Little John Island Preserve is an interesting patch of protected wild land on the northern tip of one of Maine's most special islands. The Preserve only offers a single circular hiking trail that mostly hugs its coastline (hence, there's no way you can get lost). The Preserve is just for hiking, there are no other amenities near or in this Preserve, no open areas/tables for picnics, no bathrooms, no places to eat--and, very limited parking. So, why go here? It's special just to hike here, and, here's why.
Interestingly, unlike many parks/trail areas in Maine, this Preserve is located next to $2 Million residential homes. When you approach the entrance (there's actually two entrances depending on where you park), you will first see two stone pillars that makes you think that you are viewing an entrance to a private community (and, thus, you should stay out). You are entering a private community--there are residences on either side of the street ahead. However, the pillars also mark the the only way to get to the Preserve. However, before getting to the actual trail head, the Preserve wants you to first park your vehicle in the two-spot dirt parking lot next to these pillars on the left. Once parked, you are to walk the residential street ahead of you to the actual trail's entrance--about a 5-minute walk. Right at the trail head, there is another two-spot dirt parking lot, which, is designated for disability parking only.
The trail both starts and ends at the kiosk/two-spot disability parking lot, as it is a single looping trail. You may choose to enter the trail at the kiosk or off the parking lot.
The trail is an easy hike, very level--good for a family outing with kids or the not-so-sure-footed. If you are disabled, you would have to have good ambulation to hike this trail. The trail is not wheelchair friendly. As some parts of the trail are often muddy, the Trust has split rails and planking laid down to make the trekking easier over some muddy spots. Parents having small kids should not allow them to run-off ahead--at one point during the hike, the trail is located very close to a high/no railing protection cliff-face. I just began walking this trail in warmer weather. Several times during the hike, the grass and shrubs run shoulder high on either side of you. Hence, there's not much to see of the land around you. However, the trail is not disappointing, because there are several spots that eventually open to breathtaking ocean views. At the tip of the Preserve, a bit of a challenging, but, very shot path leads down to the rocky beach area. When the tide is out, you can walk across these rocks, and, its sandy beach that are otherwise underwater. Always be careful walking as both plants and rocks can be extremely slippery. As you reach the biggest rock at the end of the point, you can stand on its top, and, feel like your standing on water as you see some of Maine's most beautiful nearby islands, and, ocean views for almost 360 degrees around--gorgeous--especially at sunrise and sunset.
The Preserve is located on the second of two islands just south of Yarmouth, Maine. It takes only 10-15 minutes to reach this Preserve from the town's center (also a great bike trip if you are interested). The hike takes less than one hour to complete--longer if you want more time taking in the views. Be sure to use a bathroom before you go, there's no Porta-Johnnys here (after all, it's a ritzy neighborhood). Buy some food/drink/snacks in Yarmouth or on nearby Route #1 before you go--there's no food stores on the two islands. Most of the hike is forested, no real need for sun block. But, bring bug spray in warmer weather--and, a cell phone for safety (since there's only four parking spots, there's not many people using the Preserve at one time). Also bring a flashlight if there's a chance you'll get caught by darkness--the trail has heavy canopies.
GETTING THERE In order to drive to Littlejohn Island Preserve, you must first find Yarmouth, and, drive across a huge bridge connecting Yarmouth to Cousins Island, and, on to its only main center road, Cousins St. (Both islands are very small.) Once you leave the bridge, just keep driving straight. Next, watch for the ONLY connecting road to Littlejohn Island called Talbot Rd. Talbot Rd comes up quickly after passing the island's cemetery on the right. Don't be tricked--the Talbot Rd sign will be seen on the right-side of the road, even though Talbot Rd extends only to your left. It's a wonderful treat driving on Talbot. The road starts out quite tiny and hilly. Suddenly, it opens up to the ocean on either side of you as you cross over a rock-sided ocean-level bridge to Littlejohn--a beautiful sight to see. Once you enter Littlejohn Island, you will then drive two streets, make a left on Littlejohn Rd (don't be confused by the two street signs bearing the same name on the same pole--the road is actually a loop). Next, make your first left on Pemasong Lane. Pemasong Lane is a tight, dirt road. Just keep driving straight until you reach the end of the dirt road, and, the two stone pillars. After the stone pillars, the dirt road becomes asphalt, welcoming you to millionaires way. Remember, park to the left of these stone pillars if you are able bodied (then, walk the asphalt street ahead for 5 minutes to the trail head). If you have a disability placard, drive past the stone pillars to the end of this same road, a 2-minute drive, until you reach the trail head kiosk, and, the two-spot parking lot on the right. NOTE: if all four parking spaces are used, you cannot park elsewhere. I suspect the ritzy neighbors wouldn't like it.
If you'd like to enjoy an easy, but, beautiful hike--maybe take a chair along with a book to read for a few hours, bring the kids along for an interesting quiet, and, short afternoon, would like to do something spectacular, but, simple, while in the Yarmouth area, I highly recommend this Preserve. Off-leash dogs are welcome (but, do keep the Preserve clean, bring your own dog poo bags--and, use them). Unfortunately, since there are no garbage cans at this Preserve either, you will have to transport the dog poo to the Sandy Point Beach parking area (when driving back to Yarmouth, it will be on your right, just before you cross over the bridge). By the way, Sandy Point is a great place for dogs when the tide is out. Lots of beach area (when its not otherwise underwater), a great place for dogs to frolic in sun, sand, and, water.
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