“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”- John Muir
Few things can feel as completely rewarding as heading out on a new trail to see where it leads. Perhaps it’s the simplicity of putting one foot in front on the other, over and over again, propelling you forward, upward, or wherever the path may lead. Solo, or with your favorite hiking buddy, getting outdoors with just your own two feet for propulsion creates a feeling of empowerment, a self-sustaining pursuit done simply for the pure pleasure of it. If you need to clear your mind or restore your soul, a walk in the woods is the best medicine.
“Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein
Fortunately, for guests of the Wolf Cove Inn, several easy to moderate trails are within a 5 to 20-minute drive of our location. Each one offers something unique. From views of Sebago Lake and the Presidential Mountains, to glacial boulders and natural caves, with every footfall you’ll discover something inspirational.
Heart of Poland
Literally in the heart of Poland, this network of 5 color-coded trails covers 2.5 miles offering moderately challenging hiking. Take the Huntress Trail to explore a vernal pool along the way, and follow a short spur to a former stone quarry. The Cave Trail leads to a small natural hillside cave, while the White Oak Trail, not surprisingly, ends in a grove of white oak, not native to this area.
Bragdon Hill Conservation Area
A system of approximately 3.5 miles of trails, well-marked by tree blazes, wends through forests of beech and hemlock. This is an easy hike, although it can be muddy in spots. Rest assured that a series of bog bridges will help you navigate the worst of them.
Bri Mar Trail on Rattlesnake Mountain
Another moderate hiking option just a 10-minute drive from the Inn in Raymond, Maine, the Bri Mar Trail leads from the small parking area off Webbs Mills Road up the slope of Rattlesnake Mountain. Follow the main path towards the summit, avoiding the short spurs that lead to the right, for an exquisite view of Sebago Lake and the Presidential Range. Round trip this trail is a short 3 miles, with modest elevation gain of 600 feet.
Insider tip: There’s a great hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop at the intersection of Route 11 and Webbs Mills Road (also known at Route 85) called Webbs Mills Eats. They have some unique sandwiches there, a favorite being the Turkey Reuben.
Range Pond State Park
While the main draw to this state park is the pond itself for swimming, picnicking, and fishing, for the casual hiker, two miles of easy trekking along old logging trails makes for a delightful afternoon in the great outdoors. A canopy of white birch and maple trees plays host to a variety of songbirds, and the observant hiker may encounter white-tailed deer.
Insider tip: The park extends to the other side of Empire Road across from the main entrance. The hiking trails are even more interesting with swamp views, a little stream that has cut a valley through the area and some nice terrain changes and scenery.
Libby Hills Trails
If you’re looking for a remote location to get away from it all, look no further than the Libby Hills Trails in Gray, Maine. Only 20 minutes from the Inn, here you’ll find a network of looping trails enjoyed by hikers, mountain bikers, and cross-country skiers. The Turkey Trot, Moose Odyssey, and Deer Run trails offer easy walking, if you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, tackle the Holmquist Hollow trail.
Roberts Farm Preserve
At 165 acres, Roberts Farm Preserve offers a little something for everyone, including an ADA compliant loop trail. This 8-foot wide, well-groomed trail leads to a gorgeous view of Lake Pennesseewassee and the mountains in the distance. Located in nearby Norway, Maine, runners, hikers, and mountain bikers frequent this easily accessible preserve.
Shepard Farm Preserve
Also located in Norway, Maine, this 4.5-mile network of trails traverses undulating farm land and the woods of Crockett Ridge. Tackle the 2-mile Witt Swamp Trail, or the easier half-mile Half Witt Trail. Of added interest, the Shepard Farm Preserve is part of the state-wide Langlais Art Trail, featuring 6 of the artist’s sculptures.
Witt Swamp Preserve
Named after Benjamin Witt, Norway’s first blacksmith, this 141-acre piece of property offers a mile long loop trail that meanders through peaceful forests of birch, oak and hemlock. Along the way you’ll stumble upon glacial boulders, a cedar boardwalk, and stone steps. Exquisitely beautiful in spring when wildflowers bloom, come fall you find wild mushrooms dot the landscape.
Head toward Auburn, Maine for an opportunity to search for the tailings of an old quarry once noted for gem-quality tourmaline. The moderately difficult Blue Loop Trail links abandoned quarry sites with slag piles and giant boulders. The steep ledges are not for the faint of heart, but the wildflowers that bloom in the spring are reward enough for the effort.
More Insider Tips:
- If you’re a morning hiker headed to Norway and want to grab some lunch on the way back to the Inn, there’s an excellent clam/lobster shack on Route 26 that’s midway between Norway and the Inn. It’s called The Lost Gull and they have nice fried clams, lobster rolls and a great haddock chowder.
- If you’re going out for an afternoon hike in Norway, you may want to stop and experience some of the local craft beer scene. Norway Brewing Company and Oxbow Beer Garden are two places you’ll pass on your way back to the Inn. Check out our Western Maine Beer Trail blog for more information.
- For more ideas on what to do in Norway, check out our Exploring Downtown Norway blog for hints on renting bikes, where to shop, and great places to eat.
So, break out those hiking boots and plan your next visit to see us at the Wolf Cove Inn in Poland, Maine, where you can immerse yourself in a Maine country lakeside setting. Remember, “The Loons of The Lake Are Calling You”.