Monhegan Island Trail is a 2 mile point-to-point trail located near Bristol, ME. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking.
Wonderful views and choices of trails so beginners to more seasoned hikers can enjoy.
The map here is very incomplete. I hiked the circumference. GPS and MapMyRide (or run) are ineffectual here at present so I can't tell you the exact length. Parts of the trail are difficult but can be skipped. They have a "1A" option that is easier than "1". I don't know how much so as I went with 1. I am a fairly fast hiker and it took me over 3 hours, though I do admit to stopping for many photo ops as the views are AMAZING.
One of my favorite places. There is beauty all around this island. I went in the fall and the weather was great. You will not be disappointed if you visit Monhegan Island and hike any of the various trails.
It's been since I was a teenager (about 15 years ago) since I last hiked here. Monhegan remains my favorite place in the entire world! I get a rush of feel-good feelings just thinking about all the fairy houses in the woods and the waves crashing at the base of the cliffs...
Actually, there are MILES of trails on Monhegan, not just the 3 miles mentioned here. Came in August about 6 years ago and stayed for 4 nights. managed to hike around the whole island by doing a different segment every day. BEAUTIFUL, but be sure to ask for a fan in the hot weather.
Went in August 1998, stayed 2 niites at the Monhegan Inn, one of the 2 inns on the island---very, very charming! Had a small room on the top floor overlooking the church, with a distant view of the harbor, but of course spent all day lite hrs. exploring the island. Monhegan is a beautiful, serene, contemplative world. No wonder artists have always loved this island. Dramatic weather changes from heavy fog, to heavy rain, to bright sunshine, loved it! Nice that only a very few, adventurous hikers were venturing the back side of the island, where the trails are quite rough, with many rocky cliffs and pounding surf . The island's only resataurant at the inn served great seafood dinners, but is very busy and closes early, so keep in mind!
The Monhegan Island Trail is a whole experience, right from the getting there. You will ride to the island on the mail boat, and return to the mainland at the end of the day - whatever you will want for the day, you need to be able to haul in.
The trail itself is easy. The loop is level, and takes you from the small town at the port, past a little snack shack, and out onto the island. Some parts of the hike take you past some of the residents' homes, so be considerate as you hike there -- we are visitors, and they live there. In the forest, you might see "faerie houses" -- tiny dwellings constructed by hikers, that usually include a coin. Some are quite elaborate, and might have moss "lawns", tiny stone walls made of pebbles, etc. The "rule" with faerie houses is that they are only constructed with materials you find at that sight (with the exception of the coin). A word of caution: parks usually frown on the construction of these faerie houses, so use your judgment when deciding to make one or not.
There are options for more vigorous hiking near the shore in places. In one place, you can go up a steep slope and hike on the boulders at the shore. Little legs, older folks or people at the last leg of their energy might not like that part, but it gives you a nice view of the ocean.
Closer to the drop-off, you can step out onto the rocky coast. Here is a nice place to examine tidal pools with your kids -- be cautious when stepping on the very smooth and slippery rocks. You will see "cairns" (stone towers constructed by hikers) here - some defying gravity in their construction! Again, remember that you are disturbing an ecosystem when you make one (if you do).
There are no modern facilities on the trail -- plan accordingly before you leave the port. And the only way to any emergency facility is the way you came in -- by boat.
Stop at the snack shack while you wait for your ride home, and get a lobster roll.