Difficulty: Easy. The trails are ideal for families, though it’s also a great place for a solo hiker to walk and enjoy birdsong. Also great for snowshoeing and skiing, the trails are well marked, relatively flat and without many boulders or dangerous roots.
How to get there: Birdsacre is in town of Ellsworth. Head towards Bar Harbor on Route 3, and Birdsacre is marked by a sign on your right just past the Small Animal Clinic and before the China Hill Restaurant.
Information: Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary, commonly known as Birdsacre, is open year-round, seven days a week during daylight hours, but the Homestead Museum and Nature Center are seasonal, open June-September. The 200-acre Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary is run by a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the home and vision of ornithologist-photographer Cordelia Stanwood (1865-1958), an Ellsworth native who researched nature on the same land. The sanctuary is free, but relies upon donations and volunteerism. Dogs are allowed on the trails, but dog walkers should stay away from the shelters for non-releasable owls and hawks. In an effort to minimize trail damage, the owners do not allow bicycling. For information, visit www.birdsacre.com.
Personal Note: I’ve never seen such well-marked trails. Some of the signs even tell you how many minutes you have until reaching “home” or the trailhead. I took the perimeter trail and a few side trails. One of my favorite sights was the Queen’s Throne, a massive “L”-shaped tree, which can be reached by the White Trail starting on the left side of the Nature Center.