Essex Woods

What was once a local dump-site, is now a beautiful example of our ability to assist the rebuilding of the natural landscape. There are numerous hiking and biking trails here and dogs are permitted without a leash.
Trail Activity
2.3 miles, Network
Dirt/Forest Floor, Gravel/Crushed Stone


The hill at Essex Woods is a popular site for sledding in the winter; but in the spring, summer, and fall the area is full of life and natural beauty. If you are interested in bird-watching, hiking, running, or mountain biking; this is a great spot to check out.

Beginning at the parking area you will see a kiosk, this marks one of the main trails in the system (you'll want to bring your own map as there are none currently at the kiosk). This trail travels though planted White Pine and Red spruce and is well-graded gravel/dirt. Trail meanders gently downhill through Crabapple, Red Maple, Wild Strawberry and Paper Birch; on the left 3/4 of the way down the trail is another trail that heads toward the water towers (look for the large, flattened gravel patch). This gravel/packed dirt uphill trail takes you over a small wooden bridge and beautiful rocky outcroppings.

Continuing downhill, the trail splits off to the left and right; the trails in this area surround a wetland with diverse wildlife and plant species If you head to the left you will find forested wetland and shrub marsh with plant species such as Purple Trillium, Sensitive Fern and Speckled Alder. This trail ends abruptly at a Private Property sign, then you turn back the way you came. The trails in this area are very flat and easy to navigate, with a mix of gravel and packed-dirt footbeds. Heading to the right at the main trail will bring you through Quaking Aspen, Gray Birch, and Cat-Tail marsh. As you move further along, the wetland opens up and the views are fantastic.  The area here is bordered by the interstate, but the Painted Turtles, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Tree Swallows, and Mallard Ducks make that just seem to disappear. This area is a great spot for bird-watching as the snags in the wetland house many species. The trail goes around a bend, then continues straight toward the residential area on the Northeast border of the park. The trail ends at the residential area and there is a kiosk with a map and "doggie bags" at this location.

Another trail is accessible from west side of the parking area; this gravel path heads uphill toward the water towers and through Red Pine/mixed forest. Bike paths can be seen branching off of the main path here as can beautiful outcrops of exposed slate. Continuing up this trail will lead you to the water towers and once past the water towers the trail meets up with another trail, previously mentioned, that heads downhill. Going straight at this point leads to the powerlines and an abundance of Wintergreen and Blueberries. There is a trail that follows the powerlines downhill, but this trail can be impassable during wet periods.

There are many smaller, less well-marked paths intertwining throughout this property that are primarily used as bike paths. Although the area here is only about 70 acres, having access to the map of the property or bringing a GPS along will help if you want to wander.

Other Information

Dogs are permitted without a leash. Please pick up and pack out all waste.

Trail Manager

Visit Bangor Parks and Recreation online for more information or contact:

Bangor Parks and Recreation

Bangor Parks and Recreation
647 Main Street
Bangor, ME 04401
Phone: (207) 992-4490
View website

Nearby Events


Trail Tips

Dispose of Waste Properly
Wash your dishes at least 200 feet away from water sources, use biodegradable soap sparingly, and scatter the dishwater.
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Trailhead Information

From I-95 Northbound: Take exit 185, the Broadway (ME-15) exit; turn left onto Broadway. At the next light (0.4 miles) turn left onto Stillwater Avenue. On Stillwater Avenue you will take a left at the next light (0.1 miles) onto Essex Street. Travel 0.8 miles on Essex Street and turn right onto Watchmaker Street (this is a short distance from the I-95 overpass). Parking is at the end of the street.

From I-95 Southbound: Take exit 185, the Broadway (ME-15) exit; turn left onto Broadway. Travel 0.6 miles to the Stillwater Avenue intersection, take a left onto Stillwater Avenue. At the next light (0.1miles, take a left onto Essex Street. Go 0.8 miles on Essex Street and take a right onto Watchmaker Street. Parking is located at the end of the street.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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