Posted on August 5, 2019 and last updated on July 19, 2022

Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, Baring

QUICK TRAIL FACTS

  • Preserve Size: 20,016 acres
  • Trail Mileage: Many miles
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Sights: bogs, marsh, streams, lakes, forest

The map above, which displays walking paths, is incomplete! Refer to this map for more information. 

Almost one-third of this refuge “is dedicated for animals,” according to the park ranger who also told us that humans aren’t allowed to swim in any of the ponds, lakes, or streams with the refuge borders. While I didn’t see too much wildlife, except for beautiful geese (I think I walk too loudly), I did enjoy the real feeling of wilderness here.

The Baring Moosehorn Refuge is made up of two areas, one enclosing the other. (There is also another nearby wildlife refuge called Moosehorn Refuge in Edmunds.) The federal wilderness area—for hikers only—is encircled by a buffer in which ATVs and other vehicles are allowed.

Right around the headquarters close to the refuge entrance is a connected system of appealing nature trails with interpretative panels — some of which are wheelchair accessible! The accessible ones include the 0.3-mile paved Woodcock Trail and the Charlotte Trail, parts of which follows mown sections in flower-filled meadows. My guess is that these nature trails, including Greg’s Pond Trail and Raven Trail, are used more and so are better maintained than the remoter ones. (However, while the Greg Pond Trail sections near the pond are great, and include a bench right by the water’s edge, the back portion, which curves around the pond and wetlands and connects to Woodcock Trail, was thickly overgrown when we visited.) You can make a 3.2-mile loop (this is an approximate distance) if you start at Woodcock, link to Greg’s Pond, cross the street to connect to Raven Trail, and finish up on Charlotte Trail. 

If you want to venture into the backcountry, I think the best walking is along the narrow footpaths in the wilderness area. The trail blazes were faded when I visited and the trail signs worn, but the paths were easy to follow—with only a few wrong turns made. They meander through forest and along wet lowland areas. Outside the protected wilderness area, lots of dirt roads look like they would make for good bicycling or cross-country skiing.

The highlights in the refuge are the various ponds and lakes: Mullen Meadow, Conic Lake, Cranberry Lake, etc. The refuge is part of a migratory route for many bird species, including waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, songbirds, and birds of prey.

By the way, the Tower Trail takes you up a moderate incline to the top of Bald Mountain and to a wooden fire tower…that has toppled over! And there are no views. The trail does not seem well trafficked.

And if you do want to climb a short mountain with a bit of a view, you can climb Mt. Maguerrewok, in the far northeastern corner of the refuge.

Directions: Refuge footpaths can be accessed from both Charlotte Road and Route 191. Everything is very well marked. To get to the refuge headquarters, where rangers can provide hiking info and maps, turn onto Headquarters Road from Charlotte Road and follow the sign to the refuge headquarters. The road continues past the HQ to a parking area with restrooms. You can pick up the longer walking trails here if you go past the closed gate, and walk straight for about a half a mile down Headquarters Road, past Mullen Meadow.

 

 

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