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Tatnic Hills Preserve




Open to the Public

Yes

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171 acres in Wells, York County

The Tatnic Hills Preserve, nestled at the north end of the Mt. Agamenticus Conservation Area and owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy, was protected through a series of three acquisitions between 1998 and 2007. 

Ecological Value & Features

The Tatnic Hills Preserve features a variety of forest types in a setting of gently rolling terrain. The preserve contains a mixture of early successional, mature, and old growth pine and mixed hardwood forest. Of particular interest are white oak and shagbark hickory which make up a small but important component of the forest, providing food for wildlife. Both of these tree species are relatively uncommon in Maine and are restricted to the southern part of the state. Numerous vernal pools and pocket wetlands provide habitat for the state-endangered Blanding’s turtle and the state-threatened spotted turtle. During the summer months these turtles migrate from the pools to lay eggs in the sandy soils of adjacent uplands. Hikers should keep an eye out for these rare reptiles during the summer. In addition to the turtles, Tatnic Hills Preserve is home to moose, white-tailed deer, red fox, raccoon, ruffed grouse and a multitude of songbirds and other wildlife.

Trail System

The Red Trail, to the east of the parking lot, is a 1-mile moderate hike through white pine and mixed hardwood forest. Of particular interest are scattered shagbark hickory trees, a species at the northern limit of its range in southern Maine. This hike includes meadow openings along granitic outcroppings and nice views of the Tatnic Hills. Visitors may also see evidence of recent harvesting that has influenced forest succession in the area.

The White Trail, to the west of the parking lot, is an easy 1-mile hiking loop. This trail transits through old fields that have succeeded to pine-oak woodlands. Stone foundations predominantly stand along the trail as a reminder of the areas past farming history. The loop also travels along the edges of several vernal pools, and through hemlock-white pine woodlands.

There are a few water crossings. Bog bridges have been constructed by Nature Conservancy staff and the Mount Agamenticus trail crew to keep hikers dry. Visitors may encounter muddy conditions, so boots are sometimes advisable.

Visiting Guidelines

To learn more about our preserve guidelines, please read our complete list of preserve use policies.

• Day use only, no camping
• No fires
• Carry out all trash, leave no trace
• Bikes and motorized vehicles prohibited
• No pets
• Please stay on the trail
• No collecting of plants or animals

Directions

• I-95 to Wells, ME (Exit 19)
• At the stop light (after the toll booth), turn right (west) onto Rt. 109
• Travel approximately one-half mile and turn left (southwest) onto Rt. 9
• Travel approximately 2.5 miles along Rt. 9 and turn left (southeast) onto Rt. 9B.
• Travel east on 9B for only about 250 feet and turn right, then travel south on Cheney Woods Road.
• Follow Cheney Woods Rd south for approx. 2.5 miles (it will turn into a dirt road after one half mile), stay on Cheney Woods Rd, and climb and wind around two sharp turns into the Tatnic Hills.
• Turn left into a small parking area (north side of road) at the top of the hill once the road becomes flat (if the road turns back to pavement from gravel, you have travelled approximately .2 miles beyond the small parking lot).

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