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Trail run or easy hike with river views at Dodge Point Preserve in Newcastle

Trail run or easy hike with river views at Dodge Point Preserve in Newcastle

It’s all about the Shore Trail!

That’s not totally fair, actually. Dodge Point has 6.1 miles of trails and they’re all lovely. (But come on, that Shore Trail, with its pine needle floor and that view of the Damariscotta River, is just perfect.)

I scoped it out last week as part of a trail running series I’ve recently started (because I’m pretty sure the presence of many trees makes me faster – or at least gawking at the woods distracts me from the labored breathing). The trails at Dodge Point Preserve are perfect for a trail run (some inclines, some roots, but overall easy terrain, even for a beginner like me). The downside: You’ll probably stop often to admire the river or to lounge in the sunshine on the rocky shore. You won’t be able to help yourself.

Shannon Bryan photos
Shannon Bryan photos

Dodge Point Preserve is located in Newcastle, off River Road, not too far from downtown Damariscotta (which comes in handy later, when you find yourself in need of a sandwich). There’s a parking lot, but no bathrooms, so heads up.

Old Farm Road starts things off wide and root-free (with a bit of an incline). Shannon Bryan photo
Old Farm Road starts things off wide and root-free (with a bit of an incline). Shannon Bryan photo

Old Farm Road starts from the parking lot and is wide and flat (it’s an old farm road, after all).

Tall trees and a pine needle-covered trail = perfection. Shannon Bryan photo
Tall trees and a pine needle-covered trail = perfection on Old Farm Road. Shannon Bryan photo

Old Farm Road connects with the Shore Trail. Take the Shore Trail. Really.

Take the turn to the Shore Trail. You will not regret it. Shannon Bryan photo
Take the turn to the Shore Trail. You will not regret it. Shannon Bryan photo
The Shore Trail at Dodge Point Preserve offers glimpses of the Damariscotta River through the trees, and open spots where you can walk onto the shoreline. Shannon Bryan photo
The Shore Trail at Dodge Point Preserve offers glimpses of the Damariscotta River through the trees, and open spots where you can walk onto the shoreline. Shannon Bryan photo

The Damariscotta River is visible through the trees at all times on the Shore Trail. And at some points, the trees open up and you can walk (or run, as the case may be) right down to the water.

Taking in the river view off the Shore Trail. Shannon Bryan photo
Taking in the river view off the Shore Trail. Shannon Bryan photo

The 1.2-mile Ravine Trail cuts through the preserve along, you guessed it, a ravine.

The Ravine Trail got its name for obvious reasons. Shannon Bryan photo
The Ravine Trail got its name for obvious reasons. Shannon Bryan photo

If no part of you wants to trail run whatsoever, the network of trails at Dodge Point Preserve make for an easy, beginner-friendly hike, too.

And after your hike or run is complete you might find you have a hankering for a sandwich (I had one hell of a hankering). I recommend S. Fernald’s Country Store on Main Street in Damariscotta. I happened upon the place, which is strange because everyone I told about it afterward was all, “Oh yea, they have the best sandwiches. Sometimes I make a special trip to Damariscotta just to eat there.” So how I didn’t know about it before is a mystery.

S. Fernald's Country Store is a must-stop. Shannon Bryan photo
S. Fernald’s Country Store is a must-stop. Shannon Bryan photo

Dodge Point Preserve

Off River Road in Newcastle
6.1 miles of trails ranging from easy to moderate
FMI: www.mainetrailfinder.com/trails/trail/dodge-point-public-reserved-land

This post was originally published May 23, 2016

Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan

I don't like "exercise" any more than you do. But you know what I do like? Paddleboarding with a friend all afternoon (and then sitting in the grass to drink chardonnay). Bike rides and nachos, hikes, yoga classes held in breweries, group paddles to Fort Gorges, you get the idea. Because Maine is my gym.