QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 418 acres
- Trail Mileage: 2.3-mile loop
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy to moderate
- Sights: Pleasant River, mossy woods, Otter Creek
What a lovely yet neglected preserve! In the summer of 2019, the trails were often quite overgrown. The trail signs were worn, but still legible. The 418 acres are protected by the Downeast Salmon Federation to protect habitat for the endangered Atlantic salmon and other native fish, wildlife, and plants. Preserving forest around rivers where salmon spawn keeps the water cool and provides woody debris for fish to hide in.
While the maps show you can access the preserve from two spots, the best way to begin your walk is on Cross Road in Columbia Falls (other maps shows an entrance off of Tibbetstown Road, but that access was really quite overgrown in summer 2019). You drive in along a gravel road for .2 or so miles until you see an old parking sign and the trailhead kiosk on your left.
From this point, there is a short spur to a small waterfall in Otter Brook. The Highlands Trail, and the start of the loop, is across the street. The trail takes you through a pretty forest before coming out on an overgrown old road. Take a left on this road and follow it to the river. You will see a small sign for the blazed river trail on your left. The river trail follows the slow moving Pleasant River for less than a half mile before turning into the woods and joining back up with the access road, which you walk along back to your parked car.
Directions: From Route 1 in Columbia Falls, go north on Tibbitstown Road for 2.7 mile. Take a left onto Cross Road. At .6 miles, take a left on Little River Road. There should be a preserve sign here. You can park .25-mile down the road on the left at the trailhead kiosk.