Scenic Trail Cut-off and Maiden Cliff Trail

MODERATE 203 reviews
#1 of 22 trails in

Maiden Cliff Trail is a 1.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Camden, Maine that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 1.7 miles Elevation Gain: 731 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

trail running

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

Maiden Cliff Trail is a moderate to steep trail located near Camden, Maine that climbs several hundred feet through forest to exposed cliffs (800' elevation) and great mountain and lake (Lake Megunticook) views. Starting from the trailhead at the parking lot, climb near and cross over a stream bed through the forest and sometimes slippery rocks to a junction with a boulder marking the trail. From the boulder the trail can be an out and back (left fork) or a loop (left or right fork). For the loop, take the right fork going up - "Scenic/Ridge Trail" and at the top of the ridge take a left along the Scenic Trail to the Maiden Cliff and the Elenora French cross. Or take the left fork to go straight up (either way is about the same distance). Recommend the loop. The hike to the cliff will normally take around forty-five minutes to an hour to complete. Hiking poles may help navigate the several steep areas that don't have adequate handholds (other than trees and roots and rocks). Also be careful in wet conditions as the rocks can be very slippery. The views at the top are worth the effort. History of the cross: The white cross on top of Maiden's Cliff is a memorial to Elenora French, an 11-year old girl who fell from the cliff on May 7, 1864. She climbed the cliff along with her older sister, friends, and teacher when a sudden gust of wind blew her hat off. According to her older sisters account, Elenora successfully caught her hat and sat on a rock near the edge of the cliff but while she was putting it back on, another gust of wind pushed her off the edge, falling 300 feet. Elenora was still alive when they climbed down to her and she did not even sustain any broken bones. Unfortunately, she suffered internal injuries and died the next day. To remember Elenora French and her tragic end on this beautiful but dangerous cliff, Joseph B. Steams had a cross erected on the site at the top of the cliff. The simple white cross after years of exposure to weather and elements gave way and had to be replaced more than once. The cross put up in 1947 was blown down on January 17, 1980 and replaced with a new cross that weighed 600 pounds and measured 12 feet by 24 feet. Helicopters of the Air National Guard installed this fourth replacement of Elenoras Memorial Cross. On September 15, 1986, Roy Brown and Sam Dyer, together with their tools and supplies, climbed the trail to install a monument donated by Coastal Monuments and Laite Funeral Home. It was inscribed with the words, In memory of Elenora French Brown and Dyer installed the memorial at the base of the cross, drilling into the rock. In May of 1988, vandals toppled the cross and destroyed the hard work the two men had given to the memorial two years earlier. The Camden Fire Department Rescue team and Camden Parks and Recreation Department volunteers and members labored for long hours to put the cross right again. Two helicopters from the 240th Engineer Group of the Maine National Guard also helped in putting the cross upright once again, secured with cables from a donation from the Wayfarer Marine Corporation. When the cross south arm broke off, it was replaced with a steel cross donated by Frank OHara Jr. On Memorial Day 1992, the steel cross was installed, reinforced with epoxy paint to withstand natures elements and secured with cables donated by the Wayfarer Marine Corporation once again. This cross still stands today.

hiking
12 days ago

A pretty, popular, short hike with enough vertical to give you a bit of a workout. Pretty terrain and views. Nice in winter, too.

hiking
18 days ago

Monday night hikes after work are the best!

hiking
rocky
19 days ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
19 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

nice loop trail. if going clockwise, the right after the cliffs is a bit difficult to see. goes thru blueberry and raspberry fields so early August is perfect.

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
25 days ago

Awesome. 2nd time around and it still rocks!

hiking
28 days ago

Rather steep and challenging at times this was a fun climb with wild Maine blueberries at the top. Did the loop going off to the right and glad I did as I think it would have been much more difficult to come down the right side. Enjoy!

hiking
rocky
scramble
29 days ago

Great hike with wonderful views on a July day. We parked at the base of the Maiden Cliff trail, walked up to Maiden Cliff first, then took the loop around Scenic Trail. In this direction, you scramble up over big boulders, which would be much harder to descend. Don’t miss the Scenic loop — it rewards you with large areas of open granite scattered with blueberry bushes. After the hike, take a dip at Barrett’s Park, across Route 52.

hiking
1 month ago

very rocky. no flat easy spots. great view. 5 and 7 year old completed but challenging.

hiking
1 month ago

Great place for a sunset. Highly worth the climb for an incredible view. The way up gets a bit steep but not too strenuous.

hiking
bugs
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

If you’re in the midcoast this hike is a must do - interesting history, satisfying climb and beautiful views of the harbor and Lake Megunticook

hiking
bugs
muddy
2 months ago

Never hiked in Maine before so we decided to check this hike out. A rewarding view at the end.

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

2 months ago

The view at the top is worth the hike.

hiking
bugs
2 months ago

Perfect hike to start off my summer hiking. Beautiful views as always. Trail is well marked and clean. Heavy with mosquitos at the top, wear bug spray :)

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

The steep climbs and flies are absolutely worth the climb to top! Just when you think you’ve hit the best view, continue the trail and there’s another breathtaking view ahead of you! It’s a short trail but the scrambling over rocks definitely make you work. Highly recommend this hike!!

hiking
muddy
rocky
3 months ago

fun hike with my family. a bit steep in places but totally worth it!

3 months ago

i am a beginner and this was steep in parts but so worth the climb. the views are spectacular and it was well tended. mostly woodland cover so mid afternoon sun was fine.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

rocky
snow
4 months ago

Absolutely beautiful views. A bit tricky and slippery in the snow in places but definitely worth it!

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