Local Exploration: Wolfe’s Neck State Park

If you are interested in a day trip with a pleasant hike, stunning views of Maine’s rocky coast, and delicious food, look no further than Wolfe’s Neck State Park in Freehold, ME. Wolfe’s Neck is located an hour away from Colby’s campus, but is undoubtedly worth the drive.

The park—which is open daily all year round from 9:00 a.m. to sunset—consists of more than 200 acres of protected land. Once you park your car, a short trail leads to Wolfe Neck’s main beach, which offers a panoramic view of Googins Ledge, Googins Island, and Indian Island. This gorgeous beach is perfect for a picnic on the rocks while the water laps gently against the shoreline.

Once you are done exploring the main beach, consider taking a left onto the White Pines trail, which offers views and access points to a salt marsh estuary, a type of coastal wetland that is flooded and drained by salt water from the Atlantic.

Along the way, you will notice the park has installed a number of panels along the trail that detail fascinating information about the park’s wildlife, geography, and history. One of these panels explains the ecological importance of Googins Island as an osprey nesting site. If you are lucky, in the summer you may even see an osprey fly onto the island to take care of its young. Other notable species found at Wolfe’s Neck include wildflowers, like mayflowers and lady slippers, as well as a wide array of birds, including common terns and double-crested cormorants.

The White Pines trail will loop you back to the main beach where you can take a right to walk along the Casco Bay Trail. After 0.2 miles, you will reach a beautiful view of the Casco Bay with a view of Eagle and Cousin islands. Take the stairs down onto the beach to enjoy the view up-close and examine the diverse wildlife found in Maine’s intertidal pools.

After this, you can choose to take the short 0.2-mile Ledge Trail back to the parking lot. If you are interested in a longer hike, consider taking the Harraseeket Trail, a 1.3-mile trail that takes you deep into a forest of white pines, oaks and hemlocks before reaching two elevated viewpoints of the Harraseeket River. The Harraseeket Trail conveniently ends at the parking lot.

Because Wolfe’s Neck is a state park, there is an entrance fee of $4 for in-state residents and $6 for out-of-state residents. However, the park offers a variety of amenities including charcoal grills, restrooms, a drinking fountain, and picnic seating. Additionally, the park offers free nature programs each weekend at 2:00 p.m.

If you do plan on visiting Wolfe’s Neck, now is the time to go- the Maine state government’s foliage tracker reports that it is currently peak season to see beautiful fall foliage before most leaves fall. If you choose to visit in the winter, make sure you bring your snowshoes as the park opens many of its trails up for snowshoeing.  Don’t have snowshoes? Make sure to snag a rental from the Colby Outing Club office!

One of the best parts of Wolfe’s Neck State Park is that it’s conveniently located just ten minutes away from Freeport’s bustling town center. After your visit to the park, head into the downtown area to enjoying some great shopping and food. Freeport is renowned for its outlet shopping, which includes  five different L.L. Bean stores.

Freeport also has great restaurant options. Consider getting a lobster roll at Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Roll located right next to L.L. Bean’s Bike, Boat, and Ski Store. Other great Freeport eateries include the Italian-style Azure Café and Morrison’s Maine Chowder House which offers lobster rolls, seafood stews, and whoopie pies.

After your meal, finish off your trip with ice cream from the Ben and Jerry’s store or from Classic Custard, which offers a unique selection of daily flavors like eggnog and crème brulee. Both seem to entice visitors, tempting them to come back for more time after time again.

Still looking to continue another off campus adventure? Consider heading to another  nearby nature-centric destination such as Bradbury Mountain State Park, Eagle Island State Historic Site, Crescent Beach State Park, and Sebago Lake State Park. Otherwise, feel free to head back to Colby to brag to your friends all about your adventures.

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