Adventuring in Maine

Maiden Cliff

This trail was absolutely beautiful. I have seen so many pictures of it, however, they did not do it justice. It was more of a workout than I thought it would be and I was surprised with how quick the elevation gain was. It did keep me warm since it was April in Maine so it was chilly, especially near sunset. As always, the sunset at the summit was stunning. Sunrises and sunsets never seem to let me down.

Overall, this trail was better than I expected. I am so glad that my first time hiking it was for a sunset, but I would love to do it again in the summer when the trail is bursting with color and nature is in full bloom. This a great hike for starters or for a random hike just to get outdoors. The view is stunning and there are a few different trails to get to the summit so it won’t get old if you do it more than once.

Trail Information

Trail #5 of 2022
Date completed:
April 4, 2022
Location: Camden, ME
Length: 1.7 miles
Elevation gain: 731 ft
Route type: Out & Back
AllTrails rating: Moderate, 4.6/5🌟
Maiden Cliff AllTrails Link

AllTrails Overview: “Enjoy this 1.7-mile loop trail near Camden, Maine. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 15 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking, snowshoeing, and running, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring. The best times to visit this trail are March through October. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.” – Maiden Cliff AllTrails Link

AllTrails Description: “Camden Hill State Park charges a daily use fee. Maine State Park annual passes are also available for purchase. For current rates please visit:

Maiden Cliff Trail is a moderate to steep trail located near Camden, Maine that climbs several hundred feet through forest to exposed cliffs (800′ elevation) and great mountain and lake (Lake Megunticook) views. Starting from the trailhead at the parking lot, climb near and cross over a stream bed through the forest and sometimes slippery rocks to a junction with a boulder marking the trail. From the boulder the trail can be an out and back (left fork) or a loop (left or right fork). For the loop, take the right fork going up – “Scenic/Ridge Trail” and at the top of the ridge take a left along the Scenic Trail to the Maiden Cliff and the Elenora French cross. Or take the left fork to go straight up (either way is about the same distance). Recommend the loop. The hike to the cliff will normally take around forty-five minutes to an hour to complete. Hiking poles may help navigate the several steep areas that don’t have adequate handholds (other than trees and roots and rocks). Also be careful in wet conditions as the rocks can be very slippery. The views at the top are worth the effort.” – Maiden Cliff AllTrails Link

AllTrails Facility Information: “The parking area off Hwy 52 is paved and has ample parking, however no restroom facilities. Camden Hills State Park (fee area) is a full facility park with the following activities: Birdwatching Camping Cross-country skiing Hiking (trails) Horseback riding Hunting Off-road biking Snowmobiling Snowshoeing Walking (roads and paths) Watchable wildlife To download the park brochure: Cliff AllTrails Link

The Adventure Story

We started this adventure by arriving at the trailhead a little later than we wanted. The sun was already starting to set and it was clear that we needed to get up the mountain quicker than we usually do. We started up the trail in the forest with a quick pace but it didn’t stop me from taking in all that I could from being in nature.

To the left of the trail was a stream that followed us until the trail split. Eventually we had to cross over a small bridge because the stream passed through the middle of the trail. Once we crossed the bridge we noticed that the trail was damaged, maybe by a storm, so it was blocked off. A new trail was created next to the old one to the right and it didn’t look like many people had used it yet. Even so, the new trail was cleared and it was obvious where it went so we continued on.

When we made it to the trail split we took a left (Maiden Cliff Trail) and did an out and back instead of taking a right (Scenic Trail) and doing the full loop. We decided to take the left trail up because we didn’t want to miss the sunset at the summit and we didn’t want to hike back down in complete darkness. It turns out that both trails are about the same distance even though at this time we thought the left trail was quicker.

The trail was starting to get steep before we took the left at the trail split and it was even more noticeable once we started to head up the mountain. At this point, the trail started to get a little more rocky. The path up was almost like a rocky staircase, which was helpful, but steep. Thankfully though, it was easy to ignore being a little winded because the sun was setting in between the trees and it was a perfect golden hour view. Each step we took brought us closer to the summit for a view that I still think about.

After making it up the rocky staircase the trail went back through the forest. Some of the tress were bare while others were not. It was a good mix for this time of year and allowed us to see parts of the lake and surrounding mountains as the sun set above it. As we went over the last hill and rounded the corner to the summit we could see how close we were. Most of the trees near the summit were bare unlike the ones on the trail up. I could already tell that the view over the lake was going to be incredible.

The trail that we took brought us to the side of the mountain with a view of Lake Megunticook and the Elenora French Cross. On this side, the sky was a bright blue and it slowly faded into an orange and pink ombre. Lake Megunticook showed an almost perfect reflection of the sunset above. We packed a picnic, which consisted of a subway sandwich and a cookie, and enjoyed it at the summit. As we ate, we watched the sun set behind the mountain across the lake. The more it set, the more orange the sky became, and the more I wished I could do this every night.

We got lost watching the sunset and finally realized that we stayed at the summit longer than we should have. We quickly packed up our picnic, drank some water, and started the hike back down. Because we waited so long, the way down was darker than we wanted it to be. We did not pack any flashlights, but the ones on our phones got the job done. It’s a good thing that the way down a mountain is usually quicker than the way up because by the time we got to the car it was almost dark and the stars were out. Either way, this hike was totally worth it.

The Elenora French Cross Story

The cross at the top of Maiden Cliff actually has a story. If you are interested, you can read it below. This story was copied from the AllTrails app – credit sited at the end.

“History of the cross: The white cross on top of Maiden’s Cliff is a memorial to Elenora French, an 11-year old girl who fell from the cliff on May 7, 1864. She climbed the cliff along with her older sister, friends, and teacher when a sudden gust of wind blew her hat off. According to her older sisters account, Elenora successfully caught her hat and sat on a rock near the edge of the cliff but while she was putting it back on, another gust of wind pushed her off the edge, falling 300 feet. Elenora was still alive when they climbed down to her and she did not even sustain any broken bones. Unfortunately, she suffered internal injuries and died the next day. To remember Elenora French and her tragic end on this beautiful but dangerous cliff, Joseph B. Steams had a cross erected on the site at the top of the cliff. The simple white cross after years of exposure to weather and elements gave way and had to be replaced more than once. The cross put up in 1947 was blown down on January 17, 1980 and replaced with a new cross that weighed 600 pounds and measured 12 feet by 24 feet. Helicopters of the Air National Guard installed this fourth replacement of Elenoras Memorial Cross.

On September 15, 1986, Roy Brown and Sam Dyer, together with their tools and supplies, climbed the trail to install a monument donated by Coastal Monuments and Laite Funeral Home. It was inscribed with the words, In memory of Elenora French Brown and Dyer installed the memorial at the base of the cross, drilling into the rock.

In May of 1988, vandals toppled the cross and destroyed the hard work the two men had given to the memorial two years earlier. The Camden Fire Department Rescue team and Camden Parks and Recreation Department volunteers and members labored for long hours to put the cross right again. Two helicopters from the 240th Engineer Group of the Maine National Guard also helped in putting the cross upright once again, secured with cables from a donation from the Wayfarer Marine Corporation.

When the cross south arm broke off, it was replaced with a steel cross donated by Frank OHara Jr. On Memorial Day 1992, the steel cross was installed, reinforced with epoxy paint to withstand natures elements and secured with cables donated by the Wayfarer Marine Corporation once again. This cross still stands today.” – Maiden Cliff AllTrails Link

Trail Video

Every trail that I complete I will be putting together a video of my experience on the trail. It will be a first person point of view video which is almost like you are there with me on the adventure.

You can find this video on my Instagram here and on my TikTok here.

Post Hike Snacks

As I stated in the adventure story above, we ended up bringing Subway sandwiches with us and had a picnic at the summit. This was a great excuse to stay at the top longer so we could enjoy every second of the sunset. I really enjoy going out to eat after hiking, but sometimes having a picnic at the summit is worth it.

Message From the Author

Thank you for reading this post and for following me, my journey and my adventures.

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– xoxo Mindy

Real & Authentic. Happy & Healing.

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