In looking back on the several adventures of 2016, Aislinn Sarnacki selected 10 of those 50-plus outdoor venues - the cream of the crop - and created a list in hopes that it will help inspire your own outdoor adventures in 2017.
1. Katahdin’s new Abol Trail
The management of Baxter State Park, in which the trail is located, had been forced to close the trail for several years in the 1930s and 40s for the same reason. This time, instead of waiting possibly years for the boulders, rocks and scree on Abol Slide to settle, park management decided to find a longterm solution and approved a $100,000 project to relocate a large section of the trail to avoid that part of the rockslide altogether. Over the course of two years, Maine Conservation Corps crews worked hard to build this new section, which opened to the public this past spring.
2. Barred Island Preserve
Located on the west side of Deer Isle, this beautiful chunk of conserved land features about 1.5 miles of well-marked nature trails that travel through the forest to a beach of sand and shells. Visitors are welcome to walk over to the island and around its perimeter along the shore. Owned by The Nature Conservancy, the preserve is managed by the Island Heritage Trust, a nonprofit land trust that was founded in 1987 by residents concerned about protecting Deer Isle from development pressure that threatened to cut off residents from the shore and recreational use of the land.
3. Pleasant Pond Mountain
In the northwest rural Maine towns of Caratunk and The Forks, the long ridge of Pleasant Pond Mountain rises to the east of Pleasant Pond, a deep body of water known for its crystal clear waters. Topping off at 2,447 above sea level, this mountain is one of many mountains traversed by the famous Appalachian Trail.
4. Cadillac Mountain’s Gorge Path
Running through a dramatic gorge between Dorr and Cadillac Mountain, the Gorge Path is a special hiking experience that includes hundreds of granite steps and tiny waterfalls. Climbing out of the gorge, this trail then travels up the east side of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on Mount Desert Island, to reach the summit approximately 1.9 miles from the trailhead.
5. Bog Brook Cove Preserve
Stretching along the Bold Coast in eastern Maine, the 1,770-acre Bog Brook Cove Preserve is owned and maintained by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and features about 5 miles of hiking trails for people of all skill levels.
6. Little Moose Mountain
Located in the state-owned 1,500-acre Little Moose Public Reserved Land Unit, moderately difficult hiking trails explore the ridge of Little Moose Mountain as well as the nearby ponds, where backcountry campsites are located. The interconnecting trails total about 9 miles and offer a variety of day hikes and overnight adventures.
7. Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park
The park is 1,230 acres and protects a variety of habitats, including old fields, a pond, an estuary and saltwater marsh, the mossy evergreen forests of Backwoods Mountain, a beaver flowage, and rocky beaches on the Penobscot Bay. It also includes Holbrook Island, a small isle off the coast, and a number of old family cemeteries, homestead foundations and impressive stone walls that remain from several families who used to live and farm on the land.
8. Hills to Sea Trail
A 46-mile-long walking trail from the hills of Unity to the waterfront in Belfast, the Hills to Sea Trail was completed on Sept. 22, when the final segment of the trail was completed from Route 131 in Belfast to the road that leads into Frye Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Knox.
9. Mingo Springs Trail and Bird Walk
Threading through a beautiful, varied forest and across lupine fields, the Mingo Springs Trail and Bird Walk in Rangeley was funded by the Chodosh family, which owns the golf course that the easy, 3-mile trail loops around.
10. Quoddy Head State Park
On the easternmost peninsula of the United States, Quoddy Head State Park features the historic red-and-white striped West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, as well as about 5 miles of hiking trails that vary in difficulty and visit stunning outlooks along the rocky coastline.