Posted on March 8, 2021 and last updated on March 15, 2021

Jugtown Forest, Casco (and Naples/Otisfield)

QUICK TRAIL FACTS

  • Preserve Size: 5,000 acres
  • Trail Mileage: 16 miles
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Sights: Wide trails, working forest, pretty brooks

Hancock Land Company maintains a network of logging roads on its land holdings in Casco, Otisfield, and Naples that it invites the public to use. Indeed, people have been using the trail system since 1848! In the winter, the snowmobilers who love these wide, mostly flat trails create fairly good conditions for fat bikers and cross-country skiers—which is a fun way to explore the sixteen miles of paths here.

The relatively young forest throughout keeps the trails sunny and bright. The whole place has a carriage-road feel to it, with gentle terrain, easy walking and easy footing. That is, with the exception of Oak Hill Trail, which is a long climb that we didn’t complete so we can’t say whether there is a view, unfortunately. Since there was snow on the ground, we couldn’t tell how smooth the trails were and whether they might be wheelchair accessible. We’ll check back.

Jugtown Forest is also a popular destination for dog sledders, and on a recent weekend when we visited, we watched several sledding teams, with four to six dogs each, all lolling tongues and pounding paws, flash past us! Astonishing sight.

Many long-distance snowmobile trails intersect with the official Jugtown Forest trails, and at times it’s a bit easy to wander off trail. Look out for the red Hancock trail signs, pinned high up on trees at most intersections.

Interesting notes: The origin of the name for Jugtown Forest is unknown, but might refer to the prohibition era when bootlegging was supposedly a common past time for locals, according to the Portland Press Herald. Also, Hancock Lumber has only harvested this area twice since 1848, according to its website, since it takes almost a century for its preferred species—eastern white pine—to grow to maturity.

Directions: There are two trailheads with plowed parking areas, one at the end of Edes Fall Road in Casco, and one at the end of Ellen Drive in Naples. Both have maps. Here are Hancock Lumber’s directions: “From Route 11, take Route 121 through Casco Village and turn at the Hancock Lumber Administrative Offices onto Edes Falls Road. Follow that road down about a mile (road turns to dirt) until you see the trail map kiosk. Park outside the gated area.” And for the other side, “From 302, take Route 11 (Poland Springs Road) approx. 1.8 miles, then turn left onto Cooks Mill Road. Follow that for 1.3 miles and turn right onto Jugtown Road. Ellen Drive is your first right, and the designated parking area is down 300 yards and is marked by a kiosk.”

There are more Hancock Lumber trails open to the public about 3.5 miles south along the east side of Route 121 (or, a half mile north of the intersection with Plains Road) that connect to the trail system on Rattlesnake Mountain.

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