Hamilton Audubon Sanctuary Trail is so special to me because it was the first trail that I ever did on my own. It wasn’t a mountain, but it was beautiful nonetheless. From strolling through the woods, to relaxing at the water, and enjoying the peaceful sounds of nature, this trail was a perfect way to enjoy a spring afternoon in Maine.
This trail is located in the Hamilton Sanctuary, which is a 93 acre sanctuary that focuses on conserving Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat. Hamilton Sanctuary was actually gifted to the Maine Audubon by Millicent Hamilton. Millicent lived here from the 1940’s until she passed in 1986. She was a naturalist and an avid bird watcher and she enjoyed this property all of the years she lived there.
“It is a peaceful and beautiful bit of land that has been an important part of my life for many years, to roam afoot or to view from the water. It’s home to the woodcock and bobolinks in the spring, to redwings, catbirds and song sparrows to warblers and flycatchers along the marsh edge. It is spring and autumn grazing ground for the deer. My most fervent desire is that it continue unspoiled for the wildlife, and that many people in the years to come will find peace and joy there as I have done.” – Millicent Hamilton, 1984.
This trail traverses through open fields and wooded areas and follows a salt marsh along the Back Cove. Many different types of birds call this area home and if you are lucky, you might be able to see some yourself. The sanctuary is free to the public and it is open year round from dusk to dawn. If you are a winter person, you can snowshoe and cross-country ski. There are posted boundaries and it is asked that visitors do not pass them. Unfortunately, no pets are allowed here.
The parking lot is located off of Foster Point Road in West Bath and the trail head starts on the opposite side of the road. When I arrived the parking lot was empty and very muddy as it was early spring which means it is mud season here in Maine. I parked in the area that seemed the safest, grabbed my hiking backpack, and ventured off.
I looked over the trail board which had a few cool articles and a trail map. I learned here that there are three trails that eventually intermingle – the blue, yellow, and green trail which are located to the right. If you take a left you will be on the red trail which doesn’t connect to the other trails as it is on the opposite side. I followed my AllTrails map and took the blue, yellow, and green trail which took me over a bridge and into the woods.
When I crossed over the bridge I realized that it was low tide so there wasn’t as much of a water view as I had hoped for, but that wasn’t going to ruin the day for me. I continued on into the woods on the blue trail and saw birds flying around as the sun peaked through the trees. At the beginning there was no view of the water, but as I followed the trail I could start to see the water through the trees ahead. Every so often there was a small opening to the water, some areas with benches, where you could sit and take it all in.
The blue trail continued through the woods, but stayed along the water for almost the rest of the way. The contrast of the green trees, moss, and plants to the bright blue sky with the sun beams coming through was incredible. I love hiking a mountain, but sometimes there are no views until you get closer to the top, which does make the trek up worth it. But one thing that I love about nature trails, especially near the water, is that you get views the entire way.
Slowly but surely, I made my way from the blue trail to the green trail. The green trail went away from the water for a little bit and brought you more through the woods. Some of the smaller paths, like the photo above on the top right, felt like I was in a fantasy world the way the trees almost wrapped around the trail. I also passed a small pond here but decided to continue on.
Some areas of the trail were still dull and gray while others were bright and blossoming. At one point I was walking down a path that was surrounded by bright green moss on both sides and the brown dirt in-between really made the moss pop. This part of the trail led me back to the water where I was able to make the trek down and stand in the marsh as it was still low tide.
The view here was beautiful and I felt like I could see for miles both ways. There were small pockets of water left over from low tide and the sand was squishy and wet. There were shells and snails all around so I watched each step to make sure that I didn’t step on anything. I was the only one around this area so it was quiet.
I climbed back up the hill and continued on the trail. I was back in the woods along the water for a few minutes until I came across a big open area. I walked out along the rocks and found a perfect spot to sit. I stayed here for a good half hour and just enjoyed every minute of it. This would be a good place to picnic and had I known, I would have packed one. Even though it was low tide there were a lot of birds and ducks swimming along the deeper parts of what was left of the water. This part of the trail was peaceful and it was just what I needed to clear my head.
When I was done relaxing, I went back onto the green trail and followed it back through the woods along the water. This section was more of a forested wetland so there were signs and small plank bridges to help keep you on the trail to protect the land. The colors here were still vibrant and bright just as they had been from the start.
As I made my way back to the parking lot I ended up back on the blue trail and I came across the same pond I passed earlier so I decided to take a closer look. I am happy I did because I stumbled upon a bunch of turtles sun bathing in the water. I tried to get some good pictures but had to be quiet enough so that I did not disturb them. This was a nice little break to enjoy both the weather and the sounds of nature.
Eventually, I made my way back through the blue trail, over the bridge, and back to the parking lot. As I always do, I used my drive home to reflect on my day, the trail, and things that had been running through my mind. I almost didn’t do this trail because I was worried about doing it alone, but it all worked out.
Overall, the trail was absolutely beautiful and I highly recommend it. I know that pets are not allowed, but it is perfect for a stroll through the woods by yourself, with friends, family, and children. The areas that you can walk out to are so worth it to enjoy the view, to relax, or even to picnic. Maine is home to so many beautiful trails and I am so happy that I get to experience and share them.
Post Trail Eats
I started my day with breakfast from my favorite café, Café Crème. They make these delicious stuffed croissants and fill them with different ingredient combinations every day. I went with the egg, cheddar, and bacon and it was delicious. They also offer a weekly drink special which I usually try, but I do have my usual, a 24oz caramel and sea salt iced latte with 3 espresso shots and oat milk.