Among hardcore hikers, there is quite a bit of fanfare about achieving a 4,000-footer. But while there’s a certain sense of victory that comes from summiting a high mountain peak, there’s something to be said about short, sweet day hikes. And good news for visitors: Maine is filled with trails. Make time during your trip to the Pine Tree State to embark on one of these five scenic day hikes, all located conveniently near Portland.
Wolfe’s Neck State Park: Located in Freeport — a town famed for its outlet shopping — this coastal walk combines many of Maine’s most iconic scenery into a tidy little package. Walk through coniferous fragrant pines before heading down the wooden steps to a rocky beach, where you can gaze out at islands and smell the salty fresh air. This well-marked trail system is good for hikers of all ages, even the wee ones.
Bradbury Mountain State Park: If you’re seeking views and a summit, but with minimal time commitment, Bradbury Mountain is the perfect place to go. While there are several trails to choose from at this Pownal park (located 40 minutes north of Portland) the Summit Trail takes you (as its name implies) directly to the mountain’s bald peak, where you can enjoy 360-degree views of surrounding farmland and forest.
Mount Agamenticus: For something a little more challenging, Mount Agamenticus provides a decent workout, thanks to several miles of steep trails that terminate at the exposed and rocky summit. From the base, hikers can choose from Goosefoot, Wintergreen and Ring Trails (Ring Trail provides the longest hike, clocking in at 1.5 miles). Mountain bikers are also welcome to enjoy the rugged beauty of this coastal mountain.
Douglas Mountain: Located inland in the town of Sebago, this is a quick hike with a big payoff. It’s only about a mile from the parking lot to the summit, where you’ll find a beautiful old stone watchtower. For a longer hike, take the Eagle Scout Trail (which has a gentler incline) to the Nature Trail.
Scarborough Marsh Nature Trail: While many would hesitate to call this a hike — its perfectly flat and fairly wide-open with no elevation change — this stunning walk provides plenty of opportunities to observe Maine’s flora and fauna flourishing. From the tall sea grasses to the wild birds who call this nature preserve home, the 3,100-acre estuary is a lovely way to experience Maine’s southern coast.