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Ovens Mouth Preserve, Boothbay

Bridge connecting Ovens Mouth Preserve East and West over the Sheepscot River

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's no natural swimmer (like those mermaids), she almost always falls in the water.

Woman and her dog sitting on a rock along the water at Ovens Mouth Preserve in Boothbay

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.

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 miles. 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 unique natural landmark."

Due to its deep-water access and protected waters, this area has attracted 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 its 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.

We first came here a couple of years ago, then returned recently with Romy's sister Flora and a few friends. On our first trip, 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.

Here are some pictures of Ovens Mouth East and the bridge. At low tide, you can walk out to a fun rock island near the bridge, but high tide will submerge the small causeway leading to it. Here is a picture of the island at high tide, and a picture I took from the island at low tide on our recent trip.

There was almost no water and mostly mud under the bridge when we first arrived. It was not the view of glorious blue/green water I'd hoped to dazzle my friends with. But by the time we'd done a loop at Ovens Mouth East and returned to the bridge, the tide had risen and the water had returned. Here is a tide chart for Oven's Mouth Preserve if you want to plan your trip for high tide.

The water is not the only impressive aspect of these trails. The forest sections are quite equally breathtaking.

There are two trailheads for this preserve, one for Ovens Mouth East and one for Ovens Mouth West. I have parked at both and wouldn't favor one over the other. Here is the link to Maine Trail Finder, where you will find directions for the two trailheads. Since they connect with the magnificent bridge, it doesn't really matter where you start. If you are looking for hiking that is a bit more challenging, start at Ovens Mouth West. For easier hiking, start at Ovens Mouth East.

These trails are rated "moderate" by All Trails and "easy, moderate, advanced" by Maine Trail Finder. Aside from the rooty paths and slightly hilly parts, we didn't find these trails extremely difficult. Still, 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 on-leash and they will love it. I hope you make it here for a hike - it's a spectacular and magical place.

Dog on a rock along the water at Ovens Mouth Preserve


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