A couple enjoys a walking trail at the Mount Agamenticus park area near a lookout facility. Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald

On a clear day, from the top of “Mount A” as it’s known locally, you can see the sparkling coastline to the north, Mount Washington to the west, and even the ghostly profile of Boston to the south. Here’s where you’ll find no less than 60 different vantage points – many of them offering panoramic views of York County – and you don’t have to be a world-class trekker (or anything like it) to get there.

The surrounding Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region is 10,000 acres of rich coastal forest, alive with the most diverse ecosystem of animal and plant species in all of Maine. Meaning that, smack in the middle of the bustle of southern Maine’s towns – Eliot, Ogunquit, South Berwick, Wells and York – you’ll find this enclave of natural tranquility, as well as scores of vantage points from which to take it all in.

Mount Agamenticus features several connector trails from the Ring Trail to the summit, where there is a lookout tower and several picnic areas. Photo by Karen Beaudoin

Hikers of nearly any age or ability can park for free at the base and take the well-marked, meticulously maintained trails, including an accessibility trail that has wide, crushed-stone pathways for wheelchairs and strollers. Ambitious hikers can hit the longer trails; bikers will find paths just for them, as will equestrians, snowshoers in winter and even ATV riders. Dogs (on leashes) are welcome, and free trail maps are provided at trailheads.

At the top of the first hill (which you can drive up to, and parking is free there as well), you’ll find the visitor center. The park, formerly a ski resort until 1974, is one of the highest points in southern Maine. And the old ski lodge at the summit has been converted into the center and Learning Lodge (open weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day), which offers exhibits on the area’s history and wildlife, hands-on display tables and a kids’ area. Climb the steps to its deck for more terrific views.

You’ll also find multiple elevated decks in scattered spots, most with signs explaining what you’re viewing in the distance. If you just want to chill, then soak up the cool breezes in any of the other places to sit, relax, read or enjoy lunch, whether that’s at one of the picnic tables, on a flat rock nestled off to the side or in the shade beneath a tree. Vistas of the ocean and rolling landscape are literally everywhere you turn.

Meanwhile, there’s also a second hill, the trails to which are much less busy. Camping and fires aren’t permitted anywhere, and there’s a carry-in, carry-out policy on personal items and (of course) litter. Two of the most popular moderate trails for hikers are Turtle Loop (2.2 miles) and Bear Loop (3.2 miles), both of which boast stunning summit views, and pass through everything from hemlock forests to pine groves, past wood frogs and owl nests. The trees around Mount Agamenticus are particularly worth attention; many of the beautiful species here (such as shagbark, chestnut oak and hickory) are found nowhere else in Maine. Between all of those natural riches and the relatively easy accessibility to them, it’s tough to beat Mount A for an exhilarating day (or half-day) trip. The upshot? While the environment here and its views are breathtaking, mercifully, the climb is not.

Park and trails are open year-round, dawn to dusk; the summit access road gate is open from 6 a.m. to sunset April through September and 7 a.m. to sunset October through March. Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region, 186 York St., York, 207-361-1102, https://agamenticus.org.

Alexandra Hall is a longtime New England lifestyle writer who recently moved to Maine.


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