If looking for a way to start 2020 on the right foot, consider a walk in Maine’s snowy wilderness. And if you’d like some company or you don’t know what trail to explore, you’re in luck.
Five Maine state parks will be hosting guided First Day Hikes on Jan. 1, making it easy for people to kick off the New Year with a healthy outdoor activity.
The participating parks are Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, Holbrook Island Sanctuary in Brooksville, Lake St. George State Park in Liberty, Lily Bay State Park in Beaver Cove and Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport. The hikes will be led by park staff and volunteers. Distance and difficulty of the trails vary from park to park.
These guided hikes are a part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes program, which began more than 25 years ago at Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Massachusetts. All 50 states now participate in this program, which is sponsored by the National Association of State Park Directors.
The following list includes details about the Maine state park First Day Hikes. Dress warmly and wear suitable footwear. New Year’s Day is expected to be breezy, with mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 30s throughout much of Maine (warmer in the south and colder in the north, as is often the case). Park admission is free for participants.
Bradbury Mountain State Park, Pownal — A guided hike to the summit of Bradbury Mountain with Registered Maine Guide Jeanne Christie starting at 10 a.m. Along the way, you’ll learn about the history of the park and identify species and animal tracks. The plan is to hike to the summit on the Northern Loop Trail and descend to the base on the Terrace Trail, where hot cocoa will be available. Meet at the upper parking lot at 528 Hallowell Road in Pownal. Plan on one to two hours. Snowshoe rentals are available. For more information, call 207-688-4712 or Jeanne Christy at 207-310-8708.
Holbrook Island Sanctuary, Brooksville — A leisurely mile and a half walk from 1 to 3 p.m. to enjoy the peacefulness of the coast of Maine. The group will meet at the Backshore Trail parking area on Indian Bar Road on Cape Rosier in Brooksville. The walk will be on old roads to the Shoreline Trail with views of Holbrook and Islesboro Islands. The group will take a break at Goose Falls (a reversing tidal waterfall) and return by Back Road. Snacks and hot drinks will be provided. Leashed pets are welcome. For more information, call 207-326-4012.
Lake St. George State Park, Liberty — An easy 1-mile hike through the day use area and campground or a more challenging 3-mile hike across the lake around Hawaii 2 Island, dependent on ice conditions. The event starts at 10 a.m. and may run until 1 p.m. Meet at the first day use parking lot past the entry booth at 278 Belfast Augusta Road (Route 3) in Liberty. Bring snowshoes, creepers, skis and or hiking boots, and dress for the weather. A warming hut will be located inside the barn. Snacks and hot beverages will be provided. Leashed dogs are welcome. For more information, call 207-589-4255.
Lily Bay State Park, Beaver Cove — There will be two hikes: a 1-mile hike for beginners and a 3-mile hike for people looking for a longer trek. The event will run from noon to 3 p.m. Both hikes will be on fairly even woodland trails that visit the shore of Moosehead Lake. Snacks and hot drinks will be provided at the end of the hike, along with a warm bonfire. Meet at the entry booth parking lot on State Park Road, which is located off Lily Bay Road in Beaver Cove. For more information, call 207-695-2700.
Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, Freeport — An easy 0.3-mile guided walk to enjoy winter in the woods and learn about how plants and animals survive in the cold winter months. Meet at the picnic shelter by the second parking lot at 426 Wolf Neck Road in Freeport. The walk begins at 2 p.m. Plan for one hour. Pets are welcome but must be on a leash at all times. Hot cocoa and cookies will be provided after the hike. For information, call 207-865-4465.