Posted on August 14, 2023 and last updated on August 17, 2023

Hardscrabble River Preserve, Dennysville


  • Preserve Size: Not sure
  • Trail Mileage: ~1.6 miles in trail system
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
  • Sights: Hardscrabble River, Meadow Brook

It’s hard to imagine how Hardscrabble River got its name — it is a beguiling tributary to Dennys Bay, with calm waters and forested shores. From this beautiful preserve’s parking area, you can follow a path along the wooded Meadow Brook, which spills over rocks into the smooth open estuary. If you don’t have much time, you can turn back into the meadow for a 0.3-mile loop, or you can continue your walk along the river for about 1 mile.

If you follow the 1-mile Hardscrabble River Trail, you’ll intersect in about 0.6 miles with a wide quarter-mile woods road labeled a ski/bike route on the map. It’ll take you to a boat shed and a small peninsula with views up and down the river, including the “flood gates” (quotation marks from Cobscook Shores). I couldn’t find what this refers to, but here you’ll see short cliffs bracing the river, as well as ledges and grassy mudflats.

From the boat shed, you can take another 0.4-mile path to the southern boundary of the property, past historic pilings. While this last path is nice, the views are nicer elsewhere in the preserve.

Directions: From Route 1, turn onto Shipyard Road. From the north, the park entrance is half a mile from Route 1 on the left. If you’re coming from the south, it’s about 1.25 miles on the right. The drive is marked with a blue Cobscook Shores sign.

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