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.
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.
Visit Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands online for more information or contact:
Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park
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.
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