QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: Not sure
- Trail Mileage: 1.2 miles one way
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy
- Sights: old fort, bay views
If you want to get away from the sun and the beach crowds, you can head out on this delightful and easy trail to check out a crumbling old fort, or rather, its batteries, as well as a couple of nice spots by the bay.
The Perkins Farm Trail is a 1.2-mile easy walk one-way along a wide path through lovely woods to Fort Baldwin’s series of three interesting batteries (Cigan, Hardman, and Hawley) built between 1905 and 1912. A hit with kids, the batteries have dripping tunnels, bricked living quarters with fireplaces, and crumbling stairs to explore. You can climb to the top of the grassy bunkers and see a view through the trees of the sea. Go a bit farther on the path, and you wind up at a small park at the shore with a view across the bay. From this point, if you want to continue exploring, you can walk through the charming beachside community at Sabino Head to check out the grand ruins of Fort Popham and the end of Popham Beach.
Fort Baldwin is now a state historic site. With Fort Baldwin and the nearby Civil-war-era Fort Popham, this little hill at the mouth of the Kennebec River was heavily fortified! Meander Maine describes Fort Baldwin as “a small, hidden U.S Army artillery fortification.” It was built between 1905 and 1912 and garrisoned during both World Wars. The soldiers were ready to use mounted guns. (If you know what these mean, the state describes the weapons as three-inch guns, six-inch pedestal guns, and a six-inch disappearing gun.) In total, two hundred soldiers were stationed at both forts during WWI from the 13th and 29th Coast Artillery. In WWII, the 8th Coast Artillery moved in. But no battle ever came near here and Fort Baldwin was decommissioned in 1949.
If you’re starting at Perkins Farm Lane, you’ll reach a spur trail at 0.4 miles that brings you to a view. The path to the batteries is blazed in yellow, and continues straight at the intersection. You’ll reach the fire tower and first old battery at around 0.8 of a mile. From end to end, the trail is about 1.2 miles.
Directions: From Popham State Park, continue on Route 209 to the east for 650 feet. Take a left on Perkins Farm Lane, drive almost to the end and park at a small lot on the left. There’s room for about two cars. You can also park at the Fort Baldwin State Historic Site at the off of Fort Baldwin Road.