The dominant natural feature in southwestern Maine is Sebago Lake, the state’s second-largest lake after Moose-head. Ranging eight miles wide and 12 miles long, Sebago Lake boasts 45 square miles of sparkling surface area and 105 miles of beautiful shoreline.
Ringing the lake is a jumble of scenic hills that are home to a handful of conservation lands and miles of hiking trails, many leading to views of the water.
Here are recommendations for exploring the region on foot this month. Safety note: It’s deer firearms season through Nov. 26, so be sure to wear several articles of hunter orange clothing out on the trail.
Libby Hill Trails
Eight miles of foot trails wind through the forests, meadows and wetlands of the former Libby Farmstead, which dates to 1790. Now the property of the town of Gray, Libby Hill offers many hours of delightful walking on a system of color-coded paths, which include Moose Odyssey, Harold Libbey and Outback trails. More info: www.libbyhill.org.
Raymond Community Forest
This 365-acre property in Raymond encompasses a sizable chunk of Pismire Mountain, as well as woodlands next to Crescent Lake. Loon Echo Land Trust purchased the parcel from Hancock Land Company in 2014 and has constructed three trail loops totaling 2.5 miles. From the cliff tops of Pismire, hikers can enjoy wonderful views over Crescent Lake to Rattlesnake Mountain, including a sliver of Sebago Lake. More info: www.loonecholandtrust.org.
The undulating ridgeline of this 1,035-foot mountain in Casco is reached via the Bri-Mar Trail, named for Brian and Marlene Huntress of the family that owns the land and maintains the path. Several lookouts on the south side of the peak offer views of Crescent Lake, Panther Pond and Sebago Lake, while a small clearing on the north side provides a window to Mt. Washington and the Presidentials. Find the trailhead on Route 85, 0.9 miles south of its junction with Route 11 in the hamlet of Webbs Mills.
Bald Pate Mountain Preserve
Loon Echo Land Trust established this 486-acre preserve of forests, meadows and granite ledges in South Bridgton in 1997 to protect the land from development. Seven miles of hiking on seven trails on the 1,051-foot mountain means opportunity for exploration, highlighted by a mountaintop pitch pine forest and numerous outlooks with views of Peabody Pond and Sebago Lake. More info: www.loonecholandtrust.org.
At 1,416 feet, Douglas Mountain in Sebago is the highest of the four peaks of the Saddleback Hills, which rise immediately west of Sebago Lake. The town of Sebago owns 169 acres on the mountain, where four trails offer a little over three miles of tramping. The summit features a stone observation tower built in 1925 and a large boulder with the Latin inscription “NON SIBI SED OMNIBUS,” which translates to “not for one but for all.” More Info: www.mainetrailfinder.com.
Sebago to the Sea Trail
This terrific hiking and biking trail connects the south shore of Sebago Lake with East End Beach on Casco Bay, following the old Mountain Division Rail Corridor and the Presumpscot River for much of its 28-mile distance. Facilitated by the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust and the Sebago to the Sea Coalition, the multiuse route connects the communities of Standish, Windham, Gorham, Westbrook, Portland and Falmouth.
For a nice introduction, start at the trail’s northern terminus at Sebago Lake in Standish. Hike south along the lake to Otter Ponds in Gorham, then turn east along the Mountain Division Trail and proceed to Route 202 in Windham. This point-to-point hike is 8.5 miles and requires a car spot. More info: www.sebagotothesea.org.
Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island is editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide and author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast. Follow more of Carey’s adventures at