Difficulty: Easy. Exploring all three trails is about a 1.5-mile hike.
How to get there: Moose Point State Park is located off Route 1, between Belfast and Searsport. The park’s address is 310 West Main Street in Searsport.
Information: Moose Point was given to the state of Maine for use as a state park in 1952 in memory of George A. Carver (1836-1908) by his heirs John A.H. Carver, Clifford M. Carver and G.W. Douglas Carver.
George A. Carver was a ship captain and ship builder who sailed from Searsport in the late 1800s.
His heirs also donated the Carver Memorial Library to the town of Searsport in 1908, fulfilling a long held wish of the captain. The exterior of the library was built with fieldstones taken from the Carver Farm, on what today is Moose Point State Park. A day after the library’s dedication ceremony in October 1910, the Bangor Daily News described the library as “a thing of beauty and a joy for generations of Searsport people to come.”
Moose Point State Park is a popular place for local residents and people who are traveling along coastal Route 1. In addition to three hiking trails, the park includes a playground, gazebo, group shelter and many picnic tables and grills. Two sets of stairs lead down to a rocky beach, which has some patches of sand. And benches are located near the water for people who just want to sit and enjoy the view.
Several benches are also located along the hiking trails — Big Spruce Trail, Moose Trail and Meadow Trail — which are wide and level, great for families with small children (though parents and guardians should be mindful of where the forest slopes down to the beach).
The park is open for day use year round, though during the winter, visitors must park outside the closed gates at the entrance. Dogs are permitted but must be kept on a leash at all times. Admission is $2 for adult Maine residents, $3 for adult non-residents, $1 for senior nonresidents, $1 for children ages 5-11 years old, and free for senior Maine residents and children under 5 years old.
For information, including park rules, visit www.maine.gov/moosepoint.
Personal note: I wanted to save Moose Point State Park for a greener time of year, but I jumped the gun. On Sunday, Saint Patrick’s Day, I threw on my bright green fleece (topped with a warmer, windproof fleece) and drove to Searsport, a town with an exciting history.
Growing up in Winterport, I passed by the large wooden sign marking Moose Point State Park while driving to see relatives in Belfast or to shop in downtown Camden. And while I was curious about where the park road led, I never stopped.
On Sunday, I parked with several other vehicles outside the park gates. (Many state parks close their gates during the winter, but the land is still open for day use visitors.) I walked just a short distance down the park drive and instantly regretted not taking the time to visit the park years ago. The Penobscot Bay glittered beyond a field dotted with tall evergreens.
During the visit, I decided that my favorite part of the park is the section of the Big Spruce Trail leading from the main parking area to the tip of Moose Point. That piece of trail, which runs along the shore, was sheltered from the cold wind that day. And while the temperature was in the low 30s, the bright sunlight made the March day seem a lot warmer.
I walked by several visitors, families and solo walkers. One couple told me about a juvenile bald eagle that perches in tall evergreens that lean out toward the shore along the Old Spruce Trail. I looked for the bird as I hiked, even backtracked a few times, but I didn’t catch sight of it. I did, however, see a hairy woodpecker, golden-crowned kinglets, and plenty of red squirrels and crows.