The sand and gravel beach at Lily Bay State Park is a fun place on a summer day, with a great view to boot. Carey Kish photo

The blinking yellow traffic light on Route 6/15 in the center of Greenville is the starting point of many great adventures in the Moosehead Lake region. Guidebooks, tourism brochures, shopkeepers, the visitor center and local folks all reference the spot when giving directions to area attractions, like Lily Bay State Park.

From the blinking yellow light, drive north on Lily Bay Road for 9 miles to reach the entrance of Lily Bay State Park, drinking in the big picture of sprawling Moosehead Lake from the slopes of Blair Hill along the way. Follow the park road west to its end at Dunn Point and a large field ringed with pines, then sidle across the grass to the sand and gravel beach for a heckuva view.

The unmistakable mass of Big Moose Mountain rises 9 miles to the west, its sweeping northeast ridgeline culminating at the airy pinnacle of Eagle Rock. Far beyond is the rounded dome of Coburn Mountain, which tops out at more than 3,700 feet. Closer in, that’s Deer Island out there, and Sugar Island just across the narrows.

The beach at Dunn Point is a pretty fine spot to unfold a camp chair, grab a cold soda from the cooler, open a good book and while away a few hours, interspersed with several refreshing dips in the cool lake waters, of course. This is a popular place, but it never feels crowded. Seems there’s peace and quiet enough to go around amid the park’s 925 acres.

Lily Bay State Park has campgrounds at Dunn Point and Rowell Cove. Carey Kish photo

You could easily spend an entire day at Lily Bay State Park, but even better would be to stay for a long weekend or maybe a week, enough time to really settle in and unplug from the world. Campgrounds at Dunn Point and Rowell Cove accommodate everything from tents to campers at 90 campsites, each with a picnic table and fire ring. There are restrooms and a central shower house, too.

Launch a canoe or kayak to investigate the shoreline between Dunn Point and Rowell Cove, paddle out to Sugar Island or check out the many small islands around Laker Point and Matthews Cove off the north side of the park. For hikers, the lovely Lily Bay Trail leads along the lake for 2 miles, visiting Turtle Point and Journal Beach en route. Walk back via the park road for a sweet 4-mile circuit hike.

Lily Bay State Park makes an excellent base camp for lots of other outdoor activities on the eastern side of Moosehead Lake, from hiking and paddling to sightseeing and wildlife watching.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife maintains a boat launch at the north end of Prong Pond, 2 miles south of the park. Explore the undeveloped nature of this surprisingly wild 447-acre pond and enjoy wonderful views of Elephant Mountain and Blue Ridge.

The Elephant Mountain B-52 crash site is a 7-mile drive east of Lily Bay Road, but just a quarter mile walk to the scattered wreckage of the big plane that went down on January 24, 1963. Flags, wreaths and memorials make this a moving experience you won’t soon forget.

Lily Bay Trail leads along Moosehead Lake from Dunn Point to Rowell Cove. Carey Kish photo

At Blue Ridge, reached by the Katahdin Iron Works Road, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands has developed a 3-mile hiking loop that visits Rum Pond and leads over the namesake ridge to tiny Cranberry Pond.

Head north of the park on Lily Bay Road, then turn east on Frenchtown Road to find the trailhead for Number Four Mountain. Ledges and the steps of the abandoned fire tower on the 2,894-foot peak yield wonderful views of the mountains ringing Moosehead.

Further on is tiny Kokadjo (population “not many” according to a sign in town) on First Roach Pond. Stop in and say hello at the trading post, then carry on to Spencer Bay Road for some fun paddling and moose watching on Lazy Tom Bog and a phenomenal look at Little Spencer and Big Spencer mountains, the latter another good hike option.

The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer and AMC Maine Mountain Guide are ever helpful companions for your Lily Bay area summertime adventures. When in doubt, though, just ask a friendly Greenville local. And remember about that all-important blinking yellow traffic light.

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 @CareyKish


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