Olivia’s First Hike: Mt. Agamenticus, York ME
Over the weekend, Liss and I took the kids to REI to see if we could score some deals at the store’s Fourth of July 30% Off Sale. We picked up the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Nature Walks Along the Seacoast, which contains over 50 scenic walks and hikes along the coast from Ipswich, MA past Kennebunk, ME. It’s a great resource if you’re looking to take the family on a last minute outdoor trip.
Immediately we skimmed through the book looking for ideas. After dog-earing a few potential spots, we settled on a hike up Mount Agamenticus in York, Maine. Known as “Big A,” this former ski slope sits within a 10,000 acre conservation area. It’s not a steep mountain, topping off at only 692 feet, but the summit does offer pretty extensive views and is well worth the effort.
For those of you familiar with the York/Ogunquit area, this park is not far off Rt.1. The park is only about 4 miles west off of Mountain Road after taking a left at the ever-popular Flo’s Hot Dog Stand. It’s tough to miss, given the numerous road signs leading up to the entrance.
According to Wikipedia, legend has it that Saint Aspinquid (sometimes Aspenquid), an Indian chief, was buried atop Mount Agamenticus in May of 1682. He was born in May of 1588, and after converting to Christianity, spread the gospel to tribes across the continent. His funeral, at which 6,712 animals were sacrificed, was attended by hundreds, even thousands, of Native Americans. A cairn on the summit stands as memorial to the sachem, and whoever pays tribute to his soul by adding a rock is assured of luck.
We were surprised to see a full parking lot when we arrived, seeing that it was July 4th, but the trails were quite busy today. At the trailhead, the park offered detailed park information, maps, and a toilet. It was a special day for us as our new daughter, Olivia, took part in her first hike! Only a month old, we strapped her into our Baby Bjorn and took off with the boys for an adventure. The boys now seem like pro’s in the woods, packing their camelbaks with snacks and binoculars in preparation for the hike.
A couple of observations about the park. First, it’s a bit rocky. If you’re with younger children, you need to pay special attention to their footing. It’s not dangerous, but you do need to be careful. The trails offered great information along the way about birds, bugs, and plants that are in Big A….something that you don’t see too often on hikes. Also, there are a number of mountain bikes throughout the park, so you need to be on alert for them as well.
There are two main trails on Mt. Agamenticus – the Ring Trail and the Blueberry Trail. Overall distance up to the summit was 1.8 miles from the parking lot. Middway up our hike, we began to see some scenic vistas below including the Atlantic Ocean. Although we started out early, it was a hot day – and given last night’s rain – it was a bit buggy, so we decided to cut our hike a bit short before reaching the top.
Good thing for us, you can also drive to the top of the mountain! After our descent, we got into the car and drove up to the top of the mountain. Up there are a number of lookout spots to see Boston, the White Mountains, the Isle of Shoals and beyond. There is a fire tower as well as a lodge with a nature center inside. It’s a nice place to relax and have a picnic too, after your hike.
Seeing how much we love this part of Maine, I’m sure that we’ll be back here again soon. It’s a quick trip from home and close to so many other great locations. We hope you found our blog helpful in thinking about your next adventure!