With public access to hundreds of thousands of acres around Grand Lake Stream, Downeast Lakes Land Trust maintains seven hiking trails in the Downeast Lakes Community Forest. All hiking trails are intended for foot traffic only.
Little Mayberry Cove Trail
A beautiful, mossy single-track trail runs approximately two and a half miles along the western shoreline of West Grand Lake. The trail begins at the dam at the head of the Stream. Walk a short distance along the gravel camp road and follow the trail over moderately rolling terrain through stands of hemlocks and pines, with occasional viewpoints along the shore, ending at a quiet cove. Hikers can return on the same trail, or loop back via interior logging roads.
Pocumcus Lake Trail
This trail provides options for short or moderate loop hikes to the quiet, undeveloped shoreline of Pocumcus Lake. The shorter loop is a hike of 1.3 miles round trip, while those who hike the entire trail will cover 3.6 miles. The trail traverses a wide range of forest habitats including early-successional hardwoods, beech, and older hemlock and white pine. Hikers can expect to hear a variety of songbirds and may hear loons as they approach the lake. The trailhead is located on the north side of the Fourth Lake Road about 7.5 miles west of Grand Lake Stream.
Wabassus Mountain Trail
A one mile climb to the summit, the Wabassus Mountain Trail follows a small cascading seasonal brook, and passes through older mixed and hardwood forests. On the summit you’ll find a hardwood forest with white ash and hophornbeam trees, and when the leaves are down, great views of the surrounding lakes (glimpses through the trees in the summer). The trailhead is on the Wabassus Mountain Road, with access from the north via the Fourth Lake Road, or the south via the Little River Road and Third Lake Ridge Road.
Dawn Marie Beach Path
DLLT’s shortest trail at ¼ mile, this pleasant path leads you from a raspberry patch by the side of the road to the beautiful undeveloped beach on Wabassus Lake. You’re likely to see and hear loons and eagles, and may find moose tracks on the beach. It’s a great spot for a family picnic, or to cool off if you worked up a sweat on the way up Wabassus Mountain. Even here, a completely undeveloped sand beach is a rare commodity. Take the Fourth Lake Road west from Grand Lake Stream for 3.6 miles, and turn left on the Wabassus Mountain Road. Pass a side road on your right, and then look for the trailhead sign on your right.
Tower Hill Trail
Located atop Tower Hill, the Grand Lake Stream fire tower was built in 1934, and is the oldest enclosed wooden fire tower remaining in New England. Please DO NOT attempt to climb the tower, due to safety concerns. Parking for this trail is at the West Grand Lake Dam. Follow the snowmobile trail (orange tags) east, as it winds up the hill. From the tower, the trail begins 100 yards to the north, and heads east, winding 1.1 miles through mixed woodlands to Bonney Brook Road. After crossing Bonney Brook Road, the trail meanders along shallow Bonney Brook Lake. Upon reaching the road again, turn right and follow the road for 50 yards, then turn left, continuing along the trail. The trail ends at a camp road called “Pappy’s Way.” Turn left and follow the snowmobile trail back up Tower Hill, creating a 3 mile loop.
Trail to Tomorrow
Inspired by a 1957 essay by John R. Schaefer, the Trail to Tomorrow is an interpretive and educational walk through several distinct forest types. A round-trip loop of 0.6 miles, Trail to Tomorrow leaves from the end of Tough End in the village of Grand Lake Stream (parking is available at the West Grand Lake Dam). Information about local ecology is displayed on several interpretive signs along the trail. Enjoy a quiet stroll above Grand Lake Stream, learning about the different flora and fauna of the Downeast Lakes Community Forest.
Musquash Esker Trail
A longtime favorite among locals, the Musquash Esker Trail is located on the north side of Milford Road, roughly 5.5 miles east of Grand Lake Stream. From the small parking area, travel along the former “Talmadge Road,” built along a glacial esker. After leaving the gravel pit at the start of the trail, the path winds through early successional hardwood, tamarack, and spruce forest. The 1.4 mile (2.8 round trip) trail ends at Big Musquash Stream, and offers gorgeous views of Amazon Mountain and more than 5,000 acres of pristine wetlands.
(Trail descriptions courtesy of the Downeast Lakes Land Trust.)