Bradbury Mountain
GOOD FOR: All Ages
RATING:


Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:528 Hallowell Road, Pownal
Hours:9 a.m. to sunset
Fee: $3 adult Maine residents, $4.50 adult nonresidents, $1 children ages 5–11
Contact:

207-688-4712, bradburymountain.com

Bathrooms: Near the parking lots
Water/Snacks: None
Map:

USGS North Pownal quad; bradburymountain.com/trail-maps.html
 


Without much effort, catch great views at this popular, easy-to-access destination, the perfect place for introducing kids to hiking.

From the wide, bald rock summit of Bradbury Mountain, the forest seems to extend forever.

If you’re looking for a mountain that even the littlest legs can climb, Bradbury Mountain is the place to start. Located just a few miles off of the highway near Freeport, this 800-acre state park is easy to access and full of amenities, including an extensive playground, a picnic area, and bathrooms at the mountain’s base near the large parking lot. You also don’t have to go far to get great views, which makes this mountain a must-do for families exploring Maine.

For the shortest, most direct route to the top, take 0.3-mile Summit Trail, which is well marked and easily accessible from the picnic area near the main parking lot. This hiking-only trail winds up through shady forest, over some rock staircases and bare roots. Though moderately steep, the route is easily navigable by the whole family, including little explorers, particularly when they realize how close they are to the mountaintop! Leaving the forest, the trail reaches the wide, flat, bald rock summit, where there is ample space to spread out a packed picnic and enjoy the scenery, even on the busiest of weekends.

On a clear day the view stretches as far as Casco Bay, and the fall foliage from this vantage point is not to be missed. During autumn months, look for migrating eagles riding the thermals. Spring is the best time to catch a glimpse of migrating hawks: from mid-March through mid-May, birders descend on the summit to take daily raptor counts, particularly of Northern Goshawks. Multiple trails descend the mountain. For a more gradual slope than that of the Summit Trail, take 1.0-mile Northern Loop Trail, which is flat and wide enough to accommodate a robust stroller. This is a multiuse trail, popular with mountain bikers, hikers with dogs, and even horseback riders. And keep your eyes out for an old cattle pound that still stands nearby: early settlers used the stone walls to hold in cattle, sheep, and pigs.

Remember, there are plenty of trails to choose from when exploring this large state park. Those on the west side of the mountain, accessible from the main parking lot, are more appropriate for hikers and families, while routes on the eastern slope are popular with mountain bikers.

Plan B:

When rain strikes or the bugs are just too much for your tyke, consider heading to Wolfe’s Neck Farm (Trip 9), another destination near Freeport. Here, you can take cover inside barns and get to know the farm animals while you wait to venture outside.

Where to Eat Nearby:

If amenities are needed, head into downtown Freeport. There, kids can get inside the fish tank observation bubble at the L.L. Bean flagship store or even tour the ever popular Wilbur’s Chocolate Factory.



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