Morse Mountain
GOOD FOR: All Ages
RATING:


Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:Morse Mountain Road, Phippsburg
Hours:Dawn to dusk
Fee: Free
Contact:

Bates-Morse Conservation Area, 207-786-6078, morseriver.com/MRA_Bates_Morse_Mountain_Welcome_Bulletin.pdf; The Nature Conservancy Maine, 507-729-5181, nature.org/maine

Bathrooms: None
Water/Snacks: None
Map:

USGS Small Point quad; Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 6: E5 (DeLorme)


Don’t choose between a scenic hike through the woods and a day at the beach; here, you can have it all!

Cross sand dunes at the terminus of Morse Mountain Trail to reach stunning Seawall Beach.

This “mountain’s” elevation tops out at 180 feet, but the views from here are actually quite impressive, and this destination has more allure than just its summit: the pleasant, gentle hike leads through lovely terrain before opening onto one of Maine’s most pristine, spectacular beaches. The variety of terrain and lack of facilities will require you to plan ahead, but the preparation will be well worth the effort.

From the parking area, follow the well-marked, wide old fire road, which is mostly paved with some areas of hard-packed gravel; this section is sturdystroller friendly. It leads first through hardwood forest and then passes through wetlands and along the Sprague River Salt Marsh, which provides critical habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Keep your eyes out for migrating birds, particularly in September and October! At approximately 1.0 mile, the trail reaches a junction near the summit. To reach the scenic outlook, veer right uphill, following the sign for the viewpoint. The coastline spreads below, as do miles of Maine woods and the winding Sprague River entering the Atlantic Ocean.

After taking in the views, continue back to the trail as it dips down toward Seawall Beach. When the trail opens to the sand dunes, you’ll feel as if you’ve stumbled onto paradise: the white sand beach seems to stretch forever, dotted here and there with driftwood forts. Clear ocean water beckons, so be sure to pack a suit and towel for a quick dip. Enjoy the wild, unspoiled character of this landscape before retracing your steps to the parking lot.

Plan B:

For a spectacular though much more crowded beach, head 5 miles east to Popham Beach State Park. At low tide, consider a walk to Fox Island, but be sure to consult a tide chart so you don’t end up marooned. Other nearby destinations include Hermit Island (Trip 10) and Fort Popham State Historic Site, a semicircular granite fort at the mouth of the Kennebec River.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Thirteen miles north of Morse Mountain is the small city of Bath, where you can find restaurants and shops, as well as the Maine Maritime Museum, which offers multiple interactive exhibits for kids.



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