Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land

Maine’s Bold Coast

All photos and text by Gale Straub 

We had found time. Eager for a taste of what living on the road would be, we sought out a camping excursion in our current state, Maine. My boyfriend, Jon, hoped for by the ocean, perhaps Acadia. Private and state parks were fruitless -> campsites totaled 100+ RV hookups, reservations made months in advance: not our style.

I shifted our search when I came across a list of State Public lands, less manicured than state parks, fewer sites, more remote. Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land had all we sought. Two hours north of the heart of Acadia, the Reserve holds 12,234 acres of blueberry barrens, woodlands and peatlands leading up to oceanside cliffs.

The totality of the land was secured by Maine in 1997, the coastal portion in 1989. Prior to that, the area was primarily used for lumber.

We hiked the 4.5 mile inland trail to Fairy Head on the coast, where we hoped to select one of three campsites for the night. The inland trail took us over boards, under fallen trees, through marshes, and by a beaver pond. When we broke free from the woods and caught sight of the ocean, we were struck by the unique landscape. The +/- 30 miles between Lubec and Cutler, Maine is known as the “Bold Coast” – Alpine trees right up to 100 foot cliffs, radical tide changes and secluded smooth-rocked beaches. While Southern Maine is “Vacationland”, the Bold Coast is drastically remote. From cliffs we saw lobster traps bobbing in the surf. There was a lighthouse in the distance. Most importantly, we saw no people.

First to the campsites (each about 200m apart), we selected one closest to the water. The site was clear with thin timber, the view an expanse of blue.

cutlercoast
Campsite outlook

We spent the remainder of the day setting up camp and exploring the coastal trail, which runs 3.5 miles for continuous sights. Meandering over rock, we came across another camper, a school teacher outside of Bangor. He aptly described the Cutler Coast “Acadia on steroids.” Later that evening, sitting on granite and dangling our legs over the incoming tide, I knew it to be true. This kind of scale and seclusiveness is rare on the East coast. If you find yourself in Maine, take advantage.


Lessons learned:

  • Wear loose pants – tight athletic pants did not protect me from aggressive mosquitos, even when sprayed with Ben’s Max 100 DEET.
  • Bring Benedryl – for bug bites, see above.
  • Carry more water than you think you’ll need. It’s heavy but vital.
  • Slip a pack of playing cards in your pack.

Pros

  • Secluded
  • Gorgeous oceanscapes
  • Isolated beaches
  • 10+ miles of hiking trails
  • Easy to Navigate

Cons

  • Mosquitos – Prime time is May through Mid-July
  • Foghorn in the distance goes off every 10 seconds (bring earplugs for sleeping)