Thomas Island from the air
Thomas Island from the air

Where to go on MDI in Autumn

It’s happening again.

Temperatures are dropping, roads are clearing of summer traffic. If you’re anything like MCHT steward Douglas McMullin, who lives on MDI, you’ve got mountains on the mind—empty trails along the coast, and quiet paddles to unpeopled islands. Mainers know: September makes March worth it.

So, happy fall, friends. We want to help you make the most of it. Here are some of Douglas’s favorite MCHT preserves for your fall bucket list.

Thomas Island

“Thomas Island is super accessible and you can camp overnight here. Just park at the gravel sand spit at the end of Hadley Point Road and slide your kayak or canoe right into the water. If the wind’s blowing from the south, it’s any easy, protected paddle right along the shoreline for about a mile, then it’s just half a mile across open water to Thomas.”

Blue Horizons Preserve

“Blue Horizons is near the village of Town Hill off of Indian Point Road. Parking is available on the road’s shoulder. This preserve on Blue Hill Bay is popular among locals—there aren’t many places on the western side of the island where you get that view. Sunset is obviously a great time to visit. There is about 2,000 feet of ocean frontage. Plus you can bring your dog!”

cooksey drive in the fall

Cooksey Drive overlook in the fall.

Cooksey Drive Overlook

“In September lots of cruise ships come through Bar Harbor, but MDI’s quieter corners are as nice as ever. On Cooksey Drive east of Seal Harbor there’s a sweet little overlook. It’s comparable to the kind of overlooks you’ll find along Ocean Drive, but with far fewer people and great views of the Baker Island and Little Cranberry.”

Kittredge Brook Forest

“MCHT’s Kittredge Brook Forest preserve is a 523-acre forest in the interior of the island, with a trail that buffers wetland complex. This is a great place to go if you’d like to see some interesting wildlife. The trailhead starts at the MDI High School.”

Plus a couple of Douglas’s favorite fall hikes in Acadia National Park:

Penobscot Mountain, South Ridge Trail, Acadia National Park

“The hike up Penobscot is a classic. I tend to stretch the trek to Sargent Mountain along the South Ridge Trail where you get great views in all directions. Depending on your time frame and skill level, you can shorten this loop. Parking is at the Jordan Pond House or Jordan Pond North parking lot.”

West Ledge Trail, Bernard Mountain, Acadia National Park

“There are some lesser-known trails on the west side of Bernard Mountain with great views out to Blue Hill Bay, overlooking some MCHT conservation projects, including Tinker Island, Pond Island, and Harriman Point and a number of easements. My favorite is the West Ledge Trail, which starts near the south end of Seal Cove Pond and goes up to the west side of Bernard.”

Happy exploring from all of us at MCHT!

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