You’ve noticed it, haven’t you? A handful of neighborhood trees have begun to change color, maybe there’s a growing pile of leaves in your yard, and, of course, there’s pumpkin spiced everything. There’s no denying it: Fall is here (officially at 10:21 am., September 22, 2016). Now is the perfect time to enjoy the season by taking a hike. Here are seven of our favorites.
7 local hikes for enjoying fall foliage (in no particular order because they’re all wonderful):
1. Abbott Mountain, Shapleigh/Newfield. On a clear day from the top of Abbott Mountain you can see the Presidential Range. This 1.25 mile hike begins on a forest trail but turns rockier as you approach the summit. Expect to share the trail with off-road motorbikes.
From Shapleigh Corner, turn east onto Owls Nest Road.Continue on Owls Nest Road until you encounter Pitts Road on the right. Park at the intersection of the two roads. The trail head is about a quarter of a mile down Pitts Road. Don’t let the unfriendly signage deter you; hikers are welcome.
2. Bauneg Beg Mountain, North Berwick. This hike affords another opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of our region’s fall color. Devil’s Den Trail splits near the summit, and the easier route is to the right. The mountain is part of a larger 89 acre conservation area, so there are other hiking trails to enjoy as well. Expect the hike up the mountain to take about a half hour.
Access is from Fox Farm Hill Road where there is a small parking lot about a quarter mile north of Ford Quint Road and about 1.75 miles south of Twombley Road.
3. Bond Mountain, Newfield. This is a short, stiff hike through woods to the foundation of the original 1820 Thomas Bond homestead. For a view to the east follow the unmarked footpath that diverges to the south at a small pile of rocks just before the summit.
The trail starts at a small turnout on Route 11. It’s north of Shady Nook Road where you can fill your water bottle from one of the last remaining roadside springs in York County.
4. Goat Hill, Acton. This is a (very) short hike that affords spectacular, 360 degree views of Square Pond, Wilson Lake, and Great East Lake. Look carefully and you may spy the Presidential Range. There are ample picnic tables at the top and don’t be surprised to encounter mountain bikers.
Park at the former Romac Orchard on H Road, and you’ll be able to clearly see the summit from the parking area.
Once you fall in love with this property, which you’e sure to do, please consider donating to our effort to conserve it.
5. Knox Mountain, Newfield. Your favorite four legged hiking companion is sure to enjoy taking on this one mile hike with you. The climb to the summit is gradual. The summit is ledge bound and affords beautiful 360 degree views of surrounding hills and distant countryside.
The entrance is off Route 11 where there is parking for two or three cars. The trail head is marked; it begins on a wooded path between two fields.
6. Massabesic Experimental Forest, Alfred. For those who are not looking for an upward climb, this forest offers nearly flat hiking conditions. You’ll find the trails to be well maintained and kid friendly. This dense forest has been managed as a federal research forest since the 1930s.
Access is from Mouse Lane in Alfred where Ida Jim Road branches south at a sharp bend. Parking is a bit further where the road changes from tar to dirt just outside the gate.
7. Williams Town Park, Shapleigh. This is another hike that is both dog and kid friendly. There are approximately three miles of gravel roads that loop through the 300 acre town park. A closed fire tower stands on the summit of Fort Ridge. Bring along binoculars for views from the summit.
From Back Road, travel approximately 3/4 mile down County Road. Look for the white sign on the left. Once you make the left turn you’ll notice a private residence on the right. Park just beyond this house close to the metal gate.
What’s your favorite spot for viewing fall foliage? Share your favorite on our Facebook page.
photo of scenic fall vista via Pexels.com