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Cornwall Nature Preserve

These peaceful woodland trails wind their way through an abandoned farmstead, encountering stone walls, old-growth pines, numerous small brooks and an historic ice pond dam.
Trail Activity
Snowshoeing Cross-country-skiing Walking
3.00 miles, Network
Dirt/Forest Floor


The Cornwall Nature Preserve is a 147-acre historic farmstead that once held barns, orchards, fields, and an ice house and pond. Now, the heavily forested property contains 3 miles of meandering trails and is home to, among many other species, deer, coyotes, foxes, hares, old-growth pines and several varieties of fern.

The preserve is an excellent spot to explore the woods with the whole family. However, there are numerous steep pitches, some brook crossing and sections with roots and rocks which pose a moderate tripping hazard interspersed throughout the preserve.

Trails in the preserve are marked with blazes spray-painted on trees and a few numbered signs at junctions (though these don't match the blazes). The trail system can be confusing for first time visitors; being in a hurry is not advised.

The primary trail is the White Trail and it begins from the kiosk at the eastern edge of the parking lot and runs the width and length of the preserve, heading east for just under 0.2 miles and then south for about 0.8 miles. All other trails in the preserve depart from and return to the White Trail which is blazed white and numbered 1.

The northern network of trails can be accessed at several points along the first 0.4 miles of the White Trail, not far from the trailhead. These trails are blazed Orange #4, Blue, Yellow #3, Green/Lime #5, and Red/Green. They extend to the old stone wall which runs along the northern property boundary and pass by beautiful wildflower meadows and open woods thickly carpeted in ferns.

The southern network of trails departs from the White Trail near its terminus and features the Purple and Orange trails. The Purple trail skirts the property boundary near old stone walls and ancient pines before descending gently to the historic ice pond dam on the western property boundary. The old ice pond has now been successively overgrown by forest, but a brook remains.

For hikers wishing to return to the trailhead by an alternate route, the Red #6 Trail parallels the White Trail north-south.

Read about Enock's experience using a wheelchair on these trails in MTF Stories. Click here

Other Information

Hunting is allowed on this property. All visitors should wear orange during hunting season and keep pets nearby on a leash or under voice command.

The Cornwall Preserve is a gift to the town of Paris from Mrs. Alice Cornwall. Born in Minnesota on October 5, 1907, Mrs. Cornwall made the move to Maine in 1951 to begin a new marriage and a new life. The town of Paris was very different in those days. She remembers vast tracts of open land. "You could drive everywhere and see nothing but forest and fields," she said.

Located on Paris Hill, the Cornwall Preserve was donated to the town of Paris in 1982. Mrs. Cornwall's vision was that the property would remain forever green, providing the residents of Paris with a woodland sanctuary to protect and enjoy.

Donations or volunteer services for the preservation of this land will be accepted at the Paris Town Office.

Trail Manager

For more information please contact the Town of Paris.

Town of Paris
Paris Town Office
33 Market Square
South Paris, ME 04281
Phone: (207) 743-2501
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Nearby Events


Trail Tips

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Avoid hypothermia, even in warm weather, by limiting your sweat and exposure to cold water. Bring warm and dry clothes in case the shivers set in.
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Trailhead Information

From South Paris: Travel north on ME-26/Park Street and turn right to cross a bridge onto Paris Hill Road. In 1 mile, bear right and uphill to continue on Paris Hill Road. After another 0.7 miles, turn right into a small dirt parking lot just before Paris Hill Road turns sharply to the left and crests the hill into the populated neighborhood of Paris. You will see a green sign in the center of the parking lot that reads "Cornwall Nature Preserve".

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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October 07, 2020
Spent approximately 45 minutes walking with my best 4-legged friend on these trails. This area is made up of various loops. While there are blazes on the trees and some of the loops have numbers attached to them you have no way to identify what number goes to which trail; the only reference is back at the kiosk and there are no maps. Unless you want to keep using your phone as a reference it could be confusing for those without a good sense of direction. I would rate the marking system as mediocre. A few color coded laminated signs with "you are here" at the various trail intersections would make this a much better experience.
August 23, 2020
Hiked around the perimeter, turning left onto orange trail at first junction and staying at perimeter all the way to ice house; then back the white trail. On the ground trails had good blazes, but the trailhead map didn't seem to make sense or give info about the many loops & cross-cut trails (as are shown on ME Trail Finder, but without color-coding). So would probably be easy for folks without a good sense of direction to get dis-oriented. Some very beautiful woods to hike through! Looking forward to getting out here on snowshoes in the winter.
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