Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, ME is a popular, four season outdoor recreation and trail destination. The park is located in the Casco Bay region of southern Maine just 30 miles from Portland and Auburn-Lewiston, two of Maine’s largest urban centers and 5 miles north of Freeport, a town well-known for it’s outlet shopping bargains.
The forested, Bradbury Mountain with a summit scoured bald by glacier action during the last ice age, is the hub of Bradbury Mountain State Park. Rising to 469-ft above sea level, it may be considered more of a hill than a mountain, but mountain bikers from all over the northeast know that a mountain or park need not be huge in order to be a significant mountain biking mecca. This is certainly true of 800-acre Bradbury Mountain State Park, Maine's first state park.
Over 18 miles of multi-use trails are shared by hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and cross country skiers. The trails radiate out from the mountain like spokes on a wheel and run over varied terrain to create excellent mountain biking options and endless trail connections for riders of all ability and skill levels.
The panoramic views of the Casco Bay coastal plain, opportunities to watch migrating hawks, eagles and osprey soar on thermal updrafts or view the rainbow colors of changing seasons on the landscape below, draw trail users of all types to the summit of Bradbury Mountain. By design, there are trails of varied lengths and difficulty levels to lead you there.
Several trails that climb the steep southern face of the mountain, like the Summit and South Ridge Trails are designated for hiking only. The challenging and technical multi-use Boundary Trail, popular with intermediate to advanced riders, climbs the north and west slopes. The Northern Loop Trail provides an easier path with a gradual climb up the east side of the mountain.
Bradbury Mountain State Park and adjacent conservation lands also provide habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals. In addition to migrating raptors and songbirds, observant wildlife watchers can spot red and gray squirrels, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, American Woodcock, white-tail deer, porcupine, red fox and snowshoe hares.
Park Facilities: include over 40 camping and RV sites, showers, sheltered and open picnic areas, restrooms, playground and ball field.
There is even a bike wash station located at the south end of the upper parking lot to clean your bike after your ride. How cool is that!
The Trails: Bradbury Mountain State Park
There are 18.8 miles of shared-use trails within Bradbury Mountain State Park. Of these, over 12 miles were designed especially for optimum mountain biking experiences. The well-marked and maintained trails vary from wide woods roads and doubletrack snowmobile trails to narrow singletrack trails.
The Maine Department of Conservation is currently working to expand the trail system by linking Bradbury State Park to contiguous and nearby conserved lands. This includes the development of a trail from the park's northern boundary, across Tryon Mountain, across a Power Corridor to the Pineland Public Land Unit, a state-owned parcel of woodlands and agricultural fields with an existing three-mile trail network.
Route 9 bisects the Bradbury Mountain State Park north/south dividing Bradbury Mountain State Park into two distinct sections: East and West.
Bradbury Mountain East Side Trails
All of the trails on the east side of the park are open to mountain bikes. Trail intersections are marked by numbered wooden posts. This is where you’ll find most of the intermediate and beginner singletrack trails. The trails range from fast and flowy to tight and twisty with ups and downs, drops, bridges, and rocky, rooty sections. There is no real elevation gain in this half of the park. The trails mostly wind through old abandoned fields that have reverted to a mixed growth forest of paper birch, red maple, white pine and red oak over the last 40 to 50 years.
Snowmobile Trail: 1.5 miles. Easy
Knight Woods Trail: 1.1 miles. Easy
Fox East Trail: 1.4 miles and Fox West Trail (IMBA): 1.2 miles. Intermediate
Ginn Trail: 2.6 Miles. Intermediate
Island Trail: 1.3 miles. Intermediate
Lanzo Trail: 1.6 miles. Intermediate.
Ragan Trail: 0.7 miles. Intermediate
O Trail: 2.4 miles. Advanced
Bradbury Mountain West Side Trails
Bradbury Mountain is the main feature, so naturally more challenging terrain can be found in this section of the park. The forest is more open oak-pine woodlands with a number of mature hemlock and white pine stands. The upper slopes of the mountain feature rocky outcrops, ledges and stunted trees interspersed with grasses. The northern and western boundaries are lined with old rock walls, that used to delineate farm fields and pastures that once existed here.
Tote Road: 1 mile. White Blaze: Easy
Northern Loop Trail: 1.0 miles. Blue Blaze: Easy / Intermediate
Kristas Trail: 0.8 miles. Intermediate
Ski Trail: 0.2 miles, Green Blaze: Easy / Intermediate
Switchback Trail: 0.3 miles.
Bradbury Mountain Hawk Watch
Each spring, volunteer birdwatchers including a professional ornithologist gather on the summit of Bradbury Mountain each day for a two month period beginning March 15 to monitor the annual Hawk and Raptor migration. The goal is to document all raptors that pass the mountain on their way north to determine long-term trends in populations. Last spring, the watch staff observed a record 4,474 hawks, including 52 bald eagles, 500 ospreys and 1,746 broad-winged hawks. This is a great family activity and the opportunity to learn how to identify the different species that may pass by.
Before the first Europeans arrived, Wabanakis camped on Bradbury Mountain during trips to the coast. Later, farming, milling lumber and the quarrying of granite powered the local economy. Evidence of this early industry can still be seen throughout the park. The land on which the park is located was first settled in the early 1800’s by the Cotton family, who grew grapes on terraces still visible on the mountain. Near the Northern Loop Trail, Cattle Pounds that were used to hold stray cattle, sheep and pigs still stand and are marked by interpretive signs. Trail users along the Boundary Trail travel along miles of rock walls that once delineated the boundaries of different farms and pastures.
In 1925-1929, feldspar mined from the base of Bradbury Mountain was shipped to mills in New Jersey and used for making dinnerware and bathtubs. A simultaneous operation occurred at Tryon Mountain as well. Several quarry pits and a still-erect derrick pole can be found at the Tryon site.
Mayall Mills: On Mayall Road about one mile on the left at the intersection of Megquier Road in Gray, ME.
The Mayall Mill, established by Samuel Mayallin in 1791, was the first successful water-powered woolen mill in North America. Despite fierce opposition from British woolen guilds who had prohibited the production of goods in the colonies and attempts to prevent British technology from being put to use in competition against them, the Mayall Mills grew from a single wooden structure into a sprawling mill complex. It featured two large buildings known as the Lower Mill and the Upper Mill, each powered by the water of Collyer Brook. At it’s peak, the mill employed 20 people and produced 30,000 yards of woolen cloth in a year. The mills ceased operation in 1903.
While not much remains, the ruins of the mill and associated structures are still visible today and are open to the public.
From the south: Take I-295 to Exit 22/ Freeport-Durham. At end of ramp turn right onto Mallett Dr. At the end of Mallett Dr. turn left onto Dutham Rd, travel a short distance to Pownal Rd and turn right. Head west about 5 miles to Pownal Center (Pownal Rd turns into Elmwood Rd). In Pownal Center turn right onto Rt.9. Entrance to park is on the left.
From the north: Take I-295 to Exit 22/Freeport-Durham. At the end of the ramp turn left onto Mallett Dr. and follow above directions.
For More information
Bradbury Mountain State Park
Phone: (207) 688-4712
Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands
Phone: (207) 287-3821