QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: ~300 acres
- Trail Mileage: ~ 1 mile
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy
- Sights: Shaker history, sacred sites, cow fields
I hiked the Shrine Trail because it is listed on Maine Trail Finder (which recommends you visit the Alfred Shaker Museum nearby to learn about the history of this area’s Shaker community). And there is a trail sign at the start of the trail indicating that the current religious community, the Brothers of Christian Instruction, welcome walkers on their public trail. That being said, I didn’t get the sense that many people walk here, which is too bad, because the one-mile loop is quite interesting.
The trail starts out on a dirt track, lined with the stations of the cross. You’ll pass a neat, orderly cemetery and a few cows. When the track shortly reaches a shrine, it takes a left turn, gradually climbing past a field. When the path turns left again, go left!, and disregard the little green arrow pointing to a narrow path leading off into the woods. I am not sure what these green arrows indicate (there are several throughout the woods): perhaps they are the remnants of an old trail system, or the aspirational start to an as-yet developed system? But when I followed them, I got led into trail-less sections of the forest.
So, if you’ve ignored the green arrows, you’ll continue to follow the obvious path to a pretty granite outcropping with a cross at the top. Then you’ll head back to the field behind the buildings and the parking area.
You can go for a swim afterwards at the nearby town park, Brothers Beach.
Directions: From Alfred village center, follow Rt. 202 east for 1.1 miles. Veer right onto Shaker Hill Road. Continue .5 miles up Shaker Hill. Look for trailhead and parking on your right. The trail sign indicates where you should park.