Prescott Field Trails, Farmington

(Wheelchair-accessible trail marked in red.) The fields adjacent to the downtown, which lie between Main Street and the pebbly Sandy River, have a network of easy and pretty paths—including a fabulous 0.6-mile accessibility trail.

The accessible trail, made of compacted crushed rock, was the outcome of a collaboration between University of Maine Farmington (particularly rehabilitation services professor Gina Oswald) and High Peaks Alliance, which promotes public access to the outdoors. The Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund contributed money for the project.

The trail system’s main parking area is off Front Street. The lot can accommodate a fair number of cars, perhaps as many as 10 to 12, and there is a trailhead kiosk with a map of the easy-to-follow but unmarked trails. You can also access the trail system from other small side roads that connect to Main Street.

The accessibility trail begins in a river floodplain and silver maple forest carpeted with ferns and Japanese knotweed. The knotweed looks beguilingly delicate but is actually a fierce invasive that has proliferated in Maine.

There are a number of short side spurs that lead down to the beaches of sand and smooth pebbles, popular places to wade and swim. High Peaks Alliance is working to rebuild the demolished bridge across the river to connect the Whistle Stop Trail to town.

Leaving the accessibility trail, you can walk along the side of the playing field to access a 1.5-mile loop around a large field, probably best walked when there aren’t many ticks! There are several short side path to quiet spots along the river.

Directions: Coming into town on Main Street from the south, turn left after the McDonalds onto Front Street. The main parking area is 530 feet ahead, on the left off Front Street.

Powder House Hill Trail Network, Farmington

This is a well-used and quite extensive trail network just minutes from downtown Farmington. The day we visited, the snowy trails closest to the main parking area, off Titcomb Hill Road, were well packed down. But after just a few minutes of skiing, we were on untrammeled paths breaking trail, and away from it all.

The network here comprises several “Woods,” including the 44-acre Flint Woods, the 43-acre Village Woods, the 63-acre Horn Woods, and the 28-acre Willow Springs. The trails, which crisscross all of them, are packed into a fairly tight space. While they’re mostly well signed, the trail blazes are inconsistent. So in the winter, it can be difficult to find a few of the trails unless they’ve been packed down.

At the trailhead kiosk, there are wonderful trail maps. Grab one! And return it after you’re done. It was difficult following the outer Pole Line Trail, at the southern edge of the preserve. It comes to an end of a little residential street, Box Shop Road. We couldn’t find the trail that cuts back into the park, so we walked along the street until we saw more signs for the trail system, on the left, in about 200 feet or so.

The map indicates a couple of lookout points, but I missed them completely! Probably skiing (falling) too fast. The most prominent, I believe, is off the Woods Connector trail.

Some of the trails include steep hills, but for the most part, this is easy terrain.

These trails also intersect with snowmobile trails.

Directions: From Main Street in downtown Farmington, turn onto Anson Street, and continue .5 miles to the parking area turnout on the left.

Tree of Life Trail, Farmington

This short, wide, easy 1-mile trail — I think it is okay for wheelchairs and strollers — must be nice for people to walk along after visiting patients. Or perhaps convalescing people can walk it as well? I am not sure I’d go out of my way to hike this, but it is a pleasant stroll — an easy, gentle path through woods.

Directions: Turn into the Franklin Memorial Hospital at the intersection of Routes 133 and 2. I think the easiest place to catch the trail is to continue along the road that circles the hospital campus to the back parking lot. You’ll see the trail and a sign on the left side, if you’re facing away from the hospital buildings. 

Titcomb Mountain, Farmington

This little mountain has a maze of trails that let you weave up and down the hill’s slopes, and have a lot of fun. The area isn’t large, but like many groomed x-c ski trail places, a lot of trails have been packed into a small space. I enjoyed going up the blue intermediate Wild Acres trails (15 on the map) on the northern side of the mountain and going down the black diamond ones, Ramdown and Long Churt (16 and 17). There are pretty views from the mountain top, where the ski lifts drop off alpine skiers. The ticket price here for Nordic skiers is reasonable, just $10 in 2018, and of course free after the season ends.

Directions: The mountain is at the end of Ski Slope Road, which is off Morrison Hill Road.

Bonney Woods, Farmington

People living close to this path of old-growth hemlock forest are lucky — it’s quiet, dark, cool, and restful. It’s not big — about nine acres — but it’s lovely. There is an old family graveyard at one end. The trails are unmarked, but essentially, there is one roughly .3-mile main loop in the center of the woods which is intersected in two places with short cut-offs. Other trails connect to the streets around the small parcel. There must have been something about all the oldness in this woods (or maybe the thick leaf cover) but my GPS didn’t work well at all so my map is kind of wonky.

Directions: The main parking area is off Anson Street, before it becomes Titcomb Hill Road, roughly about .32 miles from Main Street (Route 27).