Its official title is the Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land, its nickname is the Bold Coast Trail, but whatever you may call it, there is no denying the fact that this amazing twelve-mile loop takes a hiker through some of the most remote and beautiful sections of coastline anywhere on the eastern seaboard.
For those who have been, you know. For those who haven’t gone yet, you don’t know what you’re missing! Located in the eastern portion of the fishing community of Cutler, the trail is part of the Maine State Park System and consists of more than 1,200 acres of land and ten miles of hiking trails, including a nearly five-mile section that fronts on the Bay of Fundy. The coastal section features 150-foot cliffs, pocket beaches, numerous meadows, blueberry barrens, and rugged terrain that presents a challenge to the hiker, but rewards them with spectacular views of Grand Manan Island and out into the vast ocean expanse of downeast Maine.
The trail begins with a nearly two-mile journey that leads through thick woods, where moss covers towering trees and wooden boards provide safe passage over raging streams and large bogs. The trail ends at the shoreline, which in this particular case sits about 150 feet below. A small series of wooden steps lead to the edge of the land, where jagged and steep cliffs seem to stretch on forever, winding and twisting back toward the entrance to Cutler Harbor to the west, and Lubec to the east.
The view at this first headland is simply extraordinary. Hikers who are used to seeing the cozy and gently sloping coastline of the midcoast will be in for quite a surprise. The Bold Coast, as it known around these parts, seems to dwarf any other stretch of coastal Maine. The rocks here seem larger, the water more powerful, and the wind stronger. The overall feel of the land is intimidating to say the least. This is downeast Maine at its most authentic: a vast expanse of forbidding landscapes and vast ocean swells, where tides rise and fall with great power and miles of land sit untouched by the hands of time.
The trail meanders along the coast for another four miles, until it veers inland, where narrow paths cover rocky outcroppings, dip into vast swaths of forest, and wind through maze-like barrens where blueberries cover the ground and the sweet smell of pine trees waft around you like a buzzing bee that won’t leave you alone.
At the end of the twelve-mile loop, I always feel as if I have just spent a day in another world, a place where my cell phone has no service, and my eyes see no trace of manmade habitation. The Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land is unique because it offers a true wilderness experience on the coast of Maine. You may find yourself never wanting to leave!