I am so grateful that a KMP Member told me about this incredible spot - thank you Sarah! This 40-acre parcel of gorgeous property was donated to the Royal River Conservation Trust in 2018. The preserve protects Meadow Brook, which is on the edge of Intervale's vast wetland areas. These wetlands rank among the richest habitat and ecology areas in the Royal River watershed, according to the brochure I picked up at the trailhead. The area supports migratory shore birds, waterfowl, game birds and wading birds. I mean, who wouldn't want to migrate or spend a little time here?
The 1.5 mile loop features an impressive waterfall at the mouth of a small wading pool, beaver ponds and mature forest of hemlock, pine and beech. Abutting private trails are open for use as well...and I am hoping to send you there, since we never made it and there is something I was hoping to find. Details to come.
After parking in the small, dirt lot on Woodman Road, follow the discontinued end of the road until you reach the Big Falls Loop Trail on your right. This trail is marked with blue diamonds. As you walk into the woods, the first fun thing you will discover is an old 1947 Plymouth. This car was once owned by Reginald Parent, an original owner of the parcel of land that is now the access trail to the preserve. Reginal was a mill worker in Lewiston and would use these woods to hunt and cut firewood. This car was actually used for parts for the working family car that Reginald used. He drove the car into the woods and used it as his forest auto parts store.
From here, you will wander down to the stream and follow it until you reach the falls, in the upper part of the loop. From the falls, the trail will bring you back to the dirt road for a .6 mile walk back to the trailhead.
The bad news, I was so consumed by the beauty of this hike (and the new puppy), that I forgot to hide the Seek'em who was waiting patiently in my pocket! The good news, there is another treasure for you to find. When I was researching this trail, I found pictures of a sweet little chapel, tucked in the woods. I never found it, but after we left, I learned that it was actually located on the Norumbega Chapel Trail, located on the opposite side of the dirt road. To access this trail, look for red blazes on your right after you've done the Big Falls Loop and return to the dirt road. Here is a picture of the chapel, found on google and taken by Karen Dube (thanks Karen!).
If you find the chapel, take a picture of it and send it to me! I plan to return to see it myself, but am just curious about its actual location.
This would also be a great trail to visit in the summer or fall. Thompson's Orchard is just up the road, so apple picking could make this a full day. Enjoy!