QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 376 acres
- Trail Mileage: 5.5 miles in network, not counting Schoodic Connector Trail
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy to moderate
- Sights: views of Mount Desert Island, Long Pond, open ledge, old quarry, so much more
Oh wow, what an awesome surprise! I didn’t do much reading up about this double preserve (it is made up of two parcels) before I explored it. I just had a map in hand. But as my friend and I climbed up the ledges of Baker Hill, we quickly realized we were somewhere unique.
Because the protected lands here stretch out for so long along Punkenville Road, there are several trailheads and parking areas spaced a reasonable distance apart, allowing you to begin your walk at different areas. If you begin at the southern trailhead, the first you encounter on Punkenville Road, you are in a good position to head right up Baker Hill, a moderately steep, fast hike up a forest that opens up to stony ledge with beautiful views of Mount Desert Island. The Frenchman Bay Conservancy map has helpful contour lines to show the rise and fall of elevation as you traverse the trail network. I also found the numbered intersections to help with orientation.
While the whole preserve is filled with lovely spots, perhaps the most enchanting is at Long Pond. When you get to the edge of the pond, facing the water, you’ll see an unmarked trail headed up the rocks on your left. If you scramble up the rocks to follow it, you’ll come out to an open rock on the pond’s edge—a super spot for jumping into the cold water. Someone had attached a rope to help swimmers clamber back onto the rocks when I visited in September 2019.
Note: When the northern East Side Trail leaves the preserve boundaries, it reaches a network of snowmobile paths that would be confusing to navigate if not for the very helpful conservancy signs.
Another note: I have not yet mapped the Schoodic Connector Trail, the 2.5-mile path that connects the trail system here to the one around Schoodic Bog and to Schoodic Mountain. You can go for a seriously long walk here if you start at Baker Hill and head over Schoodic Mountain into the trail system of Donnell Pond Public Lands!
Directions: From Route 1, turn onto Punkinville Road. You’ll see the sign for the first trailhead in .2 miles.