Southern Maine isn’t known as a hiking hotspot, especially compared to the destinations that surround it, from the Western and White Mountains in New Hampshire to the Bigelow Range and Baxter State Park.
But you don’t have to reach a peak of 4,000 feet to enjoy the serenity of the woods, get some exercise, and take in a panoramic view. Here’s a sampling of rewarding uphill trails, some more of a workout than others, where you can correct your nature.
If you want to lengthen your legs, and then some:
Mountain of bald pate
107th Street, Bridgeton
This child-friendly network of 6.7 miles of trails but much shorter routes to the top passes through woods and meadows, leading to a scenic summit with pitch pine forest and plenty of space between the granite slabs to sit and snack while you enjoy the view.
Mount Bauneg Beg
Fox Farm Hill Road, North Berwick
A pleasant network of well-marked trails leads to this mountain’s average 870-foot summit, pronounced Bonny Beg. Views from the summit range north to the White Mountains and Mount Washington. Follow Bauneg Beg, Ginnys Way, Linnys Way and the North Peak Loop for a nice 1.5 mile loop.
528 Hallowell Road, Pownal
Hiking trails total more than 5 miles, with trails of varying lengths to the 484-foot summit, where sweeping granite ledges reward hikers with eastern views of Casco Bay and the Portland skyline.
Raymond Community Forest, Conesca Road, Raymond
From the Spiller Homestead Loop, take the Pismire Bluff Trial another mile to a lookout point overlooking Crescent Lake. Once back, you can extend your time in the woods by hitting the flatter trails across the community forest, even over swamp bridges.
If you want to increase your heart rate a little:
Douglas Mountain Road and Spring Ledge Road, Sebago
Take a mile-long trail to the summit and back, extend your hike by connecting to a summit loop, or take quicker routes from a secondary trail further up Douglas Mountain Road. Climb the 16-foot stone observatory built in the early 1900s at the top to enhance your view of Lake Sebago and the Presidential Range.
Route 117, Limington, or Sawyer Mountain Road, Limerick
The 3.6-mile round trip from Limington will take you by a historic hunting lodge, a 19th-century graveyard and across the city boundary to Limerick and back. A sign points to the former site of a lighthouse at the top, where there are benches for enjoying the view. Shave a mile going up the Limerick side.
If you want to burn important calories:
Mountain Road, Bridgeton
This will be the most challenging hike you’ll find here, reaching just over 2,000 feet. Four trailheads each offer options for summit access. Take the Bald Peak Trail to Sues Way to see the mountains ski area in a different light.
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