Forbes Pond, Gouldsboro

I love the Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserves that are accessible by foot (okay, really by car), since I don’t have a boat (someday…). Forbes Pond preserve in Gouldsboro encompasses more than 900 acres of protected land around Forbes Pond and adjoining freshwater wetland.

When I visited in the summer of 2021, there were two trail systems on the east and west side of the pond. They don’t link up (yet?). The west side is more developed, with a parking area for several cars (surrounded by sunflowers) and two-miles or so of well-marked, pleasant trails. While these are easy, they’re rooty and rocky. They wind around, passing the wetland, bringing you to the shore of the pond. There’s a picnic table at a spot with a nice view. While you can certainly swim, it’s a bit weedy along the pond’s edge.

On the east side, you can walk along an old dirt road, which is wide and easy—possibly accessible to hardy wheelchairs—to the other edge of the pond. From the parking area, it’s just under one mile to the pond. The road’s not blazed, but easy to follow. Make sue to turn left at a junction at 0.6 miles. If you go straight at this point, you’ll eventually walk off the preserve.

Directions: From the junction of Routes 1 and 195 in West Gouldsboro, follow Route 195 (Pond Road) south 3.2 miles to the parking area on the left. The trails on the east side are off Route 186, or West Bay Road, approximately 1.6 miles from the intersection with Route 195. There’s a small parking here; the trail starts behind the gate.

Corea Heath, Gouldsboro

You can explore two parts of the preserved land here: the northern heath, which has a 1.4-mile trail on it, and the southern section, where you can reach an observation deck overlooking the vast and striking bog by walking along a flat .2-mile berm that is wheelchair accessible. This heath is a National Wildlife Refuge.

It might be advisable to wear rubber boots if you’re going to hike the loop at the Frenchman Bay Conservancy’s northern preserve. It can be very wet, even in the autumn. The trail also is quite rooty and uneven, and the boards placed over the wettest patches can be narrow. They’re a good test of your yoga-cultivated balance! So, the walk here can be soggy and a bit of an adventure, but it is worth it. There are rocky ledges and and nice spots by the bog lake.

Directions: From Route 1, turn right onto 195 South to Prospect Harbor and Corea. Stay on the road for 4.8 miles. At the junction with 186 in Prospect Harbor, turn left, drive .1 mile and turn right on Corea Road.  Drive 2 miles and look to the left for the conservancy’s sign and parking.

Taft Point, Gouldsboro

If you don’t have time to do both loops at this 68-acre preserve, I’d do the Jones Cove trail. It is a touch steep walking down the trail to the shore, but the rocky beach is really beautiful, with views of the Acadia mountains. On the Flanders Bay side, you will walk by both a spring and a well. This pretty place is preserved by Frenchman Bay Conservancy. The trail system is about 1.5 miles.

Directions: From the North or the South on US coastal Rte 1, turn on to Maine Route 186 to Gouldsboro at the (brown) Acadia National Park / Schoodic Section entrance sign.  Turn right onto Taft Point Road at 1.1 miles.  Go .4 mile and turn right when the road splits.

Frances B. Wood Preserve and Salt Marsh Trail, Gouldsboro

There are two trails here, departing from opposite ends of the parking lot. If you don’t have much time I recommend the .8-mile (one way) Salt Marsh Trail, which has two observation platforms with views over the marsh. Both trails are well-marked and take you through lovely forest. The 1-mile Frances Wood trail skirts a bog.

The Frances Wood preserve is protected by the Frenchman Bay Conservancy and the Salt Marsh Trail is a US National Wildlife Refuge.

Directions:  From the Sullivan side of the Hancock-Sullivan Bridge drive 12 miles on coastal Route 1N to Chicken Mill Road on the right. Drive .4 mile and turn right onto Fletcher Wood Road. Drive .2 mile and take the first left onto a gravel road for 0.1 mile to the parking lot and kiosk. The FBC Preserve and trails are to the left, and the National Wildlife Refuge and trails are on the right.