Blagden Preserve on Mount Desert Island
This is part of my compilation of the secret, little-known parts of the island where visitors can escape the crowds. By all means, make sure to read about my top ten things to do in Acadia. But if these activities are on everyone else’s list you may be ready for someplace more remote. Blagden Preserve is such a place. Also, it serves as a reminder that not all that’s wild and beautiful on the island belongs to Acadia National Park.
Blagden Preserve is owned by the Nature Conservancy and was donated in 1968 by summer residents Donald and Zelina Blagden. It consists of 110.6 acres of mature red spruce, white cedar, and balsam fir. This area of the island, in the northwest corner near the causeway, escaped the devastating fire of 1947. The prevailing winds off the ocean keep the forest floor moss-covered in contrast to dryer parts of the interior. The land slopes gently down to the shore, accessible by a well maintained trail.
The area has taller trees than most of the island. In fact, a line of old oaks stand at the entrance. Don’t miss the plaque on the biggest, which relates that they were planted on the day of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, making them 148 years old! The old spruce trees along the Big Wood Trail are falling frequently from age and are allowed to lie where they fall. The trail, while cleared of obstructing timber, is rocky and in some spots a bit of a climb, so good shoes are needed. Listen for the haunting call of the wood thrush. The trail is 1.2 miles long and it takes less than an hour to get to the shore. There is over 1000 feet of rocky shore from which to view eagles, osprey and seals. The return trip to the parking area can be made up Higgins Farm Road for variety and speed.
Other trails in Acadia may be grander and more popular but Blagden Preserve has most of what you come to the coast of Maine for: a chance to be alone in nature (I encountered two people in two hours on August 11), cool ocean breezes, abundant wildlife and clean air. In addition, if you stay off island (like here for example) this spot is pretty close to the bridge and the route breaks off soon from the heavy traffic. Just take the right fork after the bridge, travel for 1.9 miles and take a right onto Indian Point Road. Drive 1.7 miles where you bear right for another .2 miles and look for the sign pictured above. Blagden Preserve also shows up on google maps and your GPS. At the entrance pick up a map and go hike!