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Scenic Trail Cut-off and Maiden Cliff Trail

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Camden Hills State Park

Scenic Trail Cut-off and Maiden Cliff Trail is a 1.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Camden, Maine that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 1.7 mi Elevation gain 731 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Kid friendly Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Running Forest Lake Views Wild flowers Wildlife Rocky Scramble
Description
Waypoints (1)
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Getting There

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.

The parking area off Hwy 52 is paved and has ample parking, however no restroom facilities. Camden Hills State Park (fee area) is a full facility park with the following activities: Birdwatching Camping Cross-country skiing Hiking (trails) Horseback riding Hunting Off-road biking Snowmobiling Snowshoeing Walking (roads and paths) Watchable wildlife To download the park brochure: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/parksearch/PropertyGuides/PDF_GUIDE/CamdenBrochure.pdf

Maine Office of Tourism, 59 State House Station , Augusta, ME, 04333-0059, Phone: (888) 624-6345 Camden Hills State Park 280 Belfast Road Camden, Maine 04843 Telephone: 207-236-3109 (May~October) 207-236-0849 (November~April) Reservations: www.campwithme.com

Directions from Camden, ME: Travel from US 1 to SR 52 and proceed 2.9 miles to a raised parking lot on the right. If you come to the lake on the left, you've passed the entrance to the parking lot (it is to the right as you get to the bottom of the long hill on SR52 and just before you get to the lake on the left). Trail begins at the end of the parking lot. Look for a boulder marking the trail. From the boulder the trail can be an out and back or a loop. 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 cross. Or take the left fork to go straight up (either way is about the same distance). Recommend the loop.

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Reviews (385)
Photos (447)
Recordings (297)
Completed (802)
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Myriah Wilson
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HikingGreat!

We loved the different trail options and sights were nice.

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Karen Lynn
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Walking
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David Wallach
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Hiking
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william knowlton
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Hiking
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Claire Fridkin
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HikingGreat!Rocky
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Jeff Sherman
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Hiking

Nice and easy. A few good lookouts make it worth it.

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Morgan Daigneault
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Relatively quick trail up to the scenic views, but it is really steep. Coming down was worse! Still, don't let that deter you -- it's a fun, gorgeous trail through the woods that leads up to incredible views.

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Alex W.
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Hiking
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Garrett Smith
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Hiking

Does anyone remember the wonderful mountain spring that was located at the trailhead about 75 feet into the woods near the road c.1970's and 1980's ? There was a small wood lid covering the spring/well. I tried to find the old spring recently and sadly I think it is long gone. Any thoughts?

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Rose Darling
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Hiking

Loved it. Little longer than I think app states distance wise but totally worth the gorgeous. Idea throughout!!

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Heather Bossie
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HikingBugsClosedGreat!Washed out

Absolutely breathtaking. There is no ease into this hike. It’s a climb the entire time, but when you reach the top, it’s like nothing you’ve seen before in your life. Quick, but steep hike. It’s a good hike for beginners. Part of the loop was broken/washed out when I hiked it June 27, 2020.

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Alex Rowe
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Beautiful trail. lots of cool nooks to explore

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nick bolt
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Hiking

Trail was beautiful and well marked, we did maidens cliff to mount mugenticook, the only bad thing I have to say about it was the trail on all trails for Megunticook did not take us to the summit, it took us to Zekes lookout. Other then that it was an amazing hike!

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Norman Marston
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Hiking
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Dominique Lacassie
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Hiking

Great views!

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Roy Slavin
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HikingGreat!
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Krystal Nimigian
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Hiking

Great hike with nice views, especially if you take the right fork, you get two lovely views

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Abby Ruth Terreri
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HikingGreat!RockyScramble

Aaaaaamazing hike. Amazing views. For sure go clockwise. This ranks up there with my top ten (and my kids and I have done 79 hikes since March). Don’t think, just DO IT!!!!

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David Elsemore
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Hiking

Great hike. I extended the loop. Great views and blueberries along the trail.

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Amanda Page
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HikingRocky

Great trail! I suggest to go clockwise as others have stated. Maidens cliff trail then back down to scenic and then head back to the parking lot which is labeled as Ridge as well! I thought it was easy to follow- there are plenty of blue markers!

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Kim French
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HikingRocky

I would recommend this trail if you are willing to work for a great view! decent inclination e especially in the beginning but has beautiful views of lake, Penobscot bay and surrounding mountains. I agree with other comments recommending going up the left side of the loop!

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Nichole Lorentzen
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I would normally give this an amazing review, however May 31, could not get more than 10 ft onto trail without stepping on 100 brown tail caterpillars. Bad time of year. An insane amount of brown tails.

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