When it comes to exploring the natural beauty of Maine, most people think of Acadia National Park or the rugged coastline of the state. However, tucked away in the town of Alfred is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of history and nature – the Shaker Woods Reserve. This enchanting forest reserve, with its well-maintained trails and serene surroundings, provides a peaceful retreat for nature lovers and history buffs alike. Let’s take a closer look at what makes Shaker Woods Reserve a must-visit destination in Maine.

History of Shaker Woods Reserve

The Shaker Woods Reserve is located on the historic property of the Alfred Shaker Community, which was established in 1793. The Shakers, a religious sect known for their simple living, pacifism, and communal lifestyle, were also renowned for their craftsmanship and agricultural skills. They transformed the land into productive farmland and built several structures, some of which still stand today. The Shaker Woods Reserve is a testament to their legacy, offering visitors a glimpse into their way of life.

Exploring the Trails

The Shaker Woods Reserve boasts a network of well-marked trails that meander through a diverse landscape of forests, wetlands, and fields. The trails are suitable for all skill levels, making it a perfect destination for families, casual hikers, and seasoned trekkers alike.

  • The Orchard Trail: This trail takes you through the remnants of the Shaker’s apple orchard and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
  • The Mill Trail: This trail leads to the site of the Shaker’s sawmill and gristmill, where you can still see the millstones used by the Shakers.
  • The Boundary Trail: This trail follows the original boundary of the Shaker property, offering a sense of the vastness of the Shaker’s land.

Flora and Fauna

The Shaker Woods Reserve is home to a rich variety of plant and animal species. The forest is dominated by white pine, hemlock, and hardwoods such as oak and maple. The wetlands are teeming with cattails, bulrushes, and various types of ferns. Wildlife enthusiasts may spot white-tailed deer, red foxes, raccoons, and a variety of bird species including woodpeckers, owls, and hawks.

Visitor Information

The Shaker Woods Reserve is open year-round from dawn to dusk. There is no admission fee, but donations are appreciated to help maintain the trails and preserve the historic site. The reserve does not have restroom facilities or a visitor center, so plan your visit accordingly. Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash at all times.


The Shaker Woods Reserve in Alfred, Maine, is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of history and nature. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or just looking for a peaceful retreat, the Shaker Woods Reserve is a destination worth exploring. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack a picnic, and set off on an adventure through the enchanting trails of this remarkable reserve.

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