Making the Trek

Hiking from Rockport’s Erickson Fields to the top of Beech Hill

Over the past several decades, Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) and Coastal Mountains Land Trust (CMLT) have worked together to conserve and connect CMLT’s Beech Hill Preserve with MCHT’s Erickson Fields Preserve. In late 2019, the final link between the preserves was protected.

Curious to see the fruits of this partnership, my son Anthony and I set out on a sunny spring day to hike from Erickson Fields to the top of Beech Hill. While there is still trail work to be done, the journey did not disappoint. When the final trail connection is made later this year, I encourage you to check it out for yourself.

At Erickson Fields, we followed the path as it quickly wrapped around an impressive vegetable garden before heading across meadows that afforded views of Bald Mountain rising above the nearby school. After entering the forest, the trail meandered more than a mile between carpets of Canada mayflowers and growing ferns. We listened to a chorus of ovenbirds, black-and-white warblers, and goldfinches and paused briefly at a babbling brook that added to the bucolic surroundings.

The iconic sod-roofed hut at the top of Beech Hill Preserve.

Upon exiting the Erickson Fields Preserve, we followed Beech Hill Road right for a half mile. (Later this year CMLT will unveil a new route through the forests and fields to the south that will allow hikers to parallel the pavement to reach the Beech Hill Preserve.) We began the final stretch, as the trail ascended gradually through wide-open, organic blueberry fields. The welcoming path led to ever more expansive views culminating atop the 533-foot summit. In the shadow of Beech Nut, atop the grassy high-point, we gazed out and marveled at the many acres of conservation land in sight—like the day’s excursion, accomplished one step at a time.

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