Hawk Mountain in Waterford in a newer acquisition for the Western Foothills Land Trust (the trust holds conservation easements on privately owned lands and owns 7 preserves in the greater Oxford Hills region, including Roberts Farm Preserve). To help showcase the amazing properties and get more folks out there exploring, they host lots of free guided hikes and other events all year.

Last weekend, the trust hosted a full moon hike up Hawk Mountain.

The group met at dusk in the parking lot off Hawk Mountain Road (a larger parking lot is planned for the future, but for now there’s plenty of space on the side of the road just across from the trailhead).

Hawk Mountain Maine
The group gathers near the Hawk Mountain trailhead before venturing off on a full moon hike. Shannon Bryan photo

WFLT Executive Director Lee Dassler led the charge and took some time to explain the property and plans for the future. (The hike has been a longtime favorite for locals, one of whom talked about hiking it throughout her life – and watching Fourth of July fireworks from the summit.)

A few of the hikers in attendance. Shannon Bryan photo

After some introductions, the group hit the trail. The hike to the summit is only about 20 minutes, and the trail is wide and fairly easy going, although there are lots of loose rocks to be mindful of and, this time of year, patches of ice. But overall it’d be a great hike for beginners and families.

The hike up to the summit is wide and fairly easy going, although there were some icy spots and rocks to watch out for. Shannon Bryan photo

Close to the top, there’s a mighty fine lookout to the east, over trees and ponds and cars driving on rural roads below.

One of the views from Hawk Mountain. Shannon Bryan photo

We continued on toward another winner of a view.

Wandering through the bare trees to see the views. Shannon Bryan photo
The group gathers on the rocky ledge. Shannon Bryan photo

The trees open up onto a rocky ledge with panoramic views, including Shawnee Peak (aka Pleasant Mountain) straight ahead, mountain in New Hampshire to the right and a winding bog below.

Looking out toward Shawnee Peak from the summit of Hawk Mountain. Shannon Bryan photo

We loitered there oohing and ahhhing while the sun continued down and the sky grew dark.

Taking in the views. Shannon Bryan photo

Then, trying hard to shine through the clouds, the full moon appeared.

The full moon through the clouds. Shannon Bryan photo

We weren’t in any rush to leave, but after we’d soaked in the moon and socialized for a while, we switched on our headlamps and flashlights for the hike down.

Headlamps on! Shannon Bryan photo
Hiking down Hawk Mountain. Shannon Bryan photo
Flashlights and headlamps light the way. Shannon Bryan photo

Hawk Mountain

Hawk Mountain is a short (about 20 minutes) and moderate hike (notable incline and some gravel, some rocky terrain) in Waterford. The views are outstanding, especially given how relatively easy it is to get to the summit. This hike is great for beginners and families and would make for a perfect picnic spot in the summer or snowshoe in the winter.

Read more about the hike here: www.franklinsites.com

Getting there:

Western Foothill Land Trust

The Western Foothills Land Trust protects farmlands, wetlands, forestlands, unique natural resources and open space in the greater Oxford Hills area of Western Maine. The Trust holds conservation easements on privately owned lands (3,615 acres) and owns 7 Preserves in the region (1,856 acres).

For more events from the Western Foothills Land Trust, go to: wfltmaine.org/events.html