The Cutler Coast
The Byway passes through East Machias Historic District, then skirts the very edge of Holmes and Little Machias bays atop an open, field-covered bluff with unobstructed views across the bays. Bucolic Cutler harbor is nestled into the head of a long, narrow cove called Little River. Tidy homes perch on grassy hills sweeping down to a cluster of wharves, fishing shacks, and lobster boats. Little River Lighthouse offers visitors a truly unique experience – an overnight stay in the Keepers House.
The Byway continues through open fields, then dips into maritime forest. The most magnificent portion of the Bold Coast is obscured from view by the forest, but discovery awaits via several trails along the Cutler Coast, the boldest stretch of coastline on the eastern seaboard. The coastal trail at Cutler Coast Preserve has long been dubbed the “Bold Coast Trail”.
Cutler Coast Preserve and Bog Brook Cove comprise the 2nd largest contiguous conservation area on the Maine coast (after Acadia National Park), thanks to a multi-organizational commitment to protect a landscape critical to protecting an economy and culture reliant on intact natural resources. A unique composition of spruce-fir-larch forest and glacial influence supports raised coastal peatland and plant communities rarely found south of Canada. Nearly 200 species of birds are recorded along the Cutler Coast, some rare to Maine.
Bog Brook and Cutler Coast trails lead through the forest and peatlands to a rocky plateau nearly 200 feet above sea level with vast open views across the Atlantic Ocean. This is the jagged, rocky edge of the North American continent, sheared off by glaciers and dropped into a pounding sea; where the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy meet and the world’s highest tides begin. The Cutler Coast’s steep, tumbled landscape epitomizes the influence of glacial forces, dramatic tides, and harsh maritime climate on the land and people of the Bold Coast.
Machias Seal Island off the Cutler coast is a renowned North American birdwatching destination. The tiny, barren island is nesting grounds for a great number and variety of migratory seabirds, and is the largest Puffin colony on the Maine coast, with thousands more birds than any other site. The island is designated a bird sanctuary by the U.S. and Canadian Wildlife Service. Byway travelers can view and photograph birds and the lighthouse from one of many wildlife boat tours offered along the Bold Coast.
Hours: Both preserves are open year-round; Cutler Coast Preserve offers 5 primitive pack-in campsites.
Trail Skill Level: Cutler Coast’s Overlook trail is easy; the remainder is moderate. Bog Brook’s Moose Cove Trail offers 1100 feet of handicapped-accessible trail leading to a spectacular lookout.