Posted on September 23, 2023 and last updated on September 23, 2023

Pleasant Lake Preserve, Stetson


  • Preserve Size: 150 acres
  • Trail Mileage: 4.4 miles
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
  • Sights: Pleasant Lake, wetland

You can tell people who live nearby really appreciate this amazing spot, with regulars who come often with their dogs. A landowner (Kent Hewitt) gifted the 100-acre peninsula and adjacent 50-acre wetland to the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust in 2010. Today you can do a fairly long loop walk around the peninsula or out-and-back to some beautiful viewpoints.

If you do the whole trail system, it’s about 4.4 miles — 0.9 mile down the wide, easy access road to the 2-mile narrower loop trail (and definitely don’t skip the 0.3-mile there-and-back to a mossy, picnic spot by the lake, marked with a red icon on my map). I’m sure some people swim here.

If you don’t have time to do the full loop, I recommend walking down the access road to the preserve’s beautiful picnic spot by the lake, off the Cape Trail. This is about 2.8 miles there and back. At about 0.8 miles, the access road bends left and you’ll cross a wetland, a beautiful section of the trail. At the intersection with the loop trail, take a right, along the Cape Trail, and you’ll reach the turn-off to the shore trail in about 0.2 miles. It’s approximately 0.3 miles down this side trail to the water. There are two picnic tables close to the water’s edge.

The walking is through forest, so expect roots and rocks. But it is mostly flat.

Directions: The preserve is located off Route 143, or Dixmont Road, about seven miles north from Interstate 95. Watch for the preserve sign on the right which marks the preserve access road. (If you reach the intersection with Route 222, you have gone a mile too far.) Once you turn into the preserve, you’ll see a small opening big enough for two cars on the left. Or you can continue up the gravel driveway to the bigger lot and trailhead kiosk at the top of the hill. The land trust says that volunteer snow plowers keep the small pull-off open during the winter.

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