The mountains may be choked with lingering winter snowpack, but along the coast from the beaches of York County to the pink granite peaks of Acadia to the bold headlands of Lubec, the trails are pretty much clear. Wet and muddy, perhaps, but snow-free for the most part.

It’s high time, then, to pack the rucksack, lace up the hiking shoes, and get on out there to enjoy some cabin fever-reliever spring hikes, enjoy some welcome exercise and soak in some warm sun. Do remember to wear your gaiters, as you’ll want to walk through the mud rather than around it to protect the margins of the trail against further erosion.

Here’s a sampler of outstanding hikes to consider, from one end of Maine’s incredible coastline to the other.

Kenyon Hill Preserve, South Berwick

A pleasant 1-mile loop winds through this richly wooded 108-acre property under the care of Great Works Regional Land Trust. Along the way you’ll weave around impressive granite outcrops and erratics, skirt several wetland areas, walk along stone walls and pass an old foundation. The trust produces a self-guided hike brochure, a wonderful companion to take along on your Kenyon Hill sojourn.

Emmons Preserve, Kennebunkport


In the heart of Kennebunkport are 149 wild acres known as the Emmons Preserve. Take a leisurely stroll through the peaceful woods and wetlands along the Batson River, and you’d hardly believe you’re just 3 miles from the downtown hubbub at Dock Square. Five color-coded trails offer nature lovers about 5 miles of hiking at the preserve, which is owned by Kennebunkport Conservation Trust.

The hike at Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick leads to a stone labyrinth near the midway point. Carey Kish photo

Crystal Spring Farm, Brunswick

This 321-acre property is the largest conservation holding of Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. A wonderful blend of working farmland and meandering trails, Crystal Spring Farm features a mix of woods and fields, blueberry barrens and frog ponds, and a stone “labyrinth in the woods” for meditation and spiritual practice. By following the Main Loop, East Trail, Blueberry Loop and connecting trails, you could easily wander for 5 miles or more.

La Verna Preserve, Bristol

Three trails – La Verna, Ellis and Tibbitts – combine for a terrific 3-mile circuit hike that features scenery rivaling that of the Bold Coast in Cutler far Downeast, including 3,600 feet of rugged oceanfront on Muscongus Bay. The expansive view from the rocks at Leighton Head will have you pausing in awe for long moments, as will the reflecting freshwater pool farther along. The 120-acre preserve is owned by Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust.

Ragged Mountain, Rockport


From Thornton Brook, the Georges Highland Path up and over Ragged Mountain is one of the finest hikes along the Midcoast, offering extensive ridge walking and fine views from numerous ledges and outcrops. With the completion of the Round the Mountain Trail on the west side of Ragged, you can now make it a sweet loop hike of 6-1/2 miles. The RMT is currently closed for mud season, so check with Coastal Mountains Land Trust before you head out to be sure the trail is dry and open.

Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island

Get a good look-see over the eastern shore of Acadia National Park on MDI before the throngs of summer visitors arrive. Beginning near Sand Beach, negotiate the airy ladders on the Beehive, then saunter down to the Bowl, a pretty tarn. Next, strike southward over Gorham Mountain, diverting onto Cadillac Cliffs Trail for a look at some ancient sea caves. Close the 4-mile loop with a brilliant waterfront walk on Ocean Path.

Mariaville Falls on the West Branch of the Union River in Mariaville is a thundering cascade in spring and after heavy rains. Carey Kish photo

Mariaville Falls, Mariaville

Frenchman Bay Conservancy has protected 123 acres along the West Branch of the Union River in Mariaville, which includes the thundering cascades known as Mariaville Falls. A scenic 1-1/2-mile lollipop loop leads you down to and along a bend in the river to the big rapids, where a flourishing community of 50 families complete with timber mills and a tannery once stood. Today no trace remains.

The beauty of a coastal section of the Bold Coast makes it worth a trip to Lubec. Tim Greenway

Boot Head Preserve, Lubec

This 700-acre parcel protects an impressive chunk of Bold Coast terrain, from Jim’s Head to Boot Head above Boot Cove. Together with the abutting Hamilton Cove Preserve, Maine Coast Heritage Trust has conserved an incredible 2,000 acres of prime shorefront on the Grand Manan Channel. A lovely 2-1/2-mile network of trails leads you through fragrant spruce woods to cobble beaches and rugged headlands.

Carey Kish of Mt. Desert Island is the author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast and editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide. Follow Carey’s adventures on Facebook @ Carey Kish.

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