Frenchman Bay Conservancy (FBC) has several contiguous preserves between Schoodic Mountain and US1 along Punkinville Road. They are Tucker Mountain, Baker Hill, Long Ledges, Dutchman, and Schoodic Bog. The Downeast Sunrise Trail abuts the north end of Schoodic Bog Preserve. As a result, you can hike from Baker Hill’s trailhead all the way to Schoodic Mountain.
Actually, you can hike all the way from Baker Hill to the Catherine Mountain trailhead on Dynamite Brook Road. You’d climb Baker Hill, Schoodic Mountain, Black Mountain, Black Mountain Bald, Caribou Mountain, and a side trip to Catherine Mountain. You’d end about a mile from Tunk Mountain Trailhead. That’s a lot of great hiking. A bit much for one day, but I have a hankering to give it a try.
Recently, FBC cut a new trail so that you can do the Schoodic Bog section as a loop. To get to the trailhead, follow US1 north (kay, it’s really east) from Ellsworth. Turn left onto Punkinville Road. It’s 3.8 miles past the bridge over Tuanton River and just before Sumner High School. Drive 2.1 miles (passing Baker Hill and Long Ledges Preserves). Turn left onto Punkin Ledge Road where the pavement ends. Drive 0.9 miles. Turn left onto Schoodic Bog Road (there’s a street sign and a sign for the preserve). Parking is on the right at the top of the hill.
The hike begins with a short road walk back the way you came. You’ll end the hike at the trailhead across the road from the parking area.
Annotated mile by mile description:
0.0 Walk down Schoodic Bog Road the way you drove in. In 400 feet turn left onto Punkin Ledge Road.
0.2 Walk about a tenth of a mile up the road. There’s no trailhead sign, but lots of blue flagging at the trailhead. Turn left onto Punkin Ledge Trail.
0.6 The trail winds through the woods on a sidehill above the bog (which is out of sight). You pass near an open ledge without a view. The trail drops to and crosses a wet, mossy area at the edge of Schoodic Bog.
1.5 The trail zig zags gently climbing ledges abounding in blueberries and scraggly pines. You begin to get semi-open views of Schoodic Mountain. The trail is new and little used, so the footbed really isn’t a trail yet. The route is easy to follow because of all the blue and red flagging. Also, the trailbuilders used dead wood to help make the trail more obvious.
1.7 The trail climbs increasingly open ledges with great views. Then you descend through white pines to Downeast Sunrise Trail. Turn left onto that multi-use trail.
2.0 Follow the DST west through Schoodic Bog. There’s lots of beaver sign and an active osprey nest on the right. You have great views of Schoodic Mountain.
2.3 In the center of the bog is a good-sized area of open water. As you pass it, there’s a picnic area on the left. Rough trails wander from the picnic area along the shore of the bog.
2.5 Continue hiking west on Downeast Sunrise Trail. Turn left onto Schoodic Connector. (If you turn right you could loop around behind the bog and climb Schoodic Mountain). The intersection is marked for ATVs but there’s no trail sign. This section of Schoodic Connector is a roadbed.
2.7 The trail is blocked by a beaver dam. Turn right onto a footpath and descend beside Long Pond Brook. Cross the brook on a bridge below a small waterfall and return to the roadbed on the other side of the beaver dam.
3.2 Follow the roadbed, which is really rocky to an intersection with Schoodic Bog Road. Turn left onto it and then immediately turn right onto Schoodic Connector Trail at the sign.
3.6 The trail climbs to and then crosses several dry ledges with partial views. Lots of blueberries again. When I hike this section most recently, there were several very large, fresh bear scats on the trail. At the last ledge, there’s a bench with a fine view of Schoodic Mountain.
3.7 Reach a three-way intersection. Turn left toward the parking area. If you go right, you’ll eventually pass Long Pond and enter Long Ledge Preserve in about 2 miles.
4.0 Descend gently across a series of ledges in the woods. Reach the trailhead across the road from the parking area.