QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 1,345 acres
- Trail Mileage: ~7.4 miles of paths
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy to moderate
- Sights: ancient volcano, rocky beach, fresh pond, wetlands, forest
The sanctuary — officially a state park — encompasses 1,345 acres and many miles of old roads and walking trails. I calculated roughly 7.4 miles of walking paths. Most of the trails are well marked, particularly to the summit of little Backwoods Mountain and to Fresh Pond. (Here’s a guide for the path around Fresh Pond.) There are maps at every junction. I did, however, find the trails less well marked on the other side of the road, on the Penobscot Bay side.
The steep Blackwoods Mountain, which can be treacherous to climb in wet or icy conditions, is actually an old volcano! It has limited views on top from a nicely situated bench. I found that the trail on the southern side of the little mountain slightly less steep than the northern approach.
According to the wishes of the land’s donor, the park does not have the modern facilities you find in most Maine parks, which contributes to its rustic, unspoiled feel.
Note: The access road to the parking areas and trailheads in the park is plowed only up to Indian Bar Road in the winter.
Directions: From Bucksport follow US Route 1/ME Route 3 east for approximately 1 mile. Turn right (southbound) onto Route 175/Castine Road and continue south for 16.8 miles. Turn right to follow the convergence of Routes 175/176. After 1.1 miles, turn right to continue on Route 176. Take the first left onto Varnum Road. After 2.6 miles turn left, returning to Route 176. After 1.7 miles, take a right onto Cape Rosier Road. There are many places to park and to start your hike.