Around 9 miles of trails fan out from the village, through the “wild lands” and along the perimeter, scaling cliffs that are the highest in Maine. Some of the trails, marked on the Trail Map, are suitable for families with small children or people with limited time or physical prowess; others are considerably more challenging. Wheels of any sort are not allowed beyond the fire trails.
Monhegan trails are narrow, rugged, and rocky with wet areas, exposed tree roots, steep climbs, sheer drops, and dense growth. Use this map to plan your route according to your ability. Wear appropriate footwear, carry sufficient water, use insect repellent and hike with a friend. Further, the sea and surf add meaning to Monhegan’s “Wild Lands”, both in terms of beauty and danger. Please use utmost caution and always keep a bulwark between you and the sea.
There are no “comfort stations” or garbage disposals on the trails, so plan accordingly.
In 2005 we asked the Maine Conservation Corps (MCC) for their recommendations to repair and restore the trails. Their suggestions have provided a basis for our trail stewardship since.
The Lobster Cove Trail reconstruction project, funded by the Monhegan Associates and a grant from the Recreational Trails Program, was completed in 2010 by a crew from the Maine Conservation Corps and volunteers on the island.
As of 2013, a seasoned crew of on-island workers have been trained to carry out trail restoration and other work in the fall and spring seasons. This work is extremely important for a variety of reasons. Well designed trails prevent environmental degradation by providing adequate water drainage, erosion prevention measures, and other safeguards against human impact. At the same time, well-made trails are safer for hikers who benefit from secure footing. Trail #14 to Pebble Beach was successfully rerouted in 2016 allowing reasonable access to this popular destination. Continueing installation and maintanence of water bars and bog bridges have prevented water damage on many trails. These measures server to protect nearby native plants from trampling by those attempting to circumnavigate wet spots. This fall the crew will be installing stepping stones along trail #17.
During the summer months visitors and volunteer groups work to maintain trails under the leadership of MAI affiliates.
The Trails Policy provides guidelines for those who work to maintain trails.