Branch Lake State Park, one of Maine's Secret State Parks (Ellsworth)

I visited Branch Lake State Park after work today.   If you search the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands website you won't find Branch Lake State Park listed, yet the sign at the entrance proudly displays it's status.   

I've used the boat ramp at the park to kayak on Branch Lake, but until today hadn't taken the time to explore the rest of the park.   There is a beach area with a separate parking lot, and three campsites reserved for park hosts (the park otherwise closes at dark).   

I explored the beach area and then followed a straight path through woods until it ended.  Hoping to find a trail along the lake's shoreline I went off-trail towards the lake (there do not appear to be any formal marked trails in the park).  I reached the lake but there were no signs of even a fishing trail along the shore, so I continued off-trail along the shoreline back to where I had come from.   I arrived at an old road and after a short distance came to a well defined social trail leading to a point jutting out into the lake.   I then headed back along the beach road to my car.  

I hiked a total of 1.3 miles exploring the park.  Given the weather (42° and light drizzle) and being a weeknight I had the park to myself.  

Here is a map of my hike.  

This was a fun after work adventure exploring a place with little information available on the Internet.  This is not the only "secret" state park that I've encountered on hikes.  Fort St. Georges State Historic Site in St. George is another park area not listed on the State's website.


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