These trails offer a wide variety of experiences, from a relaxing stroll, to an aerobic workout; restful solitude, or fun with family and friends. Hikers will find some trails along steep slopes, while benches at scenic overlooks offer a chance to rest and enjoy scenic river views. All trails wind through a mixed-growth forest with wildflowers, birds, and other wildlife, including rabbits, squirrels, coyotes, foxes, porcupines, deer, and moose.
All of the trails are accessed by descending a steep slope. The trails are wide with a natural surface, with large roots in some areas.
The River Run Trail (0.8 miles) travels along, and climbs up and down the banks of, the Salmon Falls River. The river provided transportation for the earliest settlers for their timber harvest, and was named for the salmon that abounded at the falls during migration as the river connected the interior to the ocean. This river also powered the first sawmill built in America.
The Bridle Path Trail (0.7 miles) veers off from the River Run Trail. It is extremely steep, dropping 150 feet to the river. There are majestic old growth pine and hemlock trees along this trail, many of which are more than a century old.
There are several smaller trails that run along the Bridle Path Trail and River Run Trail offering hikers several options when visiting the park. Some of these trails, such as Shady Stroll, have some very steep sections.
After a hardy hike, visitors can enjoy a picnic at one of the park's many picnic tables with charcoal grills. Groups of 10 or more should make reservations at least 30 days in advance, especially those planning weddings at the park.
In the 1630s, much of this property was bought by Europeans and often given to indentured servants upon completion of their service. At the time most of this land was covered with brushy fields and young woods that was less fertile for farmers. James Warren, a Scot, was one of these indentured servants. At the end of his indenture, he settled on a 50-acre lot within the current park where a plaque marks his old home site.
In 1949, Elizabeth Vaughan bequeathed to the State of Maine her beautiful forest to be kept in the natural wild state which is now known as Vaughan Woods State Park. She was a nature lover and accomplished horsewoman who enjoyed daily rides through this forest.
When hiking the trails, wear sturdy shoes and be aware of slippery conditions when the trails are wet. In spring, summer, and fall, ticks may be plentiful. Visitors should take precautions to avoid these ticks and possible exposure to Lyme disease. This is an excellent area to snowshoe and cross-country ski; however, the park gates are closed in the winter. Please park along Oldfields Road and keep vehicles out of travel lanes.
Visit Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands online for more information or contact:Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, South Berwick
Travel south on ME-236 out of South Berwick. After about a half mile, turn right on to Vine Street (opposite a cut-off to Academy Street and the junior high school). Go about one mile to end of Vine Street at an intersection with Old Fields Road. Turn right and continue to follow the road as it bears left. Watch for the park entrance on the left.
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