turning west and north to return to the Winnick Woods Trails, where the forest opens up to sunlight. A flat, easy walk brought us back to the start of the hike.

Winnick Woods Long Loop, Cape Elizabeth, ME

Stroudwater Trail

Stroudwater River, Stroudwater Trail, Portland, ME

Stroudwater Trail, part of Portland Trails’ extensive network, is a 3.3 mile one-way (6.6 mile out-and-back) path beginning at Rivers’ Edge Drive, off outer Congress Street, that primarily follows the slow, muddy, meandering Stroudwater River where Portland meets Westbrook, crosses Spring Street, and ends at Smiling Hill Farm. This trail is popular with trail runners and dog walkers. The full trail (see Portland Trails’ page) is unavailable from November 1 to April 1, as the area west from Portland’s Blueberry Road to Westbrook’s Cardinal Street is closed in the winter as a deeryard to provide a winter habitat for these animals.

Stroudwater Trail, Portland, ME

Stroudwater Trail is an island of green in a fairly developed area of Maine, and the sounds and smells of industry and transit permeate much of the walk. The trail crosses underneath I-95, and is flown over by Jetport air traffic, but still maintains intervals of peace and quiet. On a late June day, we saw a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey vertical takeoff/landing plane doing test flights overhead.

USMC Osprey flying over Stroudwater Trail, Portland, ME

The Rivers’ Edge Drive lot is very small, and parking in the surrounding neighborhood is unauthorized. Parking abounds on Hutchins Drive, but so do shifty characters waiting in idling cars, as this remote Portland spot is apparently a place frequented by men seeking brief, anonymous interludes with other men. Thankfully, this pursuit is likely harmless to other hikers and walkers. The trail itself is relatively easy and shaded, with switchbacks, stairs, and hills in spots, traveling through varied forest terrain, boardwalk bridges, and the grassy open areas created by power lines.

Stroudwater Trail, Portland, ME

A sign along the river marks the future location of a pedestrian bridge across the Stroudwater. Birds and seasonal wildflowers abound, particularly by the banks of the river. Unfortunately, insects also flourish in the late spring, so wear appropriate clothing or repellent. While Stroudwater Trail is not sufficiently remote to separate oneself from the bustle of modern life, for those working nearby or stranded at the Jetport, this easy trail presents a good way to get outside for a lunch break or a flight delay.

Stroudwater Trail, Portland, ME

McGaffey Mountain

A Trail to summit of McGaffey Mountain.

McGaffey Mountain (1,288 ft), named for 19th century Mount Vernon resident Charles McGaffey, is the highest point in Kennebec County, and the trail to its wooded summit shares a Kennebec Highlands parking area in Rome with the trail to Round Top Mountain. The “A” Trail, a multi-use trail, diverges from the trail to Round Top a little less than a quarter mile in, in an unsigned left turn (Round Top Trail, however, is marked). It was quiet on the early July morning I visited, and I only saw two others, who were riding mountain bikes.

Flora along the A Trail, McGaffey Mountain, Rome, ME

I navigated using AllTrails, but a printable trail map is available from the 7 Lakes Alliance, which maintains the trails. A map is also inside the Maine Mountain Guide. AllTrails listed this hike as “Hard,” which relates to the distance (9.6 miles) and time, rather than the elevation. The A Trail is mostly unmarked, but provides a clear path, shared by mountain bikes. Like any mixed-used trail, it is graded relatively flat, and made to move quickly. At just under a mile, the trail crosses a logging road or ATV trail, and at about 1.3 miles, another old logging road, and passes over a moss-covered brook.

Viewpoint from A Trail, McGaffey Mountain, Rome, ME

The series of switchbacks heading up the mountain coincided with the beginning of hermit thrush songs. At about 3.3 miles, there is an open overlook looking east over Long Pond. The trail proceeds over rolling terrain, including sunlit boulders and blueberries, until reaching the summit, marked by the wooden handle of a tool protruding from a rock cairn.

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Reid State Park Loop

East Beach, Reid State Park, Georgetown, ME

Reid State Park in Georgetown, Maine is at the southeast corner of the long coastal peninsula formed by the Kennebec River to the west and the Sheepscot River to the east. In 2015, Reid’s popular beaches were named #1 in New England for surfing by the Boston Globe. The fee for day use of Reid State Park, payable at the entry gate, is $6 for Maine residents, $8 for non-residents, and $2 for non-resident seniors. We visited at the tail-end of the winter season, enjoying the peace and quiet. As the parking lot at Todd’s Point was not yet open, we parked by the East Beach, and began our hike there, moving in an easy 4.8 mile clockwise loop covering Reid State Park’s best features in about two hours. The park does have a map, accessible from a link on the state park website. This map, though no doubt made available by a dedicated public servant, is terrible for hiking. First, know that the official map is upside-down, meaning north is at the bottom. Additionally, no trails are listed. Below is a screenshot of the correctly-oriented All Trails route we took, with helpful labels added by daughter.

The East Beach has a group picnic site overlooking the ocean, with a large shelter from the sun or inclement weather. Paths connect picnic sites, but to start our hike, we walked south along Griffith’s Head Road, crossing a small tidal inlet of the Sheepscot, where a red-breasted merganser rode the current foraging for food. We quickly arrived at Griffith Head, with the buildings shuttered for the winter (note: a pit toilet here was the only open winter bathroom). We walked down a stone staircase to Mile Beach, and the sun, sea air, and the sound of the waves filled the next mile of our walk along the sand.

Mile Beach from Griffith Head, Reid State Park, Georgetown, ME

The rocky promentory of Todd’s Point rises above the water, with a short climb yielding great views in all directions. Here, the bathing facilities were shuttered, as well, with the empty parking lots between Mile Beach and Half Mile Beach roped off until the summer season. We looked briefly at Half Mile Beach, then walked behind the dunes on a spur trail between the beach and the Little River, emerging with a long view towards Popham Beach.

Half Mile Beach, Reid State Park, Georgetown, ME
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Whiskeag and Thorne Head Loop (Bath, ME)

Bridge across railroad tracks at Oak Grove Cemetery on Whiskeag Trail, Bath, ME

Thorne Head, the northern portion of Bath extending into the confluence of Whiskeag Creek and the Kennebec River, can be reached by foot from downtown Bath, over a Bath Trails and Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT) network that is surprisingly wild for Midcoast Maine. On the first day of May, I created a 9.4 mile lollipop loop hike incorporating the Whiskeag Trail (see map here), Thorne Head Preserve’s Narrows Trail, Trail Connector, Overlook Trail, Ravine Trail (see map here), and an unmarked, unmaintained path leading back to the Whiskeag Trail, for a little over three hours of forest and water views and birds. All portions of the trails described are open from dawn to dusk, and leashed dogs are allowed. While the word sounds similar to “whiskey,” according to Bath Trails the trail takes its name from an Abenaki word meaning “a creek that runs nearly dry at low tides.” The Whiskeag Trail can be accessed from multiple points, including KELT’s Thorne Head Preserve, Sewall Woods, Oak Grove Cemetery, and McMann Athletic Fields. I chose to depart from the southern terminus, at the Bath YMCA, 305 Centre Street, where there is plenty of parking. The flat, wide pine-covered trail marked with blue blazes starts behind the YMCA and moves over a small ridge, where I heard the welcome morning call of a hermit thrush.

Beaver dam, Whiskeag Creek, on Whiskeag Trail, Bath, ME

Shortly after a marshy area, the Whiskeag Trail emerges at Congress Street at a pedestrian crosswalk by the Edward J McMann outdoor recreation area. The trail skirts the east side of the baseball diamond, then passes back into the woods. Across Old Brunswick Road, the trail curves left through Oak Grove Cemetery, crossing the railroad tracks over an attractive bridge dedicated to John C. “Jack” Hart, Jr. A short distance after the bridge, follow a small blue sign on the left marking the Whiskeag Trail, which winds down to Whiskeag Creek through a series of switchbacks. Bikes are allowed on this trail, and their frequent use can be seen through tracks in the spring mud. Here, the quiet creek was regulated by a sturdy beaver dam, and wider portions gave way to a marsh, where red-winged blackbirds called, and Canada geese sailed lazily away from my footfalls on shore.

Whiskeag Creek, Bath, ME

A mossy cliff and rock face marked the crossing of power lines, and in this gap sat a bench overlooking the creek. The spring return of birds made the Whiskeag marsh an improbably tableau, reminiscent of a children’s picture book, where geese, cormorants, herons, and ducks assembled in groups for identification. As the Whiskeag Creek got closer to mixing with the Kennebec, it grew flatter and wider. By overhanging rocks I noticed a safety feature of the trail, brightly marked alphanumeric emergency cards spaced out along the trail to tell someone in a medical emergency where they are, and how to communicate that quickly to emergency services.

Whiskeag Creek, Bath, ME

The trail then moves back inland through a pine and oak forest, winding across small plank bridges and over and around streams and vernal pools. A brief climb up and across a ridge by power lines takes the trail behind the Bath Public Works, then down and across Oak Grove Avenue. The Whiskeag Trail narrows and moves through a right-of-way next to residential properties, and then along the edge of a large horse farm, before crossing and briefly joining Whiskeag Road. On Whiskeag Road, walk east (right), until reaching the trail again on the left. Here, a large, boisterous pileated woodpecker was at the top of the telephone pole marking the re-entry to the Whiskeag Trail. Shortly after this point is a turn-off to the Sewall Woods parking lot, which you could use to break up this hike into chunks or start from a spot farther north.

Spring flowers on Whiskeag Trail near Sewall Woods, Bath, ME

A series of KELT digital scan signs marked Sewall Woods (see map here), each with facts about the natural surroundings from the Digital Trail Project and natural forestry methods. As I climbed through the more open forest, I saw purple spring flowers, and started hearing the sounds of gulls, signaling the approach to the Kennebec River area. The trail finds Whiskeag Creek again, skirting the water’s edge and muddy flats until a narrow point where you can see the confluence with the Kennebec. I began to hear people and dogs again, as well, as I approached the more-trafficked Thorne Head Preserve.

Whiskeag Creek and Kennebec River confluence from Whiskeag Trail, Bath, ME
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Winslow Memorial Park Loop

Beach at Winslow Park, Freeport, ME

Winslow Memorial Park and Campground, owned by the town of Freeport, Maine, is a 100-campsite campground, beach, and park on a narrow peninsula between the Harraseeket River and Casco Bay. During 2022, Winslow Park will be open for camping from May 26th through October 1st. A map of the property, including trails, can be found here. According to the Town’s website, the 90-acre park was a 1953 gift from Adelaide Winslow Harb in memory of her mother, Delia B. Powers Winslow with the understanding that the land and its buildings, “… shall be used as a public park and for public recreational purposes…” A day-use fee is charged during the summer months (Freeport Residents: $2.00 per person; Non-Residents: $3.00 per person). Day use hours are from 8 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset for use of all facilities, including trails.

Reflection bench, Winslow Park, Freeport, ME

The trails at Winslow Park are named in a simple fashion, and we made a loop of the Scenic Trail and Self-Guided Nature Trail, using Winslow Park Way to connect these short loops, for a 2.5 mile hike lasting about an hour. The footing was a bit mucky on the late April day we visited, but it was a small price to pay to avoid crowds and fees and see the stunning coastal views. We started with the Scenic Trail, accessed from the parking lot to the immediate left of the entrance gate. A wide, flat trail encircles the small wooded peninsula jutting out into the Harraseeket River. We continued on Winslow Park Way, then veered left past a picnic area towards a sign marked “Trails” to rejoin the Scenic Trail, which then became the Self-Guided Nature Trail.

View of Harraseeket River and Staples Cove from Winslow Park, Freeport, ME
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Florida Lake Loop

Tree swallows feeding by nesting boxes, Florida Lake, Freeport, Maine

Florida Lake Loop is part of a 167-acre property owned by the Town of Freeport since 2002, with trail maps available from the Freeport Conservation Trust. This 2.9 mile loop, using the orange Lake Loop and blue-blazed North Loop trails, skirts the edge of shallow Florida Lake, passing through wetlands and forest. The trails are accessible from a well-marked turnoff (blue sign for Florida Lake parking) off Route 125/Wardtown Road in north Freeport, leading to a small (six cars or so) parking lot. A map kiosk is located a short walk down the gravel trail towards Florida Lake (this map is faded, so the orange trail appears as yellow). This lake gets its name from the resemblance of its meandering finger-like shape to the familiar southern U.S. state.

Small pond off spur trail, Lake Loop Trail, Florida Lake, Freeport, ME

On the Easter Sunday we visited, mud season was very much in effect, necessitating waterproof boots and a certain agility in negotiating logs over standing water. The turtles sunning themselves on the small outlet of the lake gazed at us with exasperation, then slowly slide into the cold water, no doubt gurgling mild turtle swears as they dove. Nesting boxes line the lake itself, and tree swallows wheeled past our heads in blurs of blue-green and white, feeding and diving inside the small shelters.

Orange-blazed Lake Loop Trail, Florida Lake, Freeport, ME

Heading counter-clockwise around the orange trail, a small spur led to a secluded pond, and we doubled back through the muck to continue around Florida Lake. Princess pine lined the trail, and soon we encountered exotic bright green and reddish Northern Pitcher Plants in the wetlands to each side of the log bridges leading around the south side of the loop.

Pitcher plant, Lake Loop Trail, Florida Lake, Freeport, ME
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Ledges Trail

Ledges Trail, Baxter State Park, Maine

The Ledges Trail is accessed from the Middle Fowler Trail/Nature Trail trailhead kiosk a short walk north from the parking area of the South Branch Pond campground at Baxter State Park. This hike in the lesser-traveled northern part of the Park is fully described in the Maine Mountain Guide., and BSP’s downloadable South Branch Pond map covers the area. A left (north) turn at the Ledges Trail intersection after a third of a mile will take you up a wooded blue-blazed trail to the ledges facing west.

Ledges Trail, Baxter State Park, Maine

On the way up, I disturbed a pair of large, colorful pileated woodpeckers, who voiced their collective displeasure, and flew off to other trees. The ledges provided a series of views over South Branch Ponds and South Branch Mountain and Black Cat Mountain, with changing September leaves.

Ledges Trail, Baxter State Park, Maine

The Ledges Trail exits the woods about a half mile north of the campground, with a walk along the dirt and gravel road leading back to parking or the campground. This was a short lollipop loop from South Branch Pond campground, maybe a mile and a quarter total. I was moving quickly due to impending thunderstorms on my trip, but this hike will not take more than thirty to forty-five minutes.

Ledges Trail, Baxter State Park, Maine

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, and as an Amazon Associate Hiking in Maine blog earns from qualifying purchases.)