Hiking Maine’s Bold Coast
Acadia is no secret. The park gets over 2 million visitors per year. The second stop on our Maine road trip, however, is a hidden gem in the far reaches of Down East Maine that we had never even heard of until we started planning our trip.
The Cutler Coast Public Reserve Land is 2 hours northeast of Acadia and is only a stone’s throw from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Our phones actually thought we were in Canada so we turned them off while we were hiking to avoid getting gouged by our cell providers. We started hiking from the parking lot on the inland trail (see map) and headed towards the ocean. The beginning of the hike looks like any walk through woods in New England, but after 1.5 miles the scenery changes dramatically. The trail changes abruptly from dense woods to rugged cliffs that plunge into the Atlantic.
For the next 3.8 miles, the trail winds along the coastline, crossing a few rocky beaches along the way. The scenery is quintessential Maine, except much more remote than places farther south on the coast like Acadia and Camden. It is this type of type of hike in which dense coniferous forests run abruptly into the ocean that make Maine truly unique on the east coast.
At some point along the Coastal Trail, we hung our hammock between two trees on the edge of one of the cliffs overlooking Canada, watching the seals swim by and the eagles fly overhead.
As it turned out, even though we hardly saw anyone else on the trail, the three campsites on the map were all occupied when we arrived in the late afternoon. We were left with a few options:
- Go back to the car and find someplace else to spend the night
- Set up the tent somewhere in the woods.
- Set up the tent on the edge of a cliff over the ocean.
Naturally, option #3 ended up winning out.
Although sleeping on an uneven rocky surface sounds like a great night’s sleep, it was actually surprisingly uncomfortable. On the other hand, the sunset from the tent was a decent consolation…
And the sunrise…
Overall this was one of the most memorable hikes we have ever done. It’s relatively easy and hiking right along the rocky coastline is a unique experience among east coast hikes. Since it is so far north in Maine, you don’t have to share the trail with many other hikers. The Bold Coast is a long haul from any major city, but absolutely worth the trek.