Difficulty: Easy-moderate, depending on the trails you choose to hike within the preserve. The 0.4-mile leading from the preserve’s north parking area to the coast is wheelchair accessible, with a wide, smooth gravel base, while other trails in the preserve, such as the Ridge Trail, is narrow, rocky and hilly.
How to get there: There are two parking areas for the preserve.
The south parking area is in Cutler off Route 191, 18.5 miles from the junction of Route 1 and Route 191 in East Machias; 5-6 miles from Cutler Village; and 8.2 miles south of Route 189 in Lubec. Use this trailhead for Norse Pond Trail and Bog Brook Cove Beach.
The north parking area is in Trescott. From the south parking area, drive 1.5 miles north on Route 191 and turn onto Moose River Road, which starts out paved, then turns gravel. Continue 1.1 miles and the parking area is at the end of the road. Use this trailhead for the wheelchair-accessible trail, the beaches at Moose Cove, Chimney Trail and Ridge Trail.
Information: 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. These trails visit cobblestone beaches, travel over a ridge and wind through a mixed forest to a freshwater pond and scenic outlooks along the rocky coast.
Of the two parking areas for the preserve, the south parking area provides access to the Norse Pond Trail, which starts out as a single trail, then splits into a loop that travels close to the north end of the 11-acre Norse Pond. At the far end of the loop trail, a side trail leads to Bog Brook Cove Beach. And another blazed trail travels north to Bog Brook, which it crosses to continue through the forest to the private, gravel Bog Brook Road.
The north parking area, located in Trescott Township, provides access to the wheelchair-accessible trail, which starts near the kiosk at the parking area and travels 0.4 mile to an overlook above a cobblestone beach. From this outlook, you can look across the Grand Manan Channel to New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island. A narrow side trail (suitable for foot traffic only) leads down to the beach, ending in a series of stone steps.
The wheelchair-accessible trail is surfaced with gravel and limited a 32-inch-wide wheel base. Lined with alders, grasses and low-lying shrubs, the trail is a great place for bird watching.
Near the far end of the wheelchair-accessible trail, just before the overlook, the Ridge Trail start on the left and leads north, traveling through the edge of a wetland area over a series of bog bridges. The Ridge Trail then splits into a loop that travels up and over a rocky outcropping and provides a breathtaking views of the area. At the far end of the loop, a trail continues north, weaving through a hilly, mossy mixed forest to the rocky shore at Moose Cove. At the far end of this trail is another loop. Round trip, this hike is about 2.3 miles and is moderate in difficulty, requiring attention to footing because of the uneven terrain, tree roots and rocks.
The north parking area also provides access to the Chimney Trail, which forms a 0.7 mile loop and visits the remains of a tall, brick chimney by the rocky shore. From the parking area to the chimney, this trail is wide and smooth, surfaced with mowed grass and lined with bushes, making it an excellent place for bird watching. After the chimney, the trail becomes narrower, hillier and rocky as it travels along the shore, then re-enters the forest and loops around to Moose River Road. Along the way is a side trail to a nearby knoll and Bog Brook Road.
Bog Brook Road serves as a connection between the two trail networks in the preserve.
The preserve is open to the public year round for day use. In the winter, the south parking lot is plowed; however Moose River Road is usually plowed only halfway to the north parking lot. Camping and fires are not permitted. Pets are permitted if kept under control at all times, and the land trust asks that visitors stay on trail and pick up after themselves and their pets. Keep in mind that there’s no cell phone coverage in this area.
The 1,770-acre preserve is made up of several adjoining parcels that were acquired by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust over time, starting in 2005, with the bulk of the land being purchased by the land trust in 2008. The Land for Maine’s Future Program provided part of the funding for the preserve, ensuring public access.
The preserve is adjacent to the 12,234-acre state-owned Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land unit, making it part of the largest contiguous area of conservation land on the Maine coast outside of Acadia National Park, according to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
Approximately 88 acres of the preserve is managed for commercial blueberry harvesting, and an estimated 40 percent of the preserve consists of wetland soils, according to Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Local wildlife include black bear, bobcat and fisher, and two birds rarely seen in Maine — yellow rail and upland sandpiper — have been documented on the property.
For more information and a printable trail map for the preserve, visit www.mcht.org. You can also call the land trust’s East Machias office at 259-5040.
Personal note: I have a confession to make. You may have noticed that I’m visiting the coast a lot lately for my outdoor adventures, and there’s a reason for that. I’m trying to avoid the black flies and mosquitoes for as long as I can. On the coast, the ocean breeze often scatters the hordes of flies that inevitably come with spring in Maine, while deep in the woods, the flies are often so thick you end up inhaling a few (protein-packed trail snacks?) as you huff and puff up a mountain.
I’ve lived in Maine my whole life, and while I may tolerate the black flies better than an out-of-stater, I still take plenty of measures to avoid being bitten. So on Friday, my dog Oreo and I took a trip to the coast, this time driving two hours to reach the eastern corner of the state. (Fortunately, Oreo has gotten past the phase where he vomits if riding in the car for over an hour.)
With the windows rolled down, we drove through blueberry barrens and past the “Blueberry Dome” of Wild Blueberry Land in Columbia Falls. In Machias, we passed over the Middle River Reservoir, where the Machias Valley Farmers Market was in full swing, with locals flowers, fiddleheads and fresh eggs. We then puttered through the coastal village of Cutler, its harbor filled with fishing boats, and on to the neighboring Trescott Township and the north parking area for Bog Brook Cove Preserve, which we found empty.
Our carefree visit at the preserve that day will remain in my memory as a mixture of sun and salty air, smooth cobblestones, serviceberry blossoms and birdsong. With Oreo at my side, I walked the wheelchair-accessible chair to the beach, where Oreo waded through the frigid water and clambered over seaweed-covered rock formations while I inspected the cobblestones, tumbled round and smooth by the crashing waves.
We then explored the Ridge Trail and Chimney Trail, traveling over more rugged terrain. Along the way, I paused to photograph a black-and-white warbler and common yellowthroat, two songbirds that appear in the spring and have very self-descriptive names. (The black-and-white warbler is streaked with black and white, and the common yellow throat has a bright yellow throat and a handsome black mask.) I also spotted several ravens hunting for snacks in the seaweed and raising a racket with their wild calls. I tried to duplicate their calls as we walked along. Oreo wasn’t amused.
By the time we completed both trails, we didn’t have time to visit the south parking area to check out the Norse Pond Trail and cobblestone beach of Bog Brook Cove. We’ll just have to return another day, which doesn’t irk me even the slightest bit.
More photos from the trip: