Bradbury Mountain State Park (Pownal ME)
Less than an hour’s drive north from Old Orchard Beach, Maine sits Bradbury Mountain State Park, one of the first five official state parks to be established in Maine. Many people venture to this park to climb the summit of Bradbury Mountain and take in the views of Casco Bay and the Portland skyline in the distance. It’s a popular spot for hikers, bikers, and equestrians throughout the year.
What’s On Offer
Bradbury Mountain State Park sits atop 800 acres of forest, and at its center is Bradbury Mountain. At only 485’ feet, the mountain may not be the highest, but it’s a beloved feature for Pownal and Southern Maine in general. It also offers some of the best views of the area, and many people make single-day excursions or plan hiking trips to the area just to reach the Bradbury summit.
This park is ideal for both seasoned and novice hikers and is a great place to explore the local wildlife. There are over 20 miles worth of different hiking trails, many of which are suited for varying degrees of experience, from easy and moderate to advanced. Some are flat trails that traverse the park’s wooded interior, while others are steeper and closer to the ridges and summit of Bradbury Mountain.
The park is also an idyllic spot for daytime picnics and luncheons with friends and family. Trails and clearings tend to be consistently clean and well-maintained, with plenty of spaces to set up picnic blankets or otherwise use the picnic benches available at the camping grounds. It’s a lovely place to picnic in summer, where you can spend some time exploring in the sun before retiring to the shade of the trees.
The park has 35 campsites, so it’s also a convenient spot to set up camp for a night or two (or more!). It’s very accessible, with plenty of parking and good public facilities. There are plenty of public bathrooms and showers, as well as access to drinking water. Bradbury Mountain State Park is open all year round, however, the campsites and public facilities are closed during the off-season (outside of the summer months). So you should check ahead if you plan on camping around late summer or into the early fall season.
Mountain Biking and Equestrians
Unlike the other state parks in Maine, Bradbury Mountain offers a unique opportunity for shared trail use, as the park trails are not exclusively for hiking. Throughout the year most can be accessed by mountain bikers and equestrians as well. It should also be noted that the trails in the eastern half of the park are used primarily by mountain bikers, though it is still accessible to hikers.
If you are only visiting the area briefly and don’t have access to mountain biking equipment or a horse, this may not affect you. However, it’s useful to be aware of possible passing horses and bikes if you’re exploring the shared trails on foot.
As if Bradbury Mountain wasn’t charming enough, it’s also a popular site for birdwatching. This is particularly true for hawks and eagles, several species of which migrate annually across the park. These migration movements tend to happen from mid-March to mid-May, and many local and regional birdwatchers come to the park for the annual Hawk Watch event. Sometimes if the weather is good, as many as 1000 birds can be seen flying over the mountain.
There is a small fee to enter the park for adults. Adult admission for Maine residents is $4.00, non-residents are $6.00. Non-resident senior admission is only $2.00, and all children and Maine senior citizens can enter free of charge.
For camping, reservations must be made by phone, online, or through the mail. Reservations are open from early February through to early September, and from September to October visitors can camp without making a reservation. From October to May campsites are typically closed for the off-season.
Bradbury Mountain State Park is open all year round, however, the campsites and public facilities are closed during the off-season (outside of the summer months). During these months the park can still be accessed, but visitors must park outside the entrance gate and continue on foot from there. The park is open from 9:00 am to sunset, unless signage indicates otherwise.
528 Hallowell Road
Pownal, ME 04069
Phone: (207) 688-4712