Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Autumn months perfect for hiking in Lakes Region

By Abby Wilson

Autumn is a special time to get out on the trails in Maine, especially in the Sebago Lake Area.

As the threat of mosquitos, ticks, and heat subsides, beautiful fall colors appear in all their glory. New England tourism sees an uptick in October and November as many enjoy the festivals and fairs, as well as long drives down back roads and strolls through the woods.

Fall is a perfect opportunity to get outdoors and explore many
exceptional trails and scenic vistas throughout the Lakes
Region of Maine, such as the trails at Lowell Preserve 
Windham and Raymond boast some prestigious hiking trails that allow walkers to enjoy local bodies of water, geological forms, and scenic vistas.

Even if there is no destination, simply walking among the colors of fall in the Lakes Region is enjoyable.

In Windham, the Lowell Preserve features a vast trail network. Some of the wide paths are multi-purpose, which means that you can hike or bike, and in the winter, cross country ski and snowshoe. Horseback riding is also allowed.

There are also trails open to all terrain vehicles (ATVs) such as four-wheelers and snowmobiles. All year long this property is used by the public.

In 1999, the town of Windham purchased Lowell Preserve, a 308-acre parcel, in hopes of providing a recreational area for the community.

It is maintained by the town of Windham and the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust. Multi-use paths are only the beginning of what this property can offer. Technical trails spur off the main trails, and are available for mountain bikers, trail runners, and long-distance hikers.

If you’re putting on some miles at Lowell Preserve, which is easy to do with its 8 miles of trails, be prepared.

Michael Tassotto, an avid hiker, says that “energy-boosting snacks like trail mix, energy bars, and fresh fruit will keep you fueled during your hike… Staying hydrated is crucial.”

When hiking technical trails, first aid kits, navigation tools, and sun protection are also recommended.

Tassotto says “sturdy and comfortable hiking boots are essential to tackle uneven terrain and provide ankle support. Make sure they are waterproof for any wet conditions… Fall weather can be unpredictable.”

You may also consider bringing rain gear in case the weather turns suddenly.

Avid hiker, Abbie Dufrene, says “Frogg Toggs is a super lightweight and effective rain gear for a ‘just in case’ kind of thing”.

While exploring Lowell Preserve, be sure to enjoy the streams and woodlands which are the significant property features.

In the Raymond Community Forest, hikers find it to be a popular place to visit. This 365-acre property is owned and maintained by the Loon Echo Land Trust.

The Pismire Bluff Trail takes you to a scenic overlook after only a one-mile trek. Lots of switchbacks make this an easier walk and one can see people of all ages and experiences walking up the mountain.

“Raymond Community Forest offers a unique view of Mount Washington and Rattlesnake Mountain, but also includes Panther, Sebago and Little Sebago as well as a nearly complete view of Crescent Lake,” said Jerri Wingard, a frequent visitor of this trail and resident of Raymond. “The open space at the top is the highlight of this hike. It's a great place to show visitors a panoramic view of the surrounding area.”

The maple ash community at Raymond Community Forest is particularly beautiful in the fall. One will notice the golden leaves in the canopy above.

“It is one of my very favorite places” says Jon Evans, Stewardship Manager for Loon Echo Land Trust.

You can visit this spectacular piece of conservation land on Conesca Road in Raymond all year around to hike, bike, snowshoe and ski.

Only 6 miles south from the community forest lies the Morgan Meadows Wildlife Management Area on Egypt Road in Raymond.

While there is no scenic vista or summit featured on this property, it is unique in its own way.

Measuring over 1,000 acres, it provides vital wildlife habitat which is vastly unbroken and connected to food and water resources. Species such as black birch, Louisiana water thrushes, waterfowl, and more can be seen throughout the wetland areas.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife manages the small network of trails at Morgan Meadows which is just over 2 miles total. One of these paths leads visitors to a fascinating geological feature. The trail goes along a wall of rock which has a stunning red and orange hue and outstanding striations.

Windham and Raymond have many trails for all hikers to explore this fall, some of which are not mentioned in this story including Black Brook Preserve, Bri-Mar on Rattlesnake Mountain, and the Sebago to Sea Trail.

To access information about the trails in your back yard and throughout the Maine, visit<

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