This Downeast Maine Hike Has Ocean Views + Abandoned Silver Mine
Not only does this hike have a beautiful panoramic view of the coast, but it also has an interesting history.
Pigeon Hill in Steuben is a worthy addition to your summer bucket list. At 317 feet above sea level, Pigeon Hill's summit is the highest in Washington County. From the bald granite peak, hikers can take in the incredible ocean views, distant coastal mountains, and many nearby islands.
How To Get There:
- Follow US Route 1 to Steuben.
- Turn onto Pigeon Hill Road.
- Drive a little more than four miles down the road to the trail parking lot on the right. Respect neighbors to the preserve and only park in the trailhead parking lot.
The trail system is 1.6 miles and features two trails that lead to the summit, the Historic Trail and Silver Mine Trail. The two trails intersect just below the summit. From there it's a short steep hike to the summit. For a more gradual ascent, hikers can take the slightly longer Summit Loop Trail. The Loop Trail also connects to the Ledge Woods Trail and Glacial Erratic Spur trails.
As you can tell from the name, the Silver Mine Trail guides hikers by the remnants of an old silver mine. According to Downeast Coastal Conservancy, areas of broken rocks along the trail are “almost certainly the remains of old silver mining activities." They believe mining of Pigeon Hill began shortly after the Civil War. Still visible are piles of extracted rock and a spring-fed watering hole. Silver mining was attempted at Petit Manan Point, but the ore wasn't rich enough to offset the expense.
A great way to experience most of the trail system is to summit using the Historic Trail. Once you get to the intersection of the Historic and Silver Mine Trails, below the summit, take the Summit Loop Trail. The Loop Trail is a gradual .3 mile hike to the summit. If you are hiking with children this trail is recommended. The Historic Trail continues .1 mile to the summit but is very steep and rocky. To return from the summit, take whichever trail you're comfortable with, the Historic Trail or Summit Loop Trail. At the intersection of the Silver Mine and Historic Trails, take the Silver Mine Trail. Not only will you see the remnants of the old silver mine, but it also features beautiful ocean views through the forest.
- Portions of the trail can get very slippery, so watch your footing.
- There are lots of steep, rocky sections of the trail. Watch your step.
- Only visit during daylight hours.
- The 170 acre Pigeon Hill Preserve is open to hunting. If visiting in the fall, be sure to wear safety orange apparel.
There is no fee to enjoy the trail system.
Keep this trail beautiful by carrying out any trash.