Posted on October 23, 2021 and last updated on October 27, 2021

Kittredge Brook Forest Preserve, Mount Desert Island

QUICK TRAIL FACTS

  • Preserve Size: 523 acres
  • Trail Mileage: 5.1 miles in network
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
  • Sights: Kittredge Brook, wetlands, wastewater ponds

You can walk a fair distance at this 523-acre Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserve, which abuts thousands of acres of protected park land. We started our walk at the Mt. Desert Island High School on a holiday, so it was very easy to park. You can bring pets with you but they’re not allowed on school grounds. If you have a dog, you can enter the preserve from Pine Heath Road.

Visiting this preserve was an interesting experience for me because I found the area lovely, of course, with one of the high points being a large open ledge with impressive views. But I was surprised by the school’s prominent wastewater treatment system!

First, to reach the trailhead, you walk by a couple of small wastewater ponds. The more polluted one (or rather, nutrient rich!) was covered by a thick, almost neon-green layer of algae (maybe duckweed?) and had attracted a glorious group of ducks, including a family of Wood Ducks. From here, we branched off to the northwestern portion of the preserve, which brings you to a wetland and the preserve’s other trailheads.

When we returned to walk the trails behind the high school, we saw warning signs to not enter the woods because spraying was occurring (this wasn’t actually true). There are lots of spigots set up in this part of the forest. Since 1968, the school has sprayed its wastewater nearby. Before 2004, it disposed of the water on its playing fields, but since 2004 has sprayed it into the woods.

The view from the top of a large rock is at the end of an unmarked side trail (it can be easy to miss). It’s close to the school’s playing fields and in the area that gets periodically sprayed with gray water. If you’re coming from the west, the trail will be on your left after you crest a rather long hill. You’ll reach a boulder in a few hundred yards. It has small stone steps up the side; climb these and walk out onto the ledge for the vista.

You can also take a short path, 0.4 miles, off of Bluff Road. After driving through a new development, you’ll come to a little side road. Pull in here to the parking area. The cascade highlight at the end of the trail is not too dramatic! But the walk is nice — through moss gardens and by a beaver dam.

Directions: Visitors are allowed to park at the MDI High School, near the tennis courts. The high school’s address is 1081 Eagle Lake Road in Bar Harbor. To find the trailhead here, walk down the little dirt road by the wastewater ponds toward the woods. Shortly you’ll come out to an athletic field. At the end of the field at a back corner, behind a green shed, you’ll see a little sign with an arrow pointing into the woods that marks the path.

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