Scenic Trail Cut-off and Maiden Cliff Trail

MODERATE 253 reviews
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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

bird watching

running

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
icy
muddy
rocky
scramble
snow
12 days ago

such a beautiful 4 Season Trail! it's absolutely wonderful!

1 month ago

It's a nice loop trail. I went to Maiden Cliff first. That view really IS pretty. I, then, continued on a did the loop, which still had nice views in spots. It wasn't that bad of a hike. You had one steep section going to the cliff, but that's really not that challenging.

1 month ago

Great view from cliff!

hiking
4 months ago

Wasps still active on the trail 9/22/19. You can avoid them by taking a right at the fork, then left at the top, across the ridge, and then down to the cross/lookout.

hiking
bugs
4 months ago

The view was gorgeous. The hike was very steep but short. My issue when we hiked 2 days ago was the swarm of yellow jackets that someone had disturbed that stung myself, my husband, and my dog. There must have been a ground nest directly next to the trail a little ways after you turn left at the fork toward Maiden Cliff. I'm guessing that the group in front of us must have kicked it because we were swarmed unexpectedly without touching anything. Gorgeous hike but be careful!

hiking
bugs
4 months ago

Fantastic hike and view, aside from being attacked by yellow jacket wasps......

hiking
4 months ago

A really nice hike. Lots of interesting boulders near the top. The view is spectacular and well worth the climb. Moderate difficulty level and nothing excessive. Note: the trail sign at the top which is located at the ridge route split was knocked over so I temporarily got onto the ridge trail and had to backtrack once I figured it out. Took almost two hours with several stops along the way. The trail is well suited for all age hikers who are capable of moderate difficulty trails. Enjoy!

hiking
5 months 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
5 months ago

Monday night hikes after work are the best!

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rocky
5 months ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
5 months ago

hiking
5 months 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
5 months ago

Awesome. 2nd time around and it still rocks!

hiking
5 months 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
5 months 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
6 months ago

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

hiking
6 months 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
6 months ago

hiking
6 months 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
7 months ago

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

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