Ghost Meadow Wildlife Commons, Wells

The 0.8-mile Gowen Trail connects Clark and Meetinghouse Roads. (But you can only park in a small pull-off area on Meetinghouse Road.) The trail is well-marked and fairly easy to walk. The bog bridges over the wet areas are really nicely made, and their rough, textured surfaces should help prevent slipping.

The highlight for me was the hauntingly beautiful freshwater marsh (haunting, perhaps, because a mist hung over it on the day I visited). Ghost Meadow is rather small, if the little clearing the trail passes through about mid-way is Ghost Meadow. Or perhaps Ghost Meadow refers to the misty marsh? I tried to find the history of the name but I couldn’t track it down on the internet.

Directions: The pullover at the Meetinghouse Road trailhead is basically equidistant from the road’s intersections with Chick Crossing Road and Branch Road—roughly 0.7 miles from both.

Tatnic Hills Preserve, Wells

The Nature Conservancy protects 202 acres of land here, which contain two fairly uncommon tree species for Maine, the white oak and shagbark hickory. Together, the two loops create a nearly two-mile walk. Or you can do just a mile loop on either side of Cheney Woods Road.

Directions: The preserve is located on Cheney Woods Road, after it turns into a dirt road. The parking area is about .6 miles from the intersection of Cheney Woods and Tatnic road, and is 2.5 miles from the intersection of Cheney Woods Road with Route 9B.

Tatnic Woods, Wells

I found it slightly hard to find this preserve, but the Wells Conservation Commission now has a great map of its trails. The parking area at the trailhead is next to 2462 Tatnic Road, on the left side of the street if you are coming from the shore. The one-mile trail takes you through woods and by vernal pools,

Directions: The trailhead is on Tatnic Road, next door to 2462 Tatnic Road, about 1,200 feet from the intersection with Cheney Woods Road.


Wells Recreation Department Trails, Wells

At this plentiful town park (it has a playground, ball fields, an ice skating rink, snack stand, etc.), you can take a pleasant one-mile stroll through the woods and by the pretty Merriland River. There are three blazed loops: yellow, red, and blue. I recommend walking the yellow trail to the red trail. At a couple of points, it looked like there were little trails to pretty spots along the river.

Directions: The trail starts from the side of the Wells Recreation Department’s parking lot. There is a kiosk. The address for the department is 412 Branch Road. 

Perkinstown Wildlife Commons, Wells

This is a fun Wells Conservation Commission preserve to walk, probably nicer to ski — especially if you take advantage of the old railroad tracks that pass close to or through this 288-acre preserve. When I visited in the winter of 2017, the place wasn’t terribly well marked, although I found a lovely loop trail marked with fluorescent pink flags. I hope I was still on the preserve! It really wasn’t clear. There were lots of x-c ski tracks here, and they went off and away down the RR tracks.

Directions: Turn onto Thompson Road from Perry Oliver Road. Park at the end of the cul-de-sac.

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Moe’s Trail, Fenderson Wildlife Commons West, Wells

Here you can make a one-mile loop — which is well marked — on old logging roads. The land is owned by the Wells Conservation Commission. I recommend you do the loop counter-clockwise, as the trail blazes and signs are clearer. About half-way through the loop, a well-used trail branches off to the right. It ends up on a long, straight path behind houses on Nottingham Drive.

The loop trail is easy and flat — very gentle walking.

Directions: Parking is along the side of Horace Mills Road, a little under a mile from Quarry Road.

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Beaver Pond Trail, Tilton Homestead Wildlife Commons, Wells

A sweet little trail (under a mile) that is short, wooded, with some sections along the Merriland River. This Wells Conservation Commission preserve includes the remains of an old mill dam.

Directions: Turn onto Bragdon Road from Rt. 109. The trailhead is about .25 miles on the left, just before the bridge. The small parking lot can hold two cars.

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Fenderson East Trail, Fenderson Wildlife Commons, Wells

This trail is a little confusing, because at one point the trail markers just end abruptly. But I think I figured out the trail system here, or at least a possible walk. My map looks a bit different than the Wells Conservation Commission‘s map.

Directions: Parking is on Rt. 109. Look for the trailhead sign on your left if traveling to Sanford, just beyond the High Pine Loop road.

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Wells Reserve at Laudholm, Wells

This is one of Maine’s greats! No one should miss this fabulous place, which includes a gorgeous old yellow farm (a former saltwater farm owned by a prosperous family), a huge tract of pasturelands and forests with miles of lovingly maintained trails (including lots of boardwalks), amazing views around many corners (and/or birds), and a walk to a beach. The center here is an educational and research facility, dedicated to the protection of Maine’s coastal environments. 

An admissions fee, which includes parking, is charged from Memorial Day weekend to Columbus Day. Dogs are not allowed. The trails tend to wide and flat, and very easy.

Directions: This preserve is at 342 Laudholm Farm Road, just off Routes 1 and 9 near the Wells-Kennebunk line. The public entrance is off Skinner Mill Road.

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Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Wells

Thank goodness for Rachel Carson, one of the environmental movement’s heroes. It’s hard to go anywhere in this part of Maine without seeing conservation signs bearing her name. This preserve is a great memorial for her. The one-mile loop trail is wheelchair accessible and very easy for any kind of walker. Note: dogs are allowed on leashes but horses are not allowed.The views are extraordinary, and you can pick up a trail guide at the start of the trail to learn more about the protected habitat here.

This trail can get relatively crowded on summertime weekends, and the parking area is not huge, so go early to be on the safe side.

Directions: The refuge entrance is 321 Port Road, Wells, off of Port Road (Route 9) in Wells. From exit 19, turn left onto Route 9/Route 109. At stop light, turn left onto Post Road (Route 1 North). Just past the Maine Diner, turn right onto Port Road (Route 9) and follow for approximately ¾ mile; turn right into the refuge entrance.

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Wells Barren Preserve, Wells

Map shows Kennebunk Plains trails in blue, and Wells Barren trails, in yellow.

The Nature Conservancy protects this unique sand plain grassland and low-shrub heathland. No dogs allowed here. This is a probably a nice place to ski, especially if you can combine it with the trails in the Kennebunk Plains. Best bet to connect the two areas is probably to travel along the power lines, but you will have to cross a brook (maybe there is a bridge?). Anyway, this skiing idea is just my assumption based on walks I’ve taken here in the spring and fall, in which I did not connect the two preserves.

Directions: Take the Wells Exit Number 19 from I-95/Maine Turnpike. At the lights (after you pass the toll), turn right (west) onto Route 109.Travel West on Rt. 109 toward Sanford for approximately 5.0 miles. Wire Rd will be on your right after you pass through a small village. Turn right (northeast) onto Wire Rd. and travel for approximately 1.5 miles to 572 Wire Rd. The parking lot will be on your left adjacent to the driveway to the preserve.

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