A DYNAMIC AND CHANGING LANDSCAPE - Sand movement and beach dynamics have had a dramatic effect on Popham Beach, causing extreme shoreline change and dune erosion. Please refer to the BEACH ADVISORY CALENDAR to plan your next visit to Popham Beach State Park. Dates listing a Beach Advisory have a high tide during peak hours resulting in very little beach space during busy times. Bordering the south side of the mouth of the Kennebec River, Popham Beach State Park is truly one of Maine's rare geologic landforms that features a long stretch of sand beach. Sunbathers relaxing on Popham's sands can see Fox and Wood islands offshore, and the Kennebec and Morse rivers border each end of the beach. Visitors can walk to Fox Island at low tide, but are warned to pay attention to the rising tides not to get marooned. The rolling Atlantic surf draws thousands of swimmers and surfers alike, and shell collecting is a pasttime of many a sea side stroller. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months, but beachgoers should note that this is a strong surf beach with undertows and occasional rip tides. Swimmers should swim within their abilities and near the lifeguard. Call the Popham Beach State Park's Hotline during the summer for current tide and parking information: (207) 389-9125. Surfers can visit www.maineharbors.com for tide information and should add 9 minutes to the Portland chart for Popham Beach high and low tide data. Popham's cultural and social history is still being uncovered. Excavations of the Popham settlement of 1607 and Fort George continue each summer.
The trail is partially paved, very easy to navigate. I hike it with my 3 children (9,6, 1.5) my youngest is on my back. Two big inclines (each way) make for a good work out. Lots of places to climb and explore on the way to the beach and the summit! We love the beach, no where to go to the bathroom though if you can't stand up and pee!
The trail is easy but the length may limit some people - especially small children. The beach at the end of the trail has entirely different looks depending on the tide. When there at low tide you can walk way out in the bay and get a unique perspective. It can be very busy. That is the main reason for only 3 stars from me.
This hike offers so much variety. Over the course of a few miles, you hike across a salt marsh, along large rock ledges, through conifers, up over a small mountain (which you can optionally bypass). From this open vantage point you can look down to the saltmarsh you crossed, out to open ocean. On a clear day you see the White Mountains. The beach itself feels almost like it is your own. Think about it, with a 40 car maximum, you're sharing a pretty large beach with maybe 80 people on a peak summer day. Other times I've been there and seen maybe a dozen people. Plus, because of the effort to get there, people aren't set up with tons of gear. I suspect the people you see are outdoorsy and environmentally conscious people who care about this preserve. If you love the beach, but not so much the crowds, noise and hubbub, this is an amazing spot!