Many people follow Shore Road in Cape Elizabeth to see the ocean and visit Fort Williams State Park. However, there is a small gem of preserved land with an easy trail and many vernal pools along this road and only a short distance from the better known state park. Robinson Woods, part of the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust (C.E.L.T.) has 87 acres of fairly level packed dirt path that winds its way around a nice a loop where you can smell the ocean while checking out the local flora and fauna and hopefully catch a glimpse of wildlife. There is a self-guided tour book available at the entrance, please be sure to return it for others to enjoy.
Open dawn to dusk, no fee, hiking, bird watching, dogs allowed on leash and under total voice control, mountain biking, no trash, no toilet.
For more information: http://www.capelandtrust.org/
To get there: From RT 77 take a left on to Shore Rd toward Portland Head Light/Fort Williams State Park. Trail access on Left just after Pond Cove on Right. The sign above on this post will be visible. There are also trail entrances at Dyer Road and Rock Crest Drive.
While not a Portland Trail trip for us, this was an exploratory trip as our dog had minor surgery and we decided to find some trails less traveled; Robinson Woods turned out to be just what we were looking for. We dedicided to take the boundry trail on this 1.4 mile loop trail. Most of the trail is packed dirt, fairly level, and a few small bridges to help you over vernal pools. We saw many old trees of different varieties and found the trail marked well with white blazes as well as signs with the greenbelt where the paths overlap. The website says that there are deer, owls, fisher and woodpeckers residing in Robinson Woods as well as Eider Ducks that raise young near the protective waters. There is also fresh water that goes through the woods and is a tributary to the ocean at Pond Cove.
Notes: During our visit in July 2008, we found the trail to be quite nice and we only saw two people walking a dog so there was a lot of solitude. However the misquitoes were of a different hybrid breed that we have never encountered before. We both sprayed ourselves down before entering the woods and came out with many a swollen bite on us. Even our poor dog was “bugged”. One of my favorite moments though, was rounding the path on the way back parallel to Shore Road and smelling the ocean. With the proper bug spray, I would think this would be a fabulous place to take children and take the self guided tour to educate them about the local flora and fauna. We didn’t see the book until we were on our way out, but next time I would certainly take it along as there are many well marked spots along the trail and I would like to know what they are.
Have you been here? Send us a comment and tell us about your experience.