Pownalborough Court House Trails
From North: Take ME Route 27 south from Randolph for approximately 7.5 miles and turn right (west) onto ME Route 128/Cedar Grove Road. Courthouse Road is in 2.5 miles on the right (west) side of the road. Turn down the road and follow it to the parking lot and trailhead at the Pownalborough Court House.
From South: Take ME Route 128/Cedar Grove Road north from its intersection with ME Route 197 in Dresden. Courthouse Road is in 1.3 miles on the left (west) side of the road. Turn down the road and follow it to the parking lot and trailhead at the Pownalborough Court House.
The trails are located on heavily wooded land which slopes east to west-northwest through a fairly steep ravine with the result that the trails are only suitable for walking, hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The trail system traverses through mostly mature woodlands of White Pine, Eastern Hemlock, and Red Oak with the result that the majority of the trails pass under open forest canopy with little undergrowth.
The trails are on a 92 acre property along the eastern bank of the Kennebec River that is home to the Pownalborough Court House of 1761, a National Register historic site owned and overseen by the Lincoln County Historical Association. The hiking trails are located on the western flank of the ridge that divides the Eastern and Kennebec Rivers, and contains a number of unique features that make it an appealing and distinctive destination for recreational users. A stream on the property runs through a steep, densely wooded ravine containing several small dells. As a result the terrain is remarkably sheltered with the consequence that the trees have grown to great height. Much of the trail system traverses through these mostly mature woodlands comprised principally of white pine and groves of eastern hemlock while passing above views to the stream, its dells and fern meadows below.
The trail system also includes a trail that arcs through a long slope dropping from east to west through a hardwood stand that extends above an old stone wall. This stone wall, the Cross Road and the old Range Way all hint at the mid 18th century settlement of the original community of Pownalborough, established in 1761 and overseen by the Kennebec Proprietors, as part of Lincoln County—then part of the Royal Massachusetts Bay Colony. They comprise part of the physical evidence documenting the settlement, transportation routes and the history of what is now the Town of Dresden. The lawns of the Court House offer picnicking opportunities at several strategically placed picnic tables, and are provided with restroom facilities available to visitors. The old dirt road in front of the Pownalborough Court House leads to the Goodwin family cemetery and the short but scenic “Nature Trail” that leads to the banks of the Kennebec River below the court house.
The Lincoln County Historical Association (LCHA) plans to expand the hiking trail system in the near future. Permission from an abutting landowner will enable the LCHA to extend the trail system by providing a trail across this abutting land to the south which will provide a direct link to the sixteen acre Dresden Town Forest. A second envisaged trail will extend across the south flank of the wooded property back to state highway 128. It will then cross it and lead to the Goodwin family cemetery and back to the Pownalborough Court House or to the commencement of its “Nature Trail”.
Because of the historic nature of our property, the Lincoln County Historical Association also has volunteers and re-enactors that put on diverse and dynamic living history reenactments both at the Court House and also on the surrounding property. From more information on programming, inquire with the Lincoln County Historical Association using the contact information below.
Visit the Lincoln County Historical Association online for more information or contact:
Lincoln County Historical Association
PO Box 61
Wiscasset, ME 04578
Phone: (207) 882-6817
Check for nearby geocaches to Pownalborough Court House Trails.
Leave No Trace Principle
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Know your limits – it’s okay to turn back. Your home is the ultimate destination, not the summit.