There are so many great scenic day hikes in Maine. You don’t have to summit Katahdin and scale the Knife’s Edge for mountain vistas, a beautiful walk in Maine’s woods and along sparkling granite slopes.
A favorite hike of ours is a moderate to easy 4 mile round trip hike in Phillipsburg, on Maine’s midcoast. Morse Mountain trail takes you up to 492 feet above sea level with spectacular views of Casco Bay and the Atlantic from Phillipsburg Peninsula.
From Morse Mountain Summit, after your sea view selfie, you can simply return one mile to the parking area, or choose to continue and descend down the Beach Trail to a gorgeous long stretch of perfect sand on Sewall Beach. If you plan accordingly, you can do the hike, along a mostly paved road, sneakers or hiking shoes recommended, and end at the beach for a picnic – pack a lunch, drinks, swimsuit and towels for a refreshing ocean swim.
Sewall Beach is just south of Popham Beach, and Popham Beach State Park – the two beaches are divided by the Morse River. You could wade (waist deep at low tide!) across to Popham Beach from Sewall Beach at low tide – but its not recommended due to the swift current of the river and quickly rising tide. Besides, Sewall Beach is marvelous on its own, and accessed only by the hike and the few houses nearby. You have great views of Sequin Island Lighthouse in the distance.
At Sewall Beach, and throughout Bates Morse Mountain Conservancy, there are no facilities or trash cans along the trail or at the beach so its BYOE: Bring Your Own Everything. Pack in pack out all you have brought. It’s a pristine natural environment- please respect that – and respect the privacy of the homeowners and cabins on the conservation property, and stay on the obvious well-marked road trail.
Leaving Sewall Beach, you will then have the two mile return trail back up Morse Mountain and down to the parking area on Morse Mountain Road. We witnessed everything from serious backpackers and hikers, to families with beach wagons with coolers and strollers on the trail and the beach. No pets, tat is not permitted.
Morse Mountain is a 600 acre tract of woods, salt marsh and beach, owned and managed by Bates College, as a conservation area where the university conducts research on marine and bird life, sea level rise and salt marsh estuary health. Parking is limited at the trail head, on Morse Mountain Road (which you will find in your GPS off Route 216). Often an attendant is on premise at Bates Morse Conservation Area offering guidance, maps, parking instructions, and accepting donations from his parking lot shack. Visit www.BMMparking.com for parking availability and additional information
Morse Mountain is best hiked from May until October. Pets are not allowed.
Other great scenic day hikes in Maine:
Mt Agamenticus in York with Atlantic Views also – formerly a ski area
Mount Battie in Camden with Penobscot Bay views, and an auto road to the top for non-hikers
Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island Maine, in Acadia National Park
Pleasant Mtn Fire Tower Trail in Bridgton – also known as Shawnee Peak Ski Area with views of NH’s Presidential Range