QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 1,754 acres
- Trail Mileage: 7 or so miles in total
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy
- Sights: white-cedar wetlands, Estes Lake
Blazed walking paths in blue; unmarked walking paths in pink; old road in green
This experimental forest, which is used by the U.S. Forest Service for forest ecology and management research, is much better organized for walking than its northern partner, the Massabesic Experimental Forest in Lyman.
Here there are a few well-blazed, easy to follow trails for walking (marked in blue on my map), as well as a 1-mile old forest road cutting through the land that seems okay for wheelchairs (marked in green). Additionally, there are several trails (marked in pink) that aren’t blazed that I assume were created for and by mountain bikers? These unmarked tracks are often identifiable by small boulders parked at their entrance where they split from the old forest road. I’ve marked the blazed and unblazed trails with different colors in my map.
An interesting spot in this area is the largest Atlantic white-cedar wetlands in New England, which you can visit by hiking the 1-mile Clayton Carl Trail to the Atlantic White Cedar trail. These paths are accessed from the central track, on the west side of the forest.
Additionally, there is a very pretty short trail on the other side of Whichers Mill Road. The easy and wide 1/2-mile Charles E. Swett Trail takes you to the shores of Estes Lake. The rocks here look like they would make good swimming perches.
There is some info on these trails, and little maps, here and here; the latter link includes an interpretative guide.
Directions: There are several places to access these trails. The Charles Swett Trail has a little parking area on the east side of Whichers Mills Road. To get to the rest of the forest trails, you can park at either end of the central forest road — either at the end of Ida Jim Road or to the right of Whichers Mill Road. These two entrances get you onto the main dirt road from which you can access the walking paths. This central road was blocked to vehicles when I visited.