The community of Pittsfield (pop. 4,230) straddles the Sebasticook River in the southeast corner of Maine’s Kennebec Valley region. The former mill town of 49 square miles isn’t exactly known as a hiking hot spot, but like most any place – if you dig a little deeper – you’ll always find some interesting things to see and do.

Interstate 95 makes a wide arc around Pittsfield proper, and for years pretty much all this hiker knew about the town was Robinson’s Mobil Mart just off Exit 150. But with a hankering to visit the new Outland Farm Brewery and a desire to take a good hike before grabbing a couple pints, I searched online, asked around and discovered some great walking opportunities.

Peltoma Woods, also known as the Town Farm Property, encompasses a large swath of forestland along the Sebasticook River – including an amazing 5,700 feet of riverfront – a mile south of the village. A color-colored and well-signed system of six trails and several shortcuts amount to 3 miles of enjoyable and ecologically bounteous meandering.

At Peltoma Woods, you’ll pad over soft needles beneath stately 100-year-old white pines, then along the river’s floodplain there are 16 acres of gracefully spreading silver maples; these are two of a dozen tree species found on the land. There’s also a multitude of vernal pools that provide important habitat for amphibians, insects and reptiles.

The intown Mill Pond Trail connects five pretty parks on its mile-long loop around Mill Pond. Carey Kish photo

Peltoma Woods is named for the mythical Norridgewock native, Peltoma. Injured by his Penobscot rival Sly Fox in a battle for the love of tribal princess Laughing Eyes, Peltoma is said to have lived out his days on a bend in the river now known as Peltoma Point. The Peltoma story may be legend, but Native American use of this land was real, as evidenced by an old fish weir that can be seen in the river at low water.

The walk along the banks of the Sebasticook River on the Outer Loop Trail is simply beautiful. The largest tributary of the Kennebec River, the Sebasticook flows 50 miles from its source in Dexter to empty into the Kennebec at Fort Halifax in Winslow. The Sebasticook River drains an enormous 606,000-acre watershed that helps sustain more than 50 ponds.


Moses Martin and his family became the first permanent settlers of Plymouth Gore in 1795. Organized as Sebasticook Plantation in 1816, three years later the town was incorporated as Warsaw, and in 1824, the name was changed to Pittsfield to honor William Pitts, a large local landowner. A short side trail leads to the site of the former Martin homestead, marked by a plaque mounted on a rock.

The trailhead kiosk is worth spending some time at coming and going. It’s here you’ll find not only a good trail map (snap a photo of it before striking off on the trails), but a number of displays on the natural and cultural history of the property. The kiosk is the work of the Pioneers of Peltoma, a group of eighth-grade students from Warsaw Middle School.

The children’s mission was “to share with the public the historical and ecological values of the Town Farm Property while encouraging our community to be more physically active outdoors… We hope to see this property used and enjoyed by residents and visitors alike…” Well done, kids, very well done.

Outland Farm Brewery is situated a block from the downtown crossroads of Routes 152, 100 and 69. The spacious, sunny taproom is a comfortable, friendly spot to enjoy a cold brew post-hike. Opened by local transplants Heather and Mike Holland in 2020, the Pittsfield brewery features a nice selection of craft beers produced with Maine-grown ingredients. You’ll also find delicious pub fare to satisfy the munchies and a freezer full of meats from the couple’s farm.

Sated with beer and grub, burn off the calories with a walk on the nearby Mill Pond Trail, a mile-long circuit that visits five of the town’s pretty parks. You could also explore another fine stretch of the Sebasticook River at Manson Park, saunter along the Pittsfield Rail Trail and wander about the ski hill at Pinnacle Park. For info on more hiking in the general area, go online to check out Lake George Regional Park in Caanan, and the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust in Unity.

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island is a veteran hiker and freelance writer. His latest book, “Beer Hiking New England,” will be available later this year. Follow more of Carey’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram @careykish

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