Posted on August 17, 2023 and last updated on August 17, 2023

Tower Hill and Storybook Trails, Grand Lake Stream


  • Preserve Size: 21,870 acres
  • Trail Mileage: ~3.5-mile loop
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: easy to moderate
  • Sights: Bonney Brook Lake, wooden fire tower, cedar forest

You can combine the 0.8-mile Storybook Trail with the 3.3-mile Tower Hill Trail at this well-marked, connected trail system maintained by Downeast Lakes Land Trust. It is part of the Downeast Lakes Community Forest’s 57,000-plus acres, which includes several large lakes.

The first half of Storybook Trail includes panels for the illustrated pages from children’s books. The highlights of this trail for me were the board bogs winding through the cedar forest. Parts of the trail are rooty and rocky.

The highlight of the longer Tower Hill trail was an outlook at Bonney Brook Lake, a lily-strewn wide section of the brook. Unfortunately there is a road close by and sometimes loud trucks roar by. The path crosses the road a couple of times, but is well marked at these junctions. This trail is narrow and windy, and mostly flat, with one steep hill made easy with switchbacks.

I never doubted my way on the forested footpaths, but got a bit confused as I tried to make my way back along the dirt roads. If you’re going counter-clockwise, you will emerge from the footpath onto a road across from a camp road call Pappy’s Way. Turn left and follow the dirt road, which is marked with land trust signs. Soon you’ll reach an intersection with a snowmobile trail heading steeply up on your left, which wasn’t marked when I visited in 2023. Take this left—be careful of the loose rock—to the trail intersection and the fire tower just beyond. The rickety, locked tower, built in 1934, is the oldest enclosed fire tower in Maine, and the land trust would like to restore it for the public.

Directions: There are two trailheads, one at 214 Milford Road. You’ll see the trail sign for Storybook Trail at the back of the clearing. The other is closer to the fire tower. To get here from Milford Road, take Church Street until it becomes Tower Road and ends at a parking area. Walk up the hill for a short ways, and you’ll see the tower in a small clearing. There is a parking area here, on the left. You can also park at the Grand Stream Dam and walk up.

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