Imagine a place where the scent of the sea mingles with the earthy aroma of pine trees, where the sound of waves crashing against the cliffs is the only noise to break the silence, and where the sight of the sun setting over the ocean is a daily spectacle. This is not a scene from a movie or a page from a novel. This is the Cliff Trail in Harpswell, Maine. A hidden gem in the heart of New England, the Cliff Trail offers an exhilarating journey through the rugged beauty of Maine’s coastline. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a casual nature lover, this trail promises an unforgettable experience.

Getting to Know the Cliff Trail

The Cliff Trail is located in the 90-acre Harpswell Cliff Trail Preserve, which is managed by the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust. The trail is approximately 2.3 miles long and is rated as moderate, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels. The trail winds through a diverse landscape of forests, wetlands, and cliffs, offering stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding islands.

What to Expect on the Trail

As you embark on your journey along the Cliff Trail, you’ll be greeted by a lush canopy of trees, including white pine, red oak, and hemlock. The trail is well-marked and includes several footbridges and boardwalks to help you navigate the wetlands and streams. As you ascend the cliffs, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Casco Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Keep an eye out for wildlife, as the preserve is home to a variety of birds, deer, and even the occasional fox or porcupine.

Highlights of the Cliff Trail

  • The Cliff Overlook: This is the highest point on the trail and offers breathtaking views of the ocean and the nearby islands. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic or a moment of quiet reflection.

  • The Seaside Meadows: These open fields are dotted with wildflowers in the spring and summer and offer a serene contrast to the rugged cliffs.

  • The Forest Loop: This section of the trail takes you through a dense forest of pine and hemlock, offering a cool respite on hot summer days.

Planning Your Visit

The Cliff Trail is open year-round, but the best time to visit is from April to October when the weather is mild and the trail is free of snow. The trailhead is located on Mountain Road in Harpswell, and there is a small parking lot available. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes, as the trail can be rocky and uneven in places. Don’t forget to bring water, snacks, and a camera to capture the stunning views.

Preserving the Beauty of the Cliff Trail

The Harpswell Heritage Land Trust works tirelessly to preserve the natural beauty of the Cliff Trail and its surrounding area. Visitors are asked to respect the trail and its wildlife by staying on the marked paths, carrying out any trash, and keeping dogs on a leash. By following these simple rules, we can ensure that the Cliff Trail remains a beautiful and accessible destination for generations to come.


The Cliff Trail in Harpswell, Maine, is more than just a hiking trail. It’s a journey through some of the most beautiful landscapes in New England, a place where you can connect with nature and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a first-time visitor, the Cliff Trail promises a thrilling and unforgettable experience. So lace up your hiking boots, pack your backpack, and get ready to explore the majestic beauty of Maine’s coastline.

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