Ovens Mouth Preserve, Boothbay
Updated: Sep 13, 2022
This place was so magical, I just kept waiting for the fairies and mermaids to appear.
That didn't happen, but at least we still had Romy. Hiking with my dog is the next best thing to hiking with mythical creatures. She's playful, full of surprises and although she doesn't like to swim like mermaids, she almost always falls in the water.
Located between Boothbay and Edgecomb, this extensive 5.3 mile trail network covers two peninsulas, scenic shorelines, aquamarine waters, quiet coves, salt marshes and magical forests.
Before moving on, I would like to thank Brandy Card for sending me a picture of this spectacular trail system...along with many others she's done with her two boys (and their grandma) as part of the OMP Trail Challenge. This one's a keeper Brandy. Thank you!
Ovens Mouth Preserve includes two of the three peninsulas located here, those on the east and in the middle. Ovens Mouth East offers 1.6 miles of hiking trails and Ovens Mouth West includes 3.7. They are connected by a 93-foot pedestrian bridge running across the most beautiful blue/green water.
The Ovens Mouth is a narrow passage of ocean water, leading from the Sheepscot and Back Rivers to a large tidal basin. It is bordered on the north by Edgecomb and on the south by Boothbay. The Boothbay Region Land Trust purchased the Oven Mouth property in 1994, to protect and provide public access to this natural landmark.
Due to it's deep-water access and protected waters, this area has been inviting for maritime activities since the mid-1700's. It was one of the region's earliest shipyards and British and American vessels hid in the coves during the Revolution.
One of it's coves was also home to an ice-house in 1880. It was dammed to form a fresh-water pond for the ice-house and the ice was shipped by schooner to Boston and New York. The dam is no longer here, but remnants can be seen from the bridge at low tide. For more on the history and ecology of Ovens Mouth, visit the BBRLT website here: https://bbrlt.org/preserves/ovens-mouth/
I came here with Meg and magical Romy. We were hoping to explore the old foundation that was supposed to be located somewhere near the center of Ovens Mouth East, but we never found it. Still, we managed to discover a winding route that led us to gorgeous vistas, along the shoreline, across the pedestrian bridge to Ovens Mouth West, through dense forests, past salt marshes and back to our starting point. We would have been all kinds of lost, had it not been for my trusted All Trails GPS. The trails were marked, but the network was complicated. Here is the All Trails link. I would highly suggest using GPS. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/maine/ovens-mouth-preserve-west-and-east-loop
Here are some pictures of Ovens Mouth East and the bridge. We were originally able to walk out to a fun rock island near the bridge, but by our return trip, the tide had filled in the small causeway leading to it. I took a picture of it once the water had filled in. You can see the shrub growing right out of the middle of the rock. So cool.
Here are pictures from Ovens Mouth West. The forest here is quite literally breathtaking. The pictures do it no justice, just come see for yourselves.
There are two trailheads, one for Ovens Mouth East and one for Ovens Mouth West. We parked at the East trailhead, which is on Dover Cross Road. Here is the link to Maine Trail Finder, where you will find directions for both: https://www.mainetrailfinder.com/trails/trail/ovens-mouth-preserve
Here is the route that Meg and I did. We started at the blue dot, headed counterclockwise until we reached the pedestrian bridge. We then crossed over and continued counterclockwise, eventually looping back to the bridge, Ovens Mouth East, and our parked car. As you can see, we did find ourselves off track at times, but GPS led us back to where we needed to be.
These trails are rated "moderate" by All Trails and "easy, moderate, advanced" by Maine Trail Finder. Aside from the rooty paths, we didn't find these trails extremely difficult, but there are a few high sections along the water's edge that drop off, so keep one hand on those toddlers. Dogs are welcome here and are happy here.
I am holding off on hiding more Seek'ems for now, but you are welcome to add this trail to your OMP Trail Challenge list if you're still in the game! I hope you make it here - it's a spectacular and magical place.