Posted on April 20, 2021 and last updated on April 20, 2021

Green Lake National Fish Hatchery, Ellsworth


  • Preserve Size: 129 acres
  • Trail Mileage: ~2-mile loop
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
  • Sights: Green Lake, salmon fish hatchery

It would be really interesting to get a tour of this facility, which raises eight strains of Atlantic salmon. It’s been hatching fish since 1974, which it stocks in eight rivers, with the goal of restoring “self-sustaining fish populations that no longer need to be supplemented with fish produced at the hatchery.” I wonder if that dream can ever be realized?

You can get a good look at this place because it welcomes walkers and has a well-established 1.3-mile trail on its southern side. It also has a visitor viewing area, but I somehow missed this (must have been my overactive dog pulling on the leash).

I recommend parking at the entrance to the short drive outside the gate (which is closed from 2 pm to 4 pm). There’s plenty of places to pull over at the sides here.

From the trailhead at the driveway entrance, you can head onto the path, well marked with green blazes, for a 1.3-mile walk through the woods to the lake. (In about 0.5 miles, you’ll come to an intersection with a short trail that heads down to the manmade fish ponds.) When you get to the power line, which the trail crosses, look for the rock cairns that mark the twisty path. There’s no beach at the end, but there is a bench by the water with an interpretive sign about the decline of our native fish and the need for conservation hatcheries.

Then you can walk the 0.6 miles back along the paved road, which is a much easier route to the lake! (The woodland trail is rocky and rooty, etc., like so many Maine paths.)

Directions: The address is One Hatchery Way in Ellsworth. From Ellsworth, drive north on Route 1A to junction of 1A and Route 180. Turn right onto Route 180 and travel 4.25 miles to Hatchery Way on the left.


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