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Witherle Woods Preserve

A strategic military location centuries ago, today Witherle Woods offers a quiet retreat where former carriage paths meander through changing forests and past scenic views of Penobscot Bay.
Trail Activity
Hiking
Length
3.70 miles, Network
Difficulty
Moderate
Town
Castine
Surface
Dirt/Forest Floor, Grass, Boardwalk/Bog Bridging
Pets
Permitted
Fees
No

Description

Witherle Woods has long been enjoyed by Castine citizens and visitors as a quiet retreat for walking, cross-country skiing, and picnicking. Today, this 185-acre preserve on scenic Castine peninsula includes a 3.7-mile trail network. The trails lead through a forest of red and white spruce, balsam fir, white pine, and several hardwood stands.

Witherle Woods has a long history of human activity that goes back at least as far as colonial times when the French used the site as a trading post, fort, mission, grazing area, and for recreation. During the nation's earliest days, Witherle Woods witnessed military action during both the Revolutionary War as well as the War of 1812. In fact, archaeological research has located fortifications from both events. By the 1870s much of the present preserve was owned by George Witherle who maintained carriage trails throughout the property. At that time, the land was comprised mostly of open meadow.

Beginning in 1985, three different landowners donated portions of the existing preserve to MCHT - a fourth parcel was purchased by the Trust. Over the past decade, the woods have experienced a high level of mortality due to old age and insect damage. After storms in 2007-2008 caused major blowdowns, the Trust worked with a forester and logger to salvage the timber, ensure public safety, and prepare for a healthy future forest.

Other Information

Please note: This preserve is abutted by private parcels. Please Stay on the established trails and observe preserve guidelines below. A map showing the preserve’s boundaries is available from the Maine Coast Heritage Trust website. There is no camping or fires permitted on the preserve. Please stay on established trails, carry out all waste (including human and pet waste and toilet paper), keep pets under control, and respect the privacy of preserve neighbors.

Trail Manager

Visit the Maine Coast Heritage Trust online for more information or contact:

Maine Coast Heritage Trust

Maine Coast Heritage Trust
1 Bowdoin Mill Island, Suite 201
Topsham, ME 04086
Phone: (207) 729-7366
stewardship@mcht.org
View website

Nearby Events

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Trail Tips

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Trailhead Information

From the junction of ME Routes 166 and 166A in Castine follow ME Route 166 south 0.9 mile to the top of a hill. Continue right at a sharp bend in the road and drive 0.8 mile along Battle Avenue to the preserve on the right. Parking is available along the fence line (please do not block the gate).

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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