Bradbury Mountain State Park’s Summit Trail is a short, enjoyable hike for families to explore in spring. With less than a quarter-mile to the summit and a manageable elevation gain for little ones, the rocky trail makes for a not-so-muddy hike after a spring rainstorm. And the view from the top of the mountain shows plenty of signs that spring is here.

But the warm sunshine? There’s nothing like taking it in at the top of a mountain, especially this time of year.

The girls and I soaked up the sun after our short hike to the summit and watched some serious birders set up their large telescope to watch all the feathered action in the skies around the mountain. Birders report that this time of year offers good views of the hawk migration. We didn’t spot any while we were there, but had our small Bird Identiflyer. As usual, that electronic device kept my young bird-watchers entertained trying to identify all the bird songs we heard.

My 12-year-old also enjoyed exploring the caves around the summit. She didn’t care to crawl too far inside, but the caves did prompt some interesting discussions about the types of animals that might seek shelter there.

With all the recent rain and reports of overflowing rivers, it’s a given you’re going to find mud on a lot of trails in southern and central Maine this month. We found several patches of mud along the Northern Loop Trail, but nothing that was impassable. The kids and I had on all-terrain hiking boots and although they were covered in mud by the time we returned to the trail head, the mess was manageable and our socks stayed dry.

There is more than mud on the trails right now. We saw several butterflies and heard quite a symphony of frog calls on the Northern Loop Trail. Spring is a great time to hike with children and challenge them to find signs of the season. There are plenty emerging this month.
The day we visited, we had just a couple of hours to enjoy an outdoor adventure before our usual weekday schedule pulled us in a different direction. Our hike up the Summit Trail and then down the Northern Loop Trail only added up to about 11⁄2 miles of hiking. So if you’re a family with time constraints but want to get outside for a short time to soak up some springtime sun and sights, this is a great little Maine mountain to do just that.

Wendy Almeida is a content producer for RaisingMaine.com.