With all the holiday hubbub going on, from shopping, decorating and food prep to office parties, get-togethers with friends and family and other such chores, events and obligations during this busy season, it’s not always easy to carve out time to get outside for a hike.

But you should, if only to relax, breathe a little and walk off some of those unavoidable extra calories. Here are a few good ones to consider from around the state. Merry, merry!

Champlain Mountain, Acadia National Park

Now is a great time to visit Acadia and hike the extraordinary and mostly empty trails. Champlain Mountain is the easternmost peak on Mount Desert Island and easily accessible from Bar Harbor, and its bare granite 1,057-foot summit yields impressive views east over Frenchman Bay and west to Dorr and Cadillac mountains. Route options abound, from the Beachcroft Path and Champlain North Ridge Trail to the Orange & Black Trail and Bowl Trail.

Ingersoll Point, Addison

Head Downeast to experience the 145 glorious acres of this Downeast Coastal Conservancy gem. The Adler Woods Trail and Wohoa Bay Trail lead across Moose Neck to the wild shores of Wohoa Bay. Follow the beaches north to Ingersoll Point before turning west on Carrying Place Cove Trail and tracing a route along the cove. Enjoy fragrant spruce-fir maritime woods and expansive island vistas on your 3-mile sojourn through this lovely chunk of coastline.


Long Mountain, Albany

This mountain, a few miles south of Bethel, is part of 12,268 acres of private conservation land assembled over the years by area residents Mary McFadden and Larry Stifler and now collectively known as the Crooked River Headwaters. Hike the Long Mountain Trail past Hidden Falls to the flat-topped summit (1,730 feet), where South Ledge and North Ledge offer big views ranging from the Mahoosucs to the Whites. The lollipop loop is 5 1/2 miles.

Noyes Mountain, Greenwood

This mountain (1,503 feet) in Greenwood is part of a 295-acre preserve owned by Western Foothills Land Trust. Three trails – Noyes, Harvard and Perham – combine for a great 2 1/2-mile circuit over the summit to the top of the old Harvard Mine (tourmaline). From here at Shavey’s View you can look west to Patch Mountain, Pleasant Mountain, the mountains near the state border, and the White Mountains beyond. Pennesseewassee Lake and Norway are also in view.

Mount Phillip, Rome

A 1 1/2-mile loop trail leads easily to the ledges on the summit ridgeline of 755-foot Mount Phillip, where there are good views of beautiful Great Pond to the south and some of the other peaks to the west in the Kennebec Highlands. This region is the domain of the 7 Lakes Alliance, which has conserved 9,400 acres and maintains trails on Mount Philip and French Mountain, The Mountain, Sanders Hill, Round Top Mountain and McGaffey Mountain.


Mount Tuck, Stockton Springs

Situated in the midst of some 2,800 acres of undeveloped green space, the Mount Tuck Preserve is the newest addition to the Coastal Mountains Land Trust inventory. The 565-foot mountain is the second highest in Stockton Springs and offers a fine lookout to the east over the Penobscot River Narrows to Verona Island and south to Penobscot Bay. The out-and-back hike to the vista is just under 4 miles.

Bald Mountain, Washington Township

On the long, narrow ridgeline of Bald Mountain (2,370 feet), an informally maintained trail follows a steady 1.1-mile course to the peak and features wavy granite slabs, rock crevices and big mountain views (Mount Blue, Tumbledown, the Jacksons) that get better that higher you climb. The trail is open to the public courtesy of the private landowner, Carrier Timberlands. Please respect the land, stay on the trail and follow all posted rules.

Highland Farm and Smelt Brook Preserves, York

The York Land Trust has conserved 2,400 acres and these two adjacent preserves showcase 450 scenic acres of that effort. Wander the wonderful fields, forests and rock outcrops of Highland Farm, then head across to Smelt Brook to enjoy the hickory and oak woods and the extensive salt marshes along the meandering York River and Smelt Brook, one of the Gulf of Maine’s most pristine marsh-estuarine ecosystems. The two loops total 4 miles.

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island is an award winning member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. His latest book, “Beer Hiking New England,” will be out in print in March. Follow more of Carey’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram @careykish

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