Blue Hill Heritage Trust recently opened the Becton Trail, a woodland path that ascends the north side of Blue Hill Mountain.
The two-mile trail crosses six parcels of land that have been donated to the Trust since 1998, as well as town land. The Becton family, which summers in Blue Hill, donated the final parcel in 2010 and contributed funds for the trail’s development and maintenance. The Becton Trail continues the trust’s tradition of naming trails on Blue Hill Mountain after the land donor.
The new trail begins at a trailhead on Turkey Farm Road, northeast of the mountain. The first mile meanders through a mostly flat, coniferous forest. Because the route skirts wetlands and Noyes Pond, the trust placed cedar planking in soggy places.
The trail crosses a watershed divide in its first mile. One side drains into Noyes Pond and eventually Blue Hill harbor; the other side empties into Toddy Pond.
A staff-led volunteer team worked weekly to forge a trail through the forest. “We took the time to figure out a route that made the most sense,” said Jim Dow, the trust’s executive director. “We try to make a small impact with our trails, including finding a hard surface.”
The Trust owns roughly 250 acres of land on and around Blue Hill Mountain, and the town owns another 175 acres.
In its second mile, the Becton Trail climbs the north and west sides of Blue Hill Mountain before connecting to the Osgood Trail just west of the summit. The forest becomes primarily hardwood as the trail ascends. Ash, beech, and maple trees abound. Dow explained that “open hardwood” forests like this are difficult to find. “This hasn’t been cut for a long time,” he said. “It’s fun to be able to see the modest undergrowth and openness of the forest.”
At higher points on the mountainside, there are a few views to the north and west. “On a crystal-clear day in the fall,” said Dow at one viewpoint, “you could probably see Katahdin.” Neither the summit nor the other trails on Blue Hill Mountain, the Hayes and Osgood Trails, offer views inland.
The Becton Trail is more remote and, at two miles, twice as long as the other two summit trails. “It gives people a different feeling,” said Dow.