QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: 2,019 acres
- Trail Mileage: ~7 miles in network
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy
- Sights: abandoned farm houses, sweeping meadows, campground, old cemetery
This is a magical place. I am breaking my rules here a bit because you can’t get here by foot! You have to boat here on your own, or go for a short ferry ride across the river from downtown Richmond (it takes about 30 seconds to cross). It’s $8 for a day pass. The island, which is managed by the state, is open from May 1 to the end of October. I also didn’t map the trails because I was with my very slow nieces (ages 2 and 4) and we didn’t walk more than a mile.
I visited here the first weekend in October, 2015, and I fell in love, like so many visitors have done before me. There are abandoned farm houses (the island was deserted in the 1930s), a long and well-documented history with lots of tragic stories, sweeping meadows, a bucolic campground, a cemetery (maybe more than one?), about seven miles of walking on trails and on the old main road, stillness and quiet. You can also borrow one of the island bicycles and even a canoe/kayak, I believe. The island is four miles long, 2,019 acres, .5 miles wide, and has freshwater tidal flats. Its biggest population reached 100 people in 1860.
Definitely don’t miss this spot! The ferry runs several times a day and you need to make a reservation.
Directions: Take I-295 to exit 43 (Richmond/Litchfield). Follow Rte.197 east for three miles to Richmond Village. Turn left at the T-junction at the bottom of the hill (intersection of Rtes. 197 and 24). The Swan Island parking lot is on your immediate right, and has a large State of Maine sign.