Here in mid-coast Maine, we are blessed with many wonderful nature preserves offering a multitude of hiking trails for exploring outdoors. Nothing renews the spirit like getting outside and communing with nature. Take a walk along the Damariscotta River, immerse yourself in coastal woodlands, wander a scenic loop trail along the shoreline, or simply drink in the view of crashing waves. The choices are endless. Having wandered the woods frequently in search of the peace and tranquility that only nature can provide, these five wonderful nature preserves are favorites with guests of the Newcastle Inn.
This riverside nature trail in Newcastle, ME, is a state-owned conservation area marked with 8000 feet of frontage on the Damariscotta River. A former tree farm, four main trails traverse 500 acres of forest once used by loggers. Along the challenging Ravine Trail you may encounter fox, deer, racoons, and the occasional moose. Take the Shore Trail along the river to access a small beach where you can observe abundant shore birds. Dodge Point is located 5 minutes from the Inn on River Road.
This preserve, located in Round Pond, ME, is noted for its rocky shoreline and magnificent crashing waves. The easy 2 ½ mile trail leads through a diverse forest of oak, maple, spruce, and birch, ending in a panoramic vista of Muscongus Bay and off-shore islands. Plan plenty of time to scramble along the rocky shore and explore the tide pools.
Hidden Valley Nature Center
With over 1000 acres of protected land along Little Dyer Pond, Hidden Valley in Edgecomb, ME is a treasure trove for outdoor enthusiasts. Miles of groomed trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing along easy, moderate, and challenging routes crisscross the forested terrain. The small pond is perfect for a quiet afternoon or evening paddle.
Ovens Mouth Preserves
The perfect spot to find a quiet cove, Ovens Mouth spans two peninsulas connected by a wooden footbridge. Traversing the east or west sections of the preserve you’re likely to spot the errant eagle, osprey, otter, or deer. The most spectacular feature of Ovens Mouth is the powerful tidal change that occurs in the passage, the narrow waterway adjoining the Sheepscot and Back Rivers.
Porter Preserve on Barter’s Island
Part of the Boothbay Region Land Trust, Porter Preserve offers striking views of the Sheepscot River. Picture-perfect trails lead through dense forest of pine and deciduous trees. Benches dot the trails here and there, where you can rest awhile and contemplate nature at its finest. Several trail spurs lead to small beaches and stunning views of the waterfront.
Explore any one of these beautiful nature preserves on your next visit to the Newcastle Inn. You’ll be glad you did.