Camden Harbor from the Ocean Overlook
All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I'd started from;
Excerpt from "Renascence", Edna St. Vincent Millay
If you are familiar with Renascence, do I have a State Park for you.
Pleasant view along Tablelands Trail
Edna St. Vincent Millay composed this beautiful poem from the summit of Mt. Battie, now located within Camden
Hills State Park where you can glimpse the three long mountains and three islands in a bay which inspired the epic for yourself.
I have pitched a tent more times at Camden Hills State Park than any other campground in Maine, but unfortunately, it has always been solo. To convince friends up for a visit, it seems I had to bait the hook with heavy hitters (Acadia and Baxter State Park) and poor Camden got overlooked. This is a shame because this really is a wonderful site.
The park is located immediately off of Route 1 just north of Camden. You can skip the hiking and simply enjoy one of Maine's most inviting villages by touring Camden. This sparkling harbor city on Penobscot Bay is chock full of interesting shops, quality diners and tons of charm.
One of many views when hiking in Camden Hills State Park
As alluring as the city is, I prefer the State Park's campground for sleeping.
The camp sites are on a hillside facing towards the ocean, and despite not having a water view, you get lulled to sleep by lowing fog horns.
I am unable to describe how peaceful this atmosphere is at night.
I have a fond memory of Camden Hills from camping there once in early November, with a little snow already on the ground. It was cold, but don't laugh --- there weren't any bugs! Favorably positioned at the trailheads, I started out at daybreak to hike up Mt. Battie and secure the beauty of this spot for myself. Because there is also a road leading to the crest, the top is usually cluttered with tourists. My selfish pleasure of monopolizing mountain views on one side and Camden Harbor on the other was only disrupted when I disturbed a Pileated Woodpecker. I was amazed at how big this guy was --> such an enormous red head and I swear I could feel the thump of his beating wings as he flew over my head!
But I digress.
The trails are often wet, but the park maintains things so you don't face significant peril!
The trails up Mt. Battie are somewhat steep, but only a half mile or so in length, so fairly easy and pretty all along the way.
Camden Hills State Park has about thirty miles of trails altogether, so there is much more beyond Mt. Battie.
The biggest peak here is Mount Megunticook, which can be hiked along a trail that is roughly five miles long (elevation gain a bit of 1,000 feet).
Ascending along the trail starting from the campgrounds provides intermittent views from all different directions.
One of the best is looking back to Mt. Battie, for a splendid view of the small stone tower perched on the summit.
You will also pass a spacious ledge called Ocean Lookout, which is aptly named.
I think the views here rival most anything on the Maine coast and it is an excellent choice for a lunch break to savor everything.
While this may not be the reason you are headed for Maine, please don't ignore this gem to focus upon the big ticket venues! My only regret is that I don't have any pictures.
..I never packed a camera before TravBuddy and the other photos in this blog are just ones shared by friends. You need to go there and correct my oversight!
Looking inland from Ocean Overlook
10/24/10 update: Glad (relieved?) to share that I recently made it back to climb up to Ocean Overlook and then back to my beloved Battie…with a camera this time! So now I can offer a few glimpses of paradise…but just a few as I will add separate reviews for hiking to Mount Battie and Mount Megunticook.
Camden Sights & Attractions review
Three Long Mountains...
You don’t need to be daft to do this hike…just a little Battie. Mount Battie is clearly the best known and most accessible jewel within Camden Hi… read entire review
Camden Hotels & Accommodations review
Castle on the Maine Coast
If you are looking for something special to savor during your Maine vacation, a stay at Norumbega in Camden will provide you with a memorable experien… read entire review
Camden Sights & Attractions review
High on the Atlantic Coast
At 1,385 feet, Mount Megunticook is the highest mainland mountain on the Atlantic coast and fairly easy to conquer. The trail to the top is roughly o… read entire review