Posted on April 16, 2015 and last updated on September 26, 2021

Butler Head Preserve, Bath


  • Preserve Size: 141 acres
  • Trail Mileage: ~3.3 miles in network
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Sights: Merrymeeting Bay, Butler Cove, old forests, fields

At this lovely 141-acre preserve, you’ll find a well-marked system of trails—all named after ducks—that take you along the shores of Butler Cove and Merrymeeting Bay and through old forests. The Maine Birding Trail describes the habitats like this: The preserve “features taller stands of white pine, red maple, beech, red oak, two species of aspen, and four species of birch. Black cherry, balsam fir, white oak, and witch hazel are characteristic of the emerging understory. Marsh, field, and shore land make up the remainder. Wild rice proliferates on the southern edge of the preserve and in Butler Cove.” 

There are two places to park along Butler Cove Road to access the trail system. From the first parking area, where the kiosk is, I recommend you follow the 0.8-mile Whistler Path on a loop around the northern part of the conserve. There are pretty views from the banked path over Butler Cove. At 0.8-miles, the path comes out to the second parking area on the road. You can return to your car back along Butler Cove Road, or continue your walk on Harlequin Path, a footpath, or along Mallard Road, a dirt road that runs roughly parallel to Harlequin. Harlequin offers views over the broad bay, while Mallard Road offers gentle, easy walking.

In 0.5 miles Harlequin Path intersects with Mallard Road, and you can return along the 0.45-mile road or continue along other footpaths back to the kiosk. 

The walking is mostly level and easy, except for a a few hills, some of them steepish/longish (esp. if you’re walking from the kiosk up Bufflehead or Pintail paths).

Directions: From Bath, drive west on US-1 south and continue for 2.3 miles. Take the New Meadows Road exit and turn right toward West Bath, continue for 0.8 miles. Turn right onto Old Brunswick Road then immediately turn left onto Ridge Road and continue for 2.1 miles. Turn right onto North Bath Road, then immediately left onto Varney Mill Road and continue for .7 miles. Turn left onto the unpaved Butler Head Road and continue for .4 miles and the trail kiosk will be on the left. 


Let me know if you have any trail updates or corrections!