Exploring The Trail
I have seen so many pictures of Maiden Cliff, but they did not do it justice. It was absolutely beautiful. The trail was only 1.7 miles so the elevation gain was quick and it was quite the workout. 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.
You can access this trail through the Camden Hills State Park or off of Turnpike Dr in Camden, ME. We used the trailhead off of Turnpike Dr, however, you can access Camden Hills State Park on this side of the trail as they connect halfway through.
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.
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.