Thurston Park

Nearly 400 acres of forest with streams and waterfalls, diverse wildlife, and cultural and historical landmarks.
Trail Activity
Snowshoeing Mountain-biking Cross-country-skiing Walking
5.20 miles, Network
Dirt/Forest Floor, Gravel/Crushed Stone


Multi-use Trails:

Old Yorktown Road (0.84 mi) – Wide gravel trail with gentle to moderate slopes. Leads to picnic areas and trailheads for most other trails.

Trail #1 (0.85 mi) – Begins along side slope in mixed forest and climbs hill to hardwoods near the highest point of the park. Connects with monument trail and Trail #2. Access to northern waterfall is near this intersection. Part of main snowmobile route to regional trails.

Trail #2 (0.39 mi) – Climbs side slope through mixed hardwoods with land dropping off steeply to the west. Several majestic pines are located just east of the trail. Access to central waterfall near top of the slope.

Foot Trails:

Esker trail (0.25 mi) – Narrow trail along sandy ridge winds through aspen and conifers. Provides shortest route from northern parking area to southwest hiking trails.

Rufus Jones Trail (0.77 mi) – Follows old skid trail along a gravel ridge with big pines then narrows until it reaches a black ash, tamarack & cedar swamp. Connects to Partridge and Moose Trails near southern boundary.

Partridge Trail (0.52 mi) – Rolling trail traverses a low gravel ridge through a fir and pine thicket. Makes a nice loop with Rufus Jones or Moose Trails.

Moose Trail (0.36 mi) – Follows route of a long discontinued county road through mixed forest. Passes through an area often used by moose in winter.

Deer Trail (0.34 mi) – Short loop trail that connects the southeastern part of the park with central and western hiking trails. Passes primarily through mixed hardwoods but skirts a small cedar thicket.

Monument Trail (0.24 mi) – Ridge top trail provides access to an 1838 monument stone marking China-Albion-Palermo town borders. Also marks boundary between Kennebec and Waldo Counties.

Other Information

Thurston Park is a carry-in carry-out park and there are no bathroom facilities. Park hours are 6 am to sunset except by permit. The road to the park is not plowed in winter. No motorized vehicles are permitted during mud season (Mar 15-May 1).

Trail Manager

Visit Town of China online for more information or contact:

Town of China

Town of China
571 Lakeview Drive
South China, ME 04358
Phone: (207) 445-2014
View website

Nearby Events


Trail Tips

Minimize Campfire Impacts
Follow the Maine Forest Service fire regulations and check the current fire danger level before you go camping.
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Trailhead Information

The park is in the northeastern corner of the Town of China, bordered by Albion on the north and Palermo on the east. From the causeway at the north end of China Lake, cross Lakeview Drive and go east on Pleasant View Ridge Road. After 0.8 mi., go straight onto Dutton Road (the main road will bear to the right). Drive 1.6 miles, and turn right onto Yorktown Road. Follow Yorktown Road for 0.5 mi to the park entrance.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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June 15, 2020
This was a fun area to hike. A lot of beaver activity, mostly old. We took the Esker Trail and then round trip on trail 1. The Esker trail was beautiful but if you have younger kids don't let them run too far ahead. Someone has a gravel pit right at the intersection at the end of the Esker trail and it drops off very steeply with loose gravel.
July 27, 2019
I gave this park a try this week and enjoyed it. They now have two very well maintained outhouses--one at the parking area and another by the picnic area on Trail 2. The gravel road coming in is a little bumpy the last quarter of a mile or so--lots of fist-sized rocks--but certainly driveable. In addition to the regular parking area, there is a handicapped space further down the road, just before the locked orange gate.
Trail 1: Starts out kind of like a big country gravel road with little shade. It gets more rustic and shady further in. There is an area next to a bog where you will probably get your shoes wet--there are rocks and branches in the stream coming out of the bog, but they're not well organized. Otherwise, Trail 1 is very well maintained. Note: I did not see the side trail off of Trail 1 on the MTF map to a waterfall. The park's brochure says it is "under construction".
I took Trail 1 to the Monument Trail. Trail 1 is maintained as a snowmobile trail, but the Monument Trail isn't. It's narrower, harder to follow and more covered with branches. It has some old blue blazes. It also has some more recent lime green blazes,. but these would appear to be a future trail. The path along the green blazes is not really cut yet and is loaded with blocking branches. I do not recommend it as of now; I'd follow the blue blazes.
At the end of that trail is the Three Towns Monument. It's a stone slab with a capital letter on three of the sides to mark which town it is facing. The C for China is pretty easy to find. The P for Palermo is only a little harder. But the A for Albion, on a thinner side than the other two, will take much more looking.
Great place to hike! I am glad it was developed and is still developing.
July 21, 2015
Excellent. Well maintained. Different sites and types of hikes. Would recommend.
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