Small investment, big payoff. That may sound like the pitch from an e-mail stock scheme, but it in fact describes a short hike in Rockport that provides views of Penobscot Bay rivaling those from mountains twice the height.
Beech Hill rises steeply and steadily from Route 1 in Rockport, but most of the gain in altitude comes in the drive up Beech Hill Road, not the hike. Beech Hill Road is a right turn about two miles south of Camden village. Drive about 1½ miles up Beech Hill Road. Look for the small gravel parking lot on the left.
The property was secured by the local Coastal Mountains Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and when you hike the old Jeep road seven-tenths of a mile to the top, you’ll know why.
The old road passes through organic blueberry fields — don’t let your dogs wander into the bushes during the summer — and up a gentle but steady rise.
At the summit (elevation 522 feet), the views are stunning. You feel you can reach down and touch the Indian Island Lighthouse in Rockport Harbor. The Rockland Breakwater is also visible and Chickawaukie Lake is to the southwest.
Out on the horizon lie Vinalhaven and North Haven and a dozen smaller islands. On especially clear days, the cliffs of Monhegan Island are visible.
At the summit sits a fieldstone building with a sod roof, constructed at the turn of the 20th century and restored in recent years by Coastal Mountains Land Trust. This is a great spot to sit and take in the views.
— Tom Groening, BDN Staff
Beech Hill Road is a right turn about tow mils south of Camden village. Drive about 1.5 miles up Beech Hill Road. Look for the small gravel parking lot on left.