What’s that you say? You haven’t yet explored the miles of hiking and biking trails that meander through the 2,400-acre campus of Good Will-Hinckley? Well, there’s no better time to explore this lovely and overlooked woodland.
Here, midway between Waterville and Skowhegan, you will find a gentle and historic forest dotted with crumbling stone monuments, archways and fire circles. These were built at the beginning of the last century by the nature-loving folks at Dartmouth College and other fine institutions, and now are being reclaimed by the implacable wilderness.
The trails, about 25 miles in total, wend and wander and are not entirely clearly marked, but you can’t really get too turned around. You may feel like you’re lost by the waters of Babylon, but you’re never very far from the campus roadways.
The mission of the venerable Good Will-Hinckley school is changing, but the trails are open to the public and waiting to be discovered by you and your family. While you’re there, be sure to visit the truly astonishing L.C. Bates Museum, housed in a handsome 1903 Romanesque Revival brick school building and featuring a global collection of natural history, art, Americana, and Native American artifacts. Where else are your kids going to see a cassowary?
There’s an arboretum, too, and picnic tables.
Getting there: Follow Route 201 north from Waterville toward Skowhegan. At about the 10-mile mark, watch for the Bates Museum on your left. Park behind the museum; trail maps are available inside.