Holbrook Island Sanctuary - Mainland

Holbrook Island Sanctuary offers visitors the unique opportunity to explore an incredibly diverse ecosystem whose future is being shaped by natural forces rather than human hands.
Trail Activity
Snowshoeing Cross-country-skiing Walking Hiking
7.50 miles, Network
Easy, Moderate
Dirt/Forest Floor, Gravel/Crushed Stone, Grass


Holbrook Island Sanctuary boasts a truly unique outdoor experience. A network of old roads, paths and animal trails leads visitors to explore shoreline, forests, ponds, and marsh.

The Backshore Trail (0.7 mile, easy) offers a leisurely walk from Indian Bar Road through old estate fields to the shore of the Penobscot Bay. During the stroll hikers may view bald eagles and osprey overhead; comb the beach to find the remains of sand dollars, sea urchins, and horseshoe crabs; or spot seals on the seaside ledges.

Three sanctuary trails provide access to Fresh Pond. The Fresh Pond Trail (1.4 miles, easy) begins from Otis Gray Road and consists of a simple, wooded path up and around the pond. The Iceworks Trail (2 miles, moderate) also takes hikers through stands of spruce-fir, pine, and mixed hardwood forests, intersecting with the Fresh Pond Trail.  The third and most challenging trail leading to Fresh Pond is Aaron Trail (1.6, moderate). Aaron Trail, while partially wooded, also passes through old estate fields, traversing some steep grades. No matter the path one chooses, once reaching Fresh Pond, be on the lookout for beaver dams, muskrat lodges made of cattails, great blue herons and osprey.

The Beaver Flowage Trail (1.1 miles, easy) offers a similar user experience to that of Fresh Pond. Hikers will be led down a open woods path, around beaver flowage, starting from and returning to Back Road. Be on watch for beaver and muskrat lodges, deer and raccoon tracks, and the abundant wildflowers inherent to all of the sanctuary each spring and fall.

Backwoods Mountain resides between Beaver Flowage and Fresh Pond. The "mountain" made of volcanic ash rock can be accessed by two trails. The Summit Trail (0.9 miles, moderate) is a short, steep hike up the wooded mountain, with scenic coastal views. Conversely, the Mountain Loop Trail (1.7 miles, easy) skirts around the perimeter of the mountain.

Goose Falls Trail (0.8 mile, easy) is a shoreline hike between the dock area parking lot and Goose Falls. The trail gives stunning views of Penobscot Bay and Holbrook Island. Look for gulls, cormorants, and bay ducks while enjoying the ocean breeze. Also explore Bakeman Cemetery along the way.

The Bakeman Farm Trail (0.6 mile, easy) begins from Cape Rosier Road, crossing open fields to the Bakeman foundation and beaver flowage, returning to Cape Rosier Road. Squirrels, porcupine, woodpeckers, thrushes, warblers, and ruffed grouse can be spotted along this trail, as well as throughout the sanctuary.

Holbrook Island Sanctuary trails can also be enjoyed for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. To allow year-round access, some parking areas are maintained during winter months.

View the Holbrook Island Sanctuary page on BPL's website.

Other Information

Please observe the posted rules. Park hours are from 9:00am until sunset. No fees are charged, however, there is a donation can by the floats and the proceeds are used for the upkeep and maintenance of the Park and Island. There is one free visitor mooring near the docks on Holbrook Island and two free visitor moorings in Tom Cod Cove on the mainland, please share.

Camping is not permitted anywhere in the park or on the Island. Open fires are not permitted on the Island or the beaches, but charcoal cookers and Coleman stoves are permitted on the beaches. Dogs must be leashed at all times and are not allowed on the beaches.

Trail Manager

Visit Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands online for more information or contact:

Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park

Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park
PO Box 35
Brooksville, ME 04617
Phone: (207) 326-4012

Nearby Events


Trail Tips

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Respect trail closures.
Hide All

Trailhead Information

Proceed to Holbrook Island Sanctuary via US Route 1 and ME Route 3. From Bucksport follow US Route 1/ME Route 3 east for approximately 1 mile. Turn right (southbound) onto ME Route 175/Castine Road and continue south on ME Route 175 for 16.8 miles. Turn right to follow the convergence of ME Routes 175/176. After 1.1 miles turn right to continue southbound on ME Route 176. Take the first left onto Varnumville Road/Varnum Road. After 2.6 miles turn left, returning to ME Route176/Coastal Road. After 1.7 miles take a right onto Cape Rosier Road, which provides access to all roads within the Sanctuary.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
Please Log In or Create Account to add comments.
April 13, 2023
This is regarding the Holbrook Island Sanctuary trail map. The descriptions are nice. Why aren't the trail NAMES on the map. How is a person supposed to plan their hike when they have no idea where they'll be going until they get there? (I assume that the trails are actually marked.)
February 13, 2019
From our friends at the Bureau of Parks and Lands: Many of the State Park trails are/were old town roads that have been discontinued and are now maintained for hiking/walking purposes. Several pass close to old family burial sites. Access is available for descendants to visit and crews or volunteers to perform maintenance during the summer months.
February 09, 2019
Please remember that the family cemeteries within the Holbrook Sanctuary are not for your entertainment. My ancestors did not ask to be within your hiking space. They were buried near their home places. Please be respectful of the pioneers who worked hard and died on Cape Rosier. My family's gravesites are not your amusement park.
These awesome businesses support our goal of connecting people to outdoor adventures in Maine!
Hang Tight!
Nearby services are loading
No Results
No Services Found

Add Trail Log

Please wait…
Join In on the Fun!
Log in or create an account below to unlock all the great features of Maine trail finder: keep track of trails you want to do, preserve memories of trails you’ve done, earn badges, and more!
Your log in attempt was not successful. Please try again.
    Lost your password? Reset your password
    Don't yet have an account?
    There was an issue with your submission. Please try again.
      * Indicates required field
      Already have an account? Login here
      Enter your username, and we will send you a new, randomly generated password to your email account.
      There was an issue with your submission. Please try again.

        Success! A new password has been emailed to you.

        Log in now

        Please wait…