1-minute hike: Simon Trail in Lamoine

Difficulty: Easy. The main trail loop trail is just over 1 mile long, with a 0.14 mile trail extension at the far end of the loop.

How to get there: From Route 1 in Ellsworth, turn onto Douglas Highway-Route 184 and drive southeast 2.9 miles to Lamoine Town Hall, which will be on your left. Right after passing the town hall, turn left onto Pinkham’s Flats Road-Route 204, which becomes Partridge Cove Road. Drive 2.3 miles, then turn right into the Simon Trail parking lot, which is marked by a large wooden sign with blue lettering. The trail, marked with blue blazes, starts right at the parking lot.

Information: Simon Trail is a loop trail that travels through a beautiful mixed forest on an easement on private land in Lamoine. Measuring just over 1 mile, the trail is well-marked and maintained by the Frenchman Bay Conservancy, a nonprofit land trust that conserves wilderness and maintains several public trails in the Frenchman Bay and Union River watersheds.

The trail is entirely in the forest, though it does pass by a few small clearings and wet areas. The forest features stands of giant white pine trees, white cedars and clusters of fragrant balsam firs. Adding to the beauty of the forest are clusters of ferns, mossy areas and plenty of mushrooms.

The preserve is open to visitors for free during daylight hours, and the parking lot is plowed regularly in the winter because this is a great trail for snowshoeing. Trail users are asked to stay on trail and respect the privacy of the landowners and neighbors. Dogs are permitted but should be kept under control at all times. Fires and camping are not permitted.

Founded in 1987, Frenchman Bay Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust with the mission “to build lasting relationships and commitments that conserve the distinctive landscapes and natural resources of the Frenchman Bay and Union River watersheds.”

For more information, visit frenchmanbay.org, visit the Frenchman Bay Conservancy office at Tidal Falls, call 207-422-2328 or email info@frenchmanbay.org.

Personal note: We’re experiencing the typical Maine March — sunny days with cool breezes that whisper of springtime, mixed with snowstorms and cold fronts that remind us that winter hasn’t released us from its grasp just yet. It’s a tough time to plan outdoor adventures. The mud is mixing with old, crusty snow. A layer of slush has formed over frozen lakes. And to be frank, I’m just tired of winter. I’m ready for spring.

So after last week’s snowfall, I hope you’ll forgive me if I planned for my weekly hike with less enthusiasm than usual. I tried to look for a pretty snowshoeing location, and thanks to the Frenchman Bay Conservancy, I came across Simon Trail, which they described on their website as just that.

With my dog, Oreo, following directly behind me, I broke through the hard snow crust on the trail on March 16, and slowly hiked the 1-mile loop. Somewhere along the way, my irritation at the 30 degree day melted away. The forest was ideal for winter walking, filled with a variety of evergreen trees that looked especially beautiful draped in fresh snow. 

I was making so much noise packing down snow that it was nearly impossible to sneak up on wildlife, but I did hear the hammering of woodpeckers and the familiar song of the black-capped chickadee. A red squirrel made a brief appearance, and deer tracks crisscrossed the trail.

By the time we returned to the trailhead, clouds had gathered, blocking out the sun and dropping the temperature — but the muddy parking lot reminded me that spring was just around the corner.

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.