QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 600 acres
- Trail Mileage: ~2 miles one way
- Pets: no
- Difficulty: easy to moderate (slight climb)
- Sights: salt marshes, Seawall Beach, pitch-pine forest, Sprague River
This has got to be one of the most beautiful areas in midcoast Maine, if not in all of Maine. Over the years, the 600-acre preserve has grown in popularity, and now there is a parking lot for visitors that quickly fills up on weekends and on beautiful summer days. So arrive early or late on glorious Saturdays and Sundays! You’ll be turned away if there are too many people in the preserve.
The full name of this land is the Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area. The 2-mile trail (one way) takes you across a salt marsh, after which you start ascending the 180-foot Morse Mountain. You can take a quick detour to see the view of the winding Morse River emptying into the glittering ocean off of Seawall Beach.
Once you summit, you’ll begin descending to the beach, passing through a beautiful pitch pine forest, with stumpy, gnarled trees and sandy soil. You’ll pass more little summer homes and another view of the marsh. Then you’ll pass through denser woods before ending up on the wide, white beach and bone-white boulders of Seawall Beach. Lovely! Pack a bathing suit and, if you would like, go for a long walk along the long beach. No dogs allowed.
Directions: As you approach Bath, exit Route 1 onto Route 209 South (High Street) towards Phippsburg/Small Point/Sebasco/Popham Beach. Follow Route 209 South for 11.6 miles. Where Route 209 turns sharply left to Popham Beach, continue straight ahead on Route 216 for .4 of a mile. Turn left on Morse Mountain Road. Drive about 350 feet to the entrance of the parking lot on the left.