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Ovens Mouth Preserve

This extensive network of trails spread over two of three peninsulas at Ovens Mouth is split east and west by an inlet and joined by a bridge. It allows access and exploration of scenic shoreline, swift tidal water, quiet coves, and salt marshes.
Trail Activity
Snowshoeing Cross-country-skiing Walking Hiking
5.30 miles, Network
Easy, Moderate, Advanced
Dirt/Forest Floor, Rock/Ledge


The Ovens Mouth Preserve is a unique 146-acre parcel of scenic shoreline bordered by swift tidal water, quiet coves and salt marshes. Of the three peninsulas at Ovens Mouth, the preserve includes those on the east and in the middle. There are 1.6 miles of hiking trails on the east peninsula, which is connected by a bridge to Ovens Mouth West. The 3.7 miles of hiking trails of the west peninsula are a much more strenuous hike than the east peninsula.

In 1994 the Boothbay Region Land Trust purchased 146 acres on Ovens Mouth, including both the eastern and middle peninsulas. The Ovens Mouth, bordered on the north by Edgecomb and on the south by Boothbay, is a narrow passage leading from the Sheepscot and Back Rivers to an extensive tidal basin. Early English explorers are thought to have seen a resemblance to an oven, hence the name. This area has always been inviting for maritime activities because of its deep-water access and protected location. Settled in the mid -1700’s, one of the region’s earliest shipyards was located here and both British and American vessels hid in the coves during the Revolution. Soon after the Civil War the property came into the hands of the Tibbetts-Welsh family who owned it for more than a hundred years.

The peninsulas are heavily wooded, but this was not always so. The middle peninsula was cleared for sheep pasture early in the 19th century and was let go back to woodland by about 1850. It was cut for lumber during both of the World Wars. The top half of the east peninsula was field, while the lower half was pasture; it too grew up into woods after the 1930’s. A fine stand of pine blankets the peninsulas today. The BRLT plans to continue to manage the forest for recreational use, aesthetics, improvement of wildlife habitat, and timber production.

There are two coves on the Boothbay side of Ovens Mouth with the western one known locally as “Ice House Cove”. In 1880 in response to a growing demand for ice, it was dammed to form a fresh-water pond and an ice-house was built. The ice was shipped by schooner, mainly to Boston and New York. The remnants of the dam can be seen at low tide from the bridge which connects two peninsulas. A magnificent salt marsh has replaced the ice pond.

Both peninsulas are home to a variety of wildlife, including eagles, osprey, otters and deer Extensive trails and a handsome wooden bridge connecting the two peninsulas allow for a variety of hikes.

Other Information

The Boothbay Region Land Trust (BRLT) manages the preserve and has worked to preserve the scenic beauty of the Boothbay region since 1980 through conserving land for the benefit and enjoyment of the residents and visitors.

BRLT properties are open for quiet, low impact activities. When visiting this BRLT property, please observe the following rules:

  • Overnight camping and fires are not allowed.
  • Keep dogs within your sight and under control and carry out all litter.
  • Parties greater than 10 must obtain permission from BRLT first.
  • Commercial use is not permitted.

Trail Manager

Visit Boothbay Regional Land Trust online for more information and a printable map or contact:

Boothbay Region Land Trust

Boothbay Region Land Trust
PO Box 183
Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
Phone: (207) 633-4818
View website

Nearby Events


Trail Tips

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Walk single file in the middle of the trail. Wear the right shoes and enjoy the mud – you're in the great outdoors!
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Trailhead Information

Ovens Mouth East Trailhead: From the monument at Boothbay Center, travel north on ME Route 27 for 1.6 miles. Take a left onto Adams Pond Road. Proceed 0.1 miles, and turn right onto Dover Road. Continue 2.4 miles to the dead end. Parking is on the left.

Ovens Mouth West Trailhead: Follow the directions above to Dover Road. Go only 1.9 miles on Dover Road and bear left onto Dover Cross Road. The parking lot is 0.2 mile on the right.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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February 06, 2021
Beautiful find! We started out at the east trail head parking and hiked to the west side. Across the footbridge we went right to the north and skirted the cliffs. The trail was packed snow and icy footprints and the going wasn't easy. Ice cleats and ski poles helped immensely as the trail is steep in areas. We took the shortcut across the peninsula back to the bridge and headed out on the east trail. There wasn't as much hard going in the snow and the terrain is different. We can't wait to come back and do the whole west loop.
June 21, 2020
Beautiful hike in a forest with lots of places to stop for a lunch. West side is not as difficult as advertised--just watch your step.
April 24, 2020
We loved it. Beautiful, quiet, nice trails.
August 02, 2014
Ovens Mouth Preserve is a gem of the Boothbay Regional Land Trust. The two peninsulas forming the preserve are bounded by the Back and Cross rivers and feature well-maintained trails and scenic outlooks.

Ovens Mouth East is the easier and shorter trail system. There are many scenic views of the Cross River which, on a clear day, takes on a beautiful blue-green color. At low tide you can get out onto the rocks and watch schools of fish feeding madly just offshore. The paths here are well marked, fairly level, and very well-maintained. If you start at the kiosk and head right, you'll round the tip of the peninsula and get the best views of the river (Shore Loop). Eventually, you'll find the bridge connection Ovens Mouth East and West.

Ovens Mouth West is a longer, more challenging, but no less scenic trail system. The shore trail features frequent elevation changes, though nothing strenuous to anyone but the most casual of hikers. The terrain here is more interesting than Ovens Mouth East. The trail often comes close to some steep drop-offs, so be conscious of your footing. The shore trail provides scenic views of the Back River, the former Ice House Cove (now a beautiful wetland), and some large rock formations.

If you're looking for a great hike in the Boothbay region, I can't recommend Ovens Mouth Preserve enough. The terrain is interesting, the river views are beautiful, and the trails are very well maintained.
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