The total length of the trail is approximately three miles, with two miles on the back nine and 1.4 miles around the front. The trail traverses stands of both hardwood and softwood trees, wetlands, and open fields that border the golf course itself.
The Mingo Springs Trail and Bird Walk is designed to enhance wildlife viewing and provides a relaxing walk around the outer edge of Mingo Springs Golf Course. Leaving from the intersection of Mingo Loop Road and Alpine Way and marked with red blazes, the 2-mile trail around the back nine leads back into hardwood forest and passes a vernal pool, which in the spring and early summer is a haven for amphibians. Emerging from this section of woods, the trail follows the Mingo Loop Road right, heading back into the woods just after a white farmhouse. Skirting the golf course, the red blazed trail passes through a hardwood forest stand, adjacent to a cedar swamp, over pastures scattered with spruce and fir, and, finally, into a mature stand of softwoods. The trail re-emerges onto Mingo Loop Road which can be used to return to the parking area by turning right and following it back towards the golf course.
The front nine section, which also leaves from the Mingo Loop/Alpine Way intersection, is marked with blue blazes and is equally spectacular. The path leads through hardwood forest as well as an immense field of lupine. The forest section is marked with signs denoting specific types of trees and ferns, which in addition to the wildlife and fern pamphlets available at the trailhead, make for very informed wildlife and vegetation viewing. There is also a bench in the forest with a birdhouse nearby that aids wildlife viewing. The last section of the blue trail skirts the golf course and passes by the Mingo Springs Pro Shop. While walking up a slight uphill after the lupine fields, there is a view overlooking Rangeley Lake.
Wildlife sightings are common on the trail and may include white-tailed deer, red squirrels, chipmunks, red foxes, and snowshoe hare. Commonly seen birds include a variety of spring warblers, vireos, woodpeckers, and owls. For more natural history information, check out the bird brochure and the fern brochure, created especially for the Mingo Springs trails.
Privately funded by the Chodosh family, the Mingo Springs Trail and Bird Walk was created over the past three years by John Bicknell with the assistance of the grounds crew of the Golf Course.
Trail maps, restrooms, food and beverages are available at the Mingo Springs Golf Course Pro Shop mid-May through mid-October. Trail maps are available at the Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce mid-October through mid-May. This is a carry-in and carry-out trail. Dogs on leashes are permitted and owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
In May 2016, Mingo Springs Golf Club achieved designation by Audubon International as a "Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary," making it one of 3 golf courses in Maine and 909 in the world to hold that title (as of that date). To reach certification, a course must demonstrate that they are maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas, including: Environmental Planning, Wildlife & Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management.
Visit the Mingo Springs Golf Course online for more information or contact:
From East: From the intersection of ME Routes 4 and 16 in downtown Rangeley, head north on ME Route 4 for 2.2 miles and turn onto Mingo Loop Road. Continue 0.4 miles and turn left onto Alpine Way. The maintenance shack for Mingo Springs Golf Course is immediately on the left; park on the grass to the left of the maintenance shack and then walk the short distance back to the intersection of Alpine Way and Mingo Loop Road to access the trailhead.
From West: From the intersection of ME Routes 4 and 17 in Oquossoc Village, Rangeley, head south on ME Route 4 approximately 4.5 miles and turn right onto Mingo Loop Road (a first entrance to Mingo Loop Road will be on the right at about 1.8 miles from the intersection; proceed past this to the second entrance). Continue 0.4 miles on Mingo Loop Road and turn left onto Alpine Way. The maintenance shack for Mingo Springs Golf Course is immediately on the left; park on the grass to the left of the maintenance shack and then walk the short distance back to the intersection of Alpine Way and Mingo Loop Road to access the trailhead.
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