Located on the western side of the tip of our peninsula, this trail is so secluded it doesn't even show up as a location on Instagram. Usually that means a trail is ill-maintained and full of Atrax-swallowing puddles, but not Seal Cove. Seal Cove is a secret paradise.
The trail is maintained by Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping our watershed clean and accessible.
The whole trail, loop and spur, is under a mile and a half, so it's perfect for little legs. It has some slight elevation change, (128' overall) but spread over distance and switchbacks it's barely noticeable. As you can see, it's very well marked.
The trail is fully wooded with primarily mature white pine and fir, featuring a long bridge over a flock of ostrich ferns (Rhysy's favorite part) and several side trails to benches overlooking about 3,000' of muddy, marshy frontage on Seal Cove, a salty little inlet near the mouth of the Damariscotta River. I suspect it would be an excellent spot to watch herons and avocets without the toddler scream-singing the alphabet song on loop.
what we think
In all, it's an excellent way to spend an hour or so, especially with a stir-crazy toddler during a pandemic. We didn't see another human the whole time we were there (we did hear a small one through the forest, but that doesn't count) and the boy passed the eff out as soon as we turned back onto 129. Goal achieved.
The trailhead's fairly easy to find. Head south on 129 from Damariscotta, stay south when it splits from 130, turn right on S Road, and find the sign on the right. There's parking for maybe three vehicles.
Seal Cove Shore Preserve
S Rd, South Bristol, ME 04568
Mother of sleeping toddler.