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Raymond Community Forest

View of Crescent Lake from the Pismire Bluff Trail at Raymond Community Forest

The truth of it is, Maine trails and forests are not at their finest this time of year. Shoulder seasons offer dull browns, bare trees and wet trails...which is why I mostly opt for sunrise runs and beach trails during mud season. Still, some lifeless trails end in brilliant views, as was the case in this hike.

I learned about this community forest during one of my visits to The Dog Wash, Etc. in Portland. If you're looking for a self-serve dog wash and pet supply company with knowledgeable and friendly staff, this is the place. We've been buying our dog food here for years and they also carry my trail guide: Southern Maine Trails.

Their store manager, Evee, gave me a list of several hikes to explore near Raymond and although it took me a year to make it up there, I'm glad we finally did. The Raymond Community Forest was a sweet surprise with a stellar view of Crescent Lake. Although steep at parts, it was relatively short, making it the perfect hike for a few 13 year olds, our lazy dog and my mom.

Three boys and a dog looking over Crescent Lake at the top of Pismire Bluff at the Raymond Community Forest

Managed by the Loon Echo Land Trust, this 356-acre forest was conserved in 2016 by LELT after a community fundraising effort. It now includes more than three miles of trails with four loops/options.

Evee recommended the Pismire Bluff Trail, so that's what we did. This 0.8 mile out-and-back trail starts by heading right at the main kiosk after parking in the lot at 141 Conesca Road. You will be starting out on the pink Spiller Homestead Loop, then connecting with the blue Pismire Bluff Trail. Don't be confused by the map, which shows the trail on the opposite side of Conesca road. You will be crossing the road, just not right away.

The trail will wind past some old stone walls, then lead you to the road, where you will cross and reconnect with the blue trail markers. From here, the trail becomes steep pretty quickly, but it's a shorter hike, so just keep trucking.

Once you've reached the top, stay left on the blue trail until you've reached the view point. We hung out here for quite a while, enjoying a snack and a view.

While at the top of this trail, some other hikers recommended more hiking areas nearby. I will be returning to Raymond to explore those, since I always follow the recommendations of other hikers...and seem to receive them on all of my adventures outdoors.


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