Camden is often described as “where the mountains meet the sea,” and indeed the Camden Hills are a central feature of this dramatic coastal landscape. Camden Hills State Park encompasses more than 5,000 acres that feature forested slopes rich with wildlife and wildflowers, open ledge summits with views of Penobscot Bay, and miles of well-maintained hiking trails right in the heart of our community. The park’s backbone, Mount Megunticook, is the second-highest mountain (1,385’) on the eastern seaboard after Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.
Outside of the park itself, Coastal Mountains Land Trust manages large nature preserves on both Ragged and Bald Mountains, also part of the Camden Hills, as well as two dozen more preserves—most offering hiking trails—throughout the Midcoast region.
With all these hills and trails so easy to access, it’s no wonder this area has become a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Local trails offer something for everyone, from short easy strolls you can do with young children to day-long traverses of scenic mountain ridges with sweeping bay views. When you stay in one of our homes, you are just minutes away from actively enjoying the natural beauty of the Maine coast, with a new trail to explore on every day of your vacation.
Here are just a few of our favorite area hikes and trail networks that will help you really get to know the area from the ground up:
Beech Hill Summit Trail, Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport: This short (1.5 miles round-trip) walk up a gently sloping farm road through working blueberry barrens is suitable for all ages. Better yet, it offers great rewards at the top: panoramic views of flower-filled fields, the Camden Hills, and Penobscot Bay, as well as an historic, sod-roofed stone hut (that is occasionally open to the public). The 295-acre preserve is owned by Coastal Mountains Land Trust. Download more information and a trail map here.
Georges Highland Path on Ragged Mountain, Camden & Rockport: Georges River Land Trust’s Georges Highland Path offers several options to explore Ragged Mountain, at 1,200’ the second highest of the Camden Hills (but not part of Camden Hills State Park). The hiking can be steep and strenuous, but the views from the long exposed ridgeline are spectacular: on a clear day you can see all the way to Mount Washington in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. You can learn more and get directions to the three trailheads here. If you have two cars, a traverse of the ridge from either the Barnestown Road or Thorndike Brook trailheads to the Route 17 trailhead (or the other way around) is recommended for a good, day-long hike.
Cameron Mountain and Bald Rock, Camden Hills State Park, Lincolnville: Two of our favorite hikes in Camden Hills State Park originate at the northern trailhead in Lincolnville. Trails to both branch off the Multi-use Trail, an old dirt road that rises gently from the parking area. The Bald Rock Trail is a quick steep hike from the road to an open ledge offering some of the area’s best views of Penobscot Bay. Just past the Bald Rock Trail junction, the Cameron Mountain Trail leads up to wide-open blueberry barrens, with lovely views westward. Find more information on these and other trails in the northern end of the park here.
Maiden’s Cliff Trail, Camden: This mile-long, moderate hike is accessible from Route 52 in Camden. In addition to spectacular views west over Megunticook Lake from the top of 800’ cliffs, the town-owned trail offers links to trails within Camden Hills State Park. Kids are especially fascinated by the tragic history of the big white cross at the top of the cliffs that memorializes the “maiden,” young Elenora French, who fell to her death there in 1864. Find more details and directions, as well as some history, here.