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Backpacking On Maine’s Wild Cutler Coast

Thanks to the Cutler Coast Public Reserve, Maine's rocky, wild coastline is now open to backpackers who like solitude as much as scenery.

EXPEDITION PLANNER: Cutler Coast Public Reserve, ME

DRIVE TIME: The Cutler Coast trailhead is about 2 1/2 hours (110 miles) east of Bangor.

THE WAY: From East Machias on US 1, drive east on ME 191 for about 17 miles. Park at the signed trailhead on the right, just past the village of Cutler.

TRAILS: The Fairy Head Loop combines the Coastal Trail and the Inland Trail for a total of 10 miles. You can also create a figure-eight route by using the Black Point Brook Cutoff.

Dayhike: For a 6-mile loop and a chance to whale watch, follow the Coastal Trail to the Black Point Brook Cutoff and return to the trailhead via the Inland Trail.

ELEVATION: Sea level to 200 feet.

CAN’T MISS: Exploring the rocky shoreline, particularly where the Coastal Trail first breaks out of the woods onto the cliff-bound headland. Or get up early (really early) and watch the sunrise, its scarlet reflection stretching from the horizon to the waves at your feet.

CROWD CONTROL: Your best bet for solitude is in September. Reservations are not taken for the backcountry campsites, so get to your camp early, and check the trail register the day you arrive to see if there will be space.

GUIDES: The free Cutler Coast Public Reserve map and brochure are all you need for this little park (see Contact below).

WALK SOFTLY: Camp only at designated sites. Stay on the trail; the bogs are delicate and vegetation on the coast holds easily eroded soils in place. Open fires are prohibited.

CONTACT: Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, (207) 827-5936; www.state.me.us

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