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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

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Posted: January 22, 2018

Hiking in Maine: A roundup of great adventures from 2017 (part 4)

Written by: Carey Kish

In this fourth and final part of the series looking back at Carey’s hiking columns from 2017, hike a few of the trails that still show evidence of the devastating Great Fire of 1947, tag along on a backpacking through the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument via the International Appalachian Trail, investigate the bounty of trails along the famed Airline Road, go to Camden Snow Bowl to explore new trails that emanate from its base area, go hiking on the Boothbay peninsula and then revel in the local holiday festivities, wander about on the paths of Jamies Pond Wildlife Management Area, and take a different kind of hike through six Maine gardens. Click on the highlighted links to read each individual story.

I sure hope you’ve enjoyed this recap as much as I have. Your feedback is always welcome. Thanks!

Another year of hiking in the great Maine outdoors is upon us. Enjoy it to the fullest!


Evidence of huge 1947 fires still visible on many Maine trails, especially those at Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island. Fires in October of that year raged from York County to Hancock County, burning a total of 206,000 acres. A hike in some of these fire-affected areas is a walk through an important piece of Maine history.

Devastating forest fires raged across Maine in October 1947, burning nearly 206,000 acres in 200 locations from northern York County to the Hancock County coast. Hikers can get a sense of these historic fires of 70 years ago this month by taking to any number of trails that meander across the once ruined landscapes. On the North Ridge Trail of Cadillac Mountain, for example, you can look down on Bar Harbor and only imagine the terrified residents trying to escape the blaze as it roared toward town. Carey Kish photo.


Backpacking is a great way to experience Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The year-old monument features outstanding hiking trails and great views from numerous mountaintops.

The southern terminus of the renowned International Appalachian Trail is at Mile 12 on the Katahdin Loop Road, the gravel circuit through the southern reaches of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The IAT meanders for 30 surprisingly rugged miles to Grand Lake Road near the north entrance of Baxter at Matagamon Gate. With abundant solitude, fabulous scenery, bountiful wildlife and cozy log shelters en route, I simply can’t recommend this hike enough. Carey Kish photo.


The long and winding Airline Road is bountiful for hikers. Along Route 9 between Bangor and Calais are numerous hiking trails, and even a popular spot for rock climbing.

The easternmost section of Maine’s Route 9, affectionately known as the Airline Road, extends some 90 miles across the Downeast interior between Bangor and Calais. Along this scenic and historic highway corridor are a number of low mountains and a handful of pretty ponds with good trails that, outside of local use, don’t see much foot traffic. The beautiful drive alone is worth the trip, but the bountiful hiking is equally sublime. Carey Kish photo.


A famed downhill skiing site is also a great hiking destination. Several scenic trails emanate from the Camden Snow Bowl base area and lead to the summit of Ragged Mountain.

Combined with a short section of the Georges Highland Path, Hosmer Brook Trail and Red Diamond Trail make a great 4-mile circuit over the Ragged Mountain summit. Carey Kish photo.


Boothbay region is a holiday delight. Scenic walks can be combined with numerous other activities, including a visit to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens for their fabulous Gardens Aglow light extravaganza.

Any time of year is a good time for hikers to visit the Boothbay Peninsula, but the holiday season is this hiker’s favorite, when one or more scenic walks can be combined with a whole host of festive events for many hours of outdoor fun and good cheer with friends and family, including a visit to the the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay for its Gardens Aglow holiday lights extravaganza. Carey Kish photo.


Jamies Pond can provide some capital relief. Not too far from the bustle of Augusta lies the beautiful and surprisingly wild 840-acre Jamies Pond Wildlife Management Area, which spans parts of Hallowell, Manchester and Farmingdale just a couple miles west of the busy Interstate 95 corridor and is home to five miles of hiking trails.

There’s a rather unheralded conservation property in the Augusta region, an 840-acre gem with more than five miles of meandering trails that is just a delightful place for a hike. The beautiful and surprisingly wild Jamies Pond Wildlife Management Area spans parts of Hallowell, Manchester and Farmingdale just a couple miles west of the busy Interstate 95 corridor. Carey Kish photo.


6 Maine public gardens (that aren’t in Boothbay). From the Franciscan Friary in Kennebunk to the Viles Arborteum in Augusta, there are plenty of lush grounds beyond the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens to wander through and enjoy. A different kind of hiking but fun nonetheless.

There are three dozen interesting and beautiful gardens scattered around Maine that are worth a visit and a pleasant walk through. Here’s a look at six of them. Carey Kish photo.


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