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Amherst Mountains Community Forest - Ducktail and Partridge Pond Trails

Located within easy striking distance from Bangor, Brewer, and Ellsworth, the Partridge and Ducktail Ponds Trails provide access to remote feeling ponds and primitive camping, and a nearby day-use area.
Trail Activity
Hiking
Length
3.3 miles, Network
Difficulty
Moderate
Town
Amherst
Surface
Dirt/Forest Floor, Rock/Ledge
Pets
Permitted
Fees
No

Description

By hiking the Ducktail and Partridge Pond Trails and a section of road between the two trail's trailheads, hikers can explore both ponds via a 3.3 mile loop route. This description begins at the Ducktail Pond trailhead.

The Ducktail Pond Trail travels steeply at times uphill from the road. The narrow and at times quite rocky footpath loosely parallels Ducktail Brook up to the pond, which is reached in a little under half a mile. At the pond's outlet, look for a place to ford the small outlet stream to continue on the trail as it swings along the southeast edge of the pond. Shortly after crossing the outlet, the trail passes by a primitive campsite.

Roughly 0.3 miles past the outlet of Ducktail Pond, the trail connects to the Partridge Pond trails. This link from Ducktail Pond and much of the other trail segments near Partridge Pond are generally wider than the Ducktail Pond segment. Here, the trail passes over a diverse forest floor, including granite outcroppings, and lower, wetter areas. The Partridge Pond Trails also show signs of past ATV use, prior to the Bureau of Parks and Lands owning the property.

At the intersection 0.3 miles from Ducktail Pond's outlet, turn right to head west/northwest towards Partridge Pond. Turn left to head towards the road and the Partridge Pond trailhead. Heading towards Partridge Pond, It is another 0.3 miles to reach second junction. Bear right to reach the southeast shore of the pond and a primitive campsite reached by crossing a small outlet near an attractive ledge shelf that the stream plunges over. Continue past the campsite a short ways to reach a granite ledge beach worth a visit.

To return to the main trail loop, retrace your steps back to the first T intersection described above. Continue heading straight (southeast) to reach the Partridge Pond trailhead. It is roughly 0.8 miles to reach the road. On the way, the trail passes through a section of forest harvested not long before the property was purchased. Skidder ruts, regenerating trees, and other signs of harvesting are readily apparent.

It is approximately a 0.7 miles walk along the road from Partridge Pond trailhead to Ducktail Pond trailhead, thus completing a loop including both ponds. Visitors may also choose to visit a small day-use area with picnic tables along Indian Camp Stream; it is roughly 0.2 miles one-way from the parking area at the Ducktail Pond trailhead to the day-use area on the stream. Look for the access trail at the rear of the parking area.

Other Information

There are primitive campsites at each pond, with an outhouse at Ducktail Pond and a small box style privy ("wet willie") at Partridge. If camping, camp responsibly (see Leave No Trace principles for more information on appropriate techniques). 

On June 18, 2009 the Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands purchased the 4,974 acre Amherst Mountains Community Forest parcel with funding from the federal Forest Legacy Program and the Land for Maine’s Future Program. The property is to be managed through a unique state-municipal-private partnership. The Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands owns the property but it will be managed jointly with the Town of Amherst, which will receive assistance from the Forest Society of Maine.

LMF Logo

This trail passes through a property that was acquired in part with funds from the Land for Maine’s Future program. For more information about the LMF program and the places it has helped to protect, please visit the LMF webpage.

LMF Logo

This trail was made possible in part with funds from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund (MOHF). For more information about MOHF and the wildlife and conservation projects it has contributed to, please visit the MOHF webpage.

 

Trail Manager

Visit Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands online for more information and a detailed trail guide or contact:

Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands
106 Hogan Road, Suite 5, 2nd Floor
Bangor, ME 04401
Phone: (207) 941-4412
doug.c.reed@maine.gov
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Trail Tips

Minimize Campfire Impacts
Follow the Maine Forest Service fire regulations and check the current fire danger level before you go camping.
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Trailhead Information

The Amherst Mountains Community Forest property is accessed via ME Route 9 ("the Airline") in the Town of Amherst. Look for a blue yard-arm sign indicating the access road for the property, which is on the north side of the road. Shortly after turning onto the gravel access road listed on Google Earth and DeLorme atlases as the Ducktail Pond Road, there is a set of signs with distances to recreation sites listed. There are two trailheads for this trail; this description starts at the Ducktail Pond trailhead (second trailhead) further north on the road, reached at  approximately 2 miles from ME Route 9. Parking is available in a lot on the right-hand side of the road. The parking area provides access to the Ducktail Pond Trail as well as the Indian Stream Day Use Area reached via a short trail from the back of the parking lot.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
Please Log In or Create Account to add comments.
currysr3
July 13, 2020
Explored 3 out of the 5 trails located within the Amherst Mountains Community Forest parcel yesterday. Driving from Brewer, we took the second "Amherst Public Land" sign on the left-hand side of Route 9. If you get to junction 181, you've gone too far.

Once on the dirt road, also called Ducktail Pond Rd. on Google Maps, there are a few sharp rocks to be cautious of but overall it was easy traveling, even with a car. (Be aware if you drive past Bald Bluff Mountain, the road will take you to Stud Mill Rd. -- and actually not too far from Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge trails.)

We first hiked the short trail (0.1 mile) to Indian Stream Day Use Area and then across road to Ducktail Pond Trail -- shared parking area for the two trails. Definitely steep in areas but worth the trek! With water levels low, we had no problem getting across the inlet to the campsite on Ducktail Pond - we crossed in two separate areas to and from. The only obstacle was a large tree down across path that you have to climb over. We couldn't stand around for long because of the insects. Bug spray is a must and wearing long sleeves/pants helps deter horsefly bites. We opted to save Bald Bluff Mountain and Partridge Pond trail for another day.

Back on Route 9 heading back towards Brewer, we went down the other road with "Amherst Public Lands" signage. This takes you to Halfmile Pond. You follow the road until you get to a small grassy parking area -- it looks like the trail continues into the trees but you quickly find that it's foot traffic only beyond that point. The trail is to the left and starts with a few rocks stacked as steps. The path is steep and eroded in a couple places. Once down to the pond, there is a beautiful view! It was less buggy in this area.

Overall, neat area to go and fairly close to the Brewer/Bangor area. Cell service can be spotty, so you’ll want to have hard copy maps or high resolution images on phone. There were only a handful of people out yesterday, so easy to social distance!
wpie
May 11, 2020
Accurate description. Hidden gem of Hancock County. Feels as remote as northern Maine woods but less than an hour from Bangor and still in the land of cell phone reception. Recommended.
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