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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Posted: February 25, 2016

No snow, no problem… Take a hike!

Written by: Carey Kish

The Park Loop Road (Ocean Drive) in Acadia National Park winter is open for car travel from Schooner Head Road to Otter Creek Road, but you’ll see precious few vehicles compared to the high summer season. Given that, winter is a wonderful time to hike the Ocean Path along Frenchman Bay, taking in Sand Beach, Thunder Hole and Otter Cliff as you go. The path and parallel road are yours for the enjoying from December to early April.

A couple years ago I wrote about hiking the Ocean Path, which has become my favorite hike in the park in the off season. Beach, cliffs, mountains, pounding surf, birds and animals, bay and islands views, thick spruce forests, the walk embodies so much of what we all love about Acadia. Read about that great fall hike here: The autumn pace of an Acadia hike.

I was out there on the Ocean Path recently, just after a big storm. Here are some images of that day. And below that are photos and brief descriptions of five other terrific hikes along the Maine coast, from York County and Casco Bay to the Midcoast and Downeast. Oh, and a bonus Acadia hike. Enjoy!

Sand Beach, Newport Cove and Great Head from the Ocean Path, Acadia. Carey Kish photo.

Sand Beach, Newport Cove and Great Head from the Ocean Path, Acadia. Carey Kish photo.

Enjoying the impressive post-storm surf along the Ocean Path. Carey Kish photo.

Enjoying the impressive post-storm surf along the Ocean Path. Carey Kish photo.

Big wave action at Thunder Hole. I waited for "the really big one," but it didn't happen. Carey Kish photo.

Big wave action at Thunder Hole. I waited for “the really big one,” but it didn’t happen. Carey Kish photo.

Looking north along the shore from the Ocean Path. That's the Beehive top left. Carey Kish photo.

Looking north along the shore from the Ocean Path. That’s the Beehive top left. Carey Kish photo.

Cobbles on the beach near Otter Cliff. Carey Kish photo.

Cobbles on the beach near Otter Cliff. Carey Kish photo.

York County

Protected by the Great Works Regional Land Trust, Bauneg Beg Mountain in North Berwick is the only major mountaintop in York County without a communications tower. Hike the half-mile trail to the top for far-reaching views north and west to the snow-capped Presidential Range.

Summit view, Bauneg Beg Mountain, North Berwick. Carey Kish photo.

Summit view, Bauneg Beg Mountain, North Berwick. Carey Kish photo.

Casco Bay

The wilder sections of the 10-mile long Forest City Trail across Portland offer some fine solitude and many hours and miles of great hiking. The winding Stroudwater River, the salt marshes of the Fore River Preserve and the hemlock groves along the Presumpscot River beckon urban adventurers in winter.

On the Forest City Trail along the Stroudwater River, Portland. Carey Kish photo.

On the Forest City Trail along the Stroudwater River, Portland. Carey Kish photo.

Midcoast

Explore the undeveloped shorelines of two 1800s’ reservoirs on the Little River Community Trail, which wanders through the wooded wilds just minutes from downtown Belfast. Formerly the city’s public water supply, the man-made lakes and their surroundings are rich with bird and animal life.

Undeveloped reservoir view, Little River Community Trail, Belfast. Carey Kish photo.

Undeveloped reservoir view, Little River Community Trail, Belfast. Carey Kish photo.

Acadia National Park

The biggest bang for your hiking buck in Acadia is a traverse of Cadillac Mountain, a six-mile trek over the South Ridge and North Ridge Trails. From Eagle Crag to the lower part of the Cadillac Mountain Road, you’re mostly out in the open on the alpine-like terrain. Go now before the summer tourists start crowding the top!

On the South Ridge Trail near the Featherbed, Cadillac Mountain, Acadia. Carey Kish photo.

On the South Ridge Trail near the Featherbed, Cadillac Mountain, Acadia. Carey Kish photo.

Downeast

Meander along the crescent beach on Englishman Bay at Roque Bluffs State Park in the tiny coastal enclave of Roque Bluffs. Then shoulder the daypack and head off into the quiet beauty of the park’s trail system, which leads over a wooded hilltop to a shorefront vista at Rose Ledge.

Beautiful oceanfront, Roque Bluffs State Park, Roque Bluffs. Carey Kish photo.

Beautiful oceanfront, Roque Bluffs State Park, Roque Bluffs. Carey Kish photo.

MORE INFO: These hikes and 44 more are described in AMCs new guidebook, Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, which gives hikers a detailed look at the best trails from the Maine beaches to Downeast Maine.

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