Recreation is an antidote for the high pressure of today’s hectic, 24×7, plugged-in world. It’s the balm that soothes the spirit. Spend time enjoying the outdoors with family, a loved one or alone with your own thoughts and you are refreshed and reinvigorated. And those great little happy pills called endorphins start to perform their magic on your sense of well-being.
At the Wolf Cove Inn, with its prime location in the Maine Central Lakes region, we have a bit of everything for the outdoor types to send you home with a smile on your face and feeling good about the world, all within 0 to 20 minutes of the Inn.
Recreation on Two Legs
There are oodles of recreation options for walking, hiking and running within a short distance of the Inn. I haven’t explored everywhere around the Inn yet, but for what I have covered, here are some of the best.
One of my favorites! You’ll find me trail running or mountain biking here 3-4 days a week, along with our dog, Gabby, who will cover about 3-4x my distance with her romps through the woods. About 10 minutes from the Inn, this area consists of a series of loops through mature pine and hardwood forests, trailside streams and trailside stream-cut gorges with great forest views. In total, there are almost 5 miles of loops, each unique in its own right. Whether trail running, mountain biking or hiking you will enjoy this beautiful area.
To get to the trails, head out the Inn driveway and across route 11 onto Tripp Lake Road. Follow to the end then right onto Route 26. Pass through the center of town (such as it is) and you’ll see a road on the left adjacent to the parked school buses. Take that left onto Aggregate Road, go past the fire station, over a small bridge and hang a right onto Plains Road. Follow to the end (about three miles) then take a right onto Empire Road. The trailhead is on the left by an unmarked gravel parking lot just past the entrance to Range State Park. There is a map of the area on the left after less than a minute on the trail (just before you reach the double-track trail). That double-track provides access to all hiking/single-track trails in the area.
Please be aware that this area is open to hunters during hunting season. Be sure to wear orange or other bright colors. Avoid wearing antlers or bushy white tails from October to early December.
Bri-Mar Trail on Rattlesnake Mountain
My other favorite! About 10 minutes from the Wolf Cove Inn, this is a moderate hiking and recreation trail through the woods with about 600 feet of elevation gain. At only three miles round trip, you will experience a number of great scenic vistas with views of area lakes and at one point some great views of Sebago Lake and the Presidential Mountains. On the way up (map), where there are forks in the trail, always stay on the leftmost trail – the right forks are short, dead-ends – nothing wrong with doing them, just no scenic rewards on those spurs. For the casual hiker plan on 1.5-2 hours round trip, including just “chillin with Buddha” time at the scenic vistas. For those power hikers (that would be me!) you can cover this in an hour. Final important piece of advice – don’t stop when you think you’ve reached the top! Proceed gradually downhill for about 1/4 – 1/3 of a mile (there is a slightly steeper pitch toward the end of that distance) until you reach not the first scenic overlook, but rather the second scenic overlook. Here is where you’ll be rewarded with great views of Sebago Lake and the Presidential Mountain Range section of the White Mountains.
To get there, travel south on route 11 about 6 miles. At route 85 turn left and follow for about a mile. The trailhead is adjacent to an open field with a small parking lot on the right opposite the house at 737 Webbs Mills Road. A cable slung between two posts demarks the starting point. If you need lunch, Webbs Mills Eats at the intersection of routes 11 and 85 has really good stuff. We especially like the Turkey Reuben.
Though not posted for hunting, I have seen an occasional hunter in there during hunting season. Be sure to wear orange or other bright colors. Again, please avoid wearing antlers or bushy white tails from October to early December.
For something of a more casual walk, or your daily jog, Jordan Shore Drive is a great option. Winding along Tripp Lake, you’ll have many great views of pristine Tripp Lake and you’ll have a chance to meet our neighbors – all very nice folks. You may also spot the Loons on the lake. And keep an eye out for Jacque (she may have checked you in at the Inn) along the way – she’s likely out there tending here beautiful gardens and lawn.
Starting from our driveway, take a right onto Jordan Shore Drive and enjoy a scenic walk or run along the lake. It’s 1.25 miles to the end of Jordan Shore Drive, 2.5 miles round trip. Want to add a bit more distance? On the return leg, keep going past the Inn onto Garland Swamp Road – to the end and back adds another 1 mile of lakefront distance.
Bragdon Hill Conservation Area
Only five minutes from the Wolf Cove Inn, this conservation area consists of approximately 455 acres of mixed forest habitat and recreation trails. Many of the trees have markers to help you identify what you are seeing. There are a number of hiking loops (hiking boots or good sneakers recommended) that take you past a variety of local tree types and points of interest. Though volunteers from the town have installed muddy area traverses (that’s what they are doing in this —> picture), there may still be muddy spots in the wet periods. As such I recommend leaving the Guccis and Louis Vuittons at the Inn.
To get there, depart the Inn and travel about 2 miles south on route 11. At North Raymond Road, turn left and proceed about one mile. There is a small parking lot with a sign for the Conservation Area on the left. Point “0” on the map is the trailhead located off of North Raymond Road.
Enjoy 40 km of beautifully-groomed Maine Cross Country Ski and recreation trails. Located in Oxford (the next town over from Poland), the center has some of the best beginner to intermediate trails in New England. Their Ski Equipment Center has one of Maine and New England’s largest Cross Country Ski inventories and the expert service to ensure your X-C Ski equipment is properly outfitted so you can enjoy your day on the trails.
To get there, depart the Inn and head north on route 11. About a mile down route 11 you’ll reach route 26. Take a left and Carter’s will be on your left after about 4.7 miles (you’ll pass Oxford Casino on the way – Wicked Good Fun!)
So there you have it. As you can see there is no shortage of recreation opportunities around the Wolf Cove Inn. And the are plenty more that I’ll be talking about in future recreation blogs. See you on the trails!