Whether you’d like to take a walk or go for a picnic in Stonington – or use our town as a jumping off point to hike on one of the small or large islands off shore – there are many places you can go! Lush forests and rocky shores are refreshingly untouched by human development and offer the chance to get up close and personal with marine life, dozens of types of mosses, and birds from the tiny warblers to the mighty bald eagles.
ISLAND HERITAGE TRUST
The Island Heritage Trust, our local conservation land trust, has a couple of large parcels in Stonington that offer you the opportunity to get outside and hike in the moss laden spruce forests and enjoy panoramic views of the ocean and the many islands nearby. For more information call (207) 348-2455 or visit their website at www.islandheritagetrust.org/
Located off the Oceanville Road, the Settlement Quarry has great panoramic views of the bay.
CROCKETT COVE WOODS
Located off Route 15A in the Burnt Cove/West Stonington area.
HOLT MILL POND RESERVE
Located off the Airport Road in Stonington, this property has trails leading through the forest and around a tidal cove. Access is from the Airport Road. Owned by the Stonington Conservation Commission. See map for location.
OFF SHORE ISLANDS
Many of the small offshore islands in Stonington are owned by various non-profit conservation groups that allow visitors to use the islands for recreational purposes (exclusive of camping) in low or no impact ways.
ISLE AU HAUT
Stonington is the gateway to Isle au Haut, a large and hilly island 6 miles out of Stonington harbor. Mature spruce forests, pebble beaches, cliffs, deer, and many types of birds are to be found on this island, half of which is owned by Acadia National Park and another 20% of which is under other conservation easements. There is a vast network of trails on the island for you to hike on as well as a road that makes for easy hiking. Though there is a small village on the island there are no facilities for tourists besides public restrooms at the Park’s visitor center in the village or near the Park’s wharf at Duck Harbor. There are no restaurants or overnight accommodations available on the island. Camping in the park is only allowed at the campground and one must reserve a site way in advance by calling Acadia headquarters in Bar Harbor. Bring your camera, sunblock, and bug spray! Call either of the boat services listed below for more information about this beautiful island. Hiking trail maps available from the park service at both Duck Harbor and at the small visitor’s center in the village as well on the boat services to the island.
GETTING TO THE OFF SHORE ISLANDS
There are several ways you can get to our off shore islands.
1. PUBLIC BOAT LAUNCH
Launch your own kayak or small boat from the public boat launch ramp “Colwell Boat Ramp” located just behind the Isle au Haut Boat Services buildings on Seabreeze Ave. in downtown Stonington. Please note that due to the small size of the Colwell ramp parcel you cannot park your vehicles and/or trailers there but paid parking is available at the Isle au Haut Boat Services. Check to make sure weather and wind conditions are going to be safe for your entire day by going to www.maineharbors.com/ and then click on Marine Forecast in the left hand column, then the GYX area, then look at the report for Port Clyde to Stonington. Kayaking out to Isle au Haut, a 6 or 7 mile one way trip through both protected and open ocean passages, is only recommended for experienced boaters.
2. OLD QUARRY OCEAN ADVENTURES
Old Quarry offers many ways to get out to the offshore islands including kayak rentals, guided kayak tours, charter boat rides, and service on their big boat to Isle au Haut. Located on the Settlement Rd., off of Oceanville Rd., Stonington, (207) 367-8997 or www.oldquarry.com/ and see also their entry on this site under “Getting Out on the Ocean” for more details. Plenty of parking.
3. ISLE AU HAUT BOAT SERVICES
Seabreeze Avenue, Stonington. (207) 367-5193 or www.isleauhaut.com/
The Isle au Haut Boat Services Co. offers up to 5 round trips to Isle au Haut 6 days a week from June to September and 2 round trips the rest of the year. They are the only boat service that goes directly to the wharf at Duck harbor in Acadia National Park, where most of the hiking trails are located. Two large, comfortable boats with knowledgeable and friendly captains! Parking available for the day or for longer stays.