Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
Northeast Region

Visitor Opportunities




Canoe & Kayak Launch Sites



Designated visitor use areas on the refuge are open to the public year round from sunrise to sunset. Please be aware that most wildlife habitat
managed by the refuge is closed to the public as designated by "Area Closed" or "Unauthorized Entry Prohibited" boundary signs.
If you require any assistance please contact the field office Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Hiking Trails

Carson Trail

The Carson Trail at Rachel Carson NWR headquarters in Wells, Maine offers a variety of viewing opportunities for visitors.

The Carson Trail is a one-mile walk along an upland edge which offers vistas and close-up views of one of southern Maine’s most valuable ecosystems.

Leashed dogs are allowed on the Carson Trail. All refuge trails are open 7 days a week during daylight hours only.

Rachel Carson NWR Trail Map
Download and print the Carson trail guide in PDF form here.

Cutts Island Trail

The Cutts Island Trail is located in Kittery, Maine. The trail offers 1.8 miles of scenic upland hiking and beautiful salt marsh views.
There is a restroom at the trail head (no running water). The trail is open from sunrise to sunset for foot traffic only. No pets are allowed on this trail.
Please be advised that hunting is allowed, by refuge permit only. If you are walking the trails during hunting season you may consider wearing an
orange hat or vest/coat.

Download directions and Cutts Island Trail map here (.pdf, 739kb)

Timber Point Trail

The Timber Point trail is located in Biddeford, Maine at the end of Granite Point Road.  The trail offers a scenic walk past a fresh water wetland, coastal shrubland and provides beautiful saltmarsh, river and ocean views.  A handicap accessible trail ends at an observation platform overlooking the mouth of the Little River.  At the end of the trail, Timber Island is accessible by a land bridge at low tide, but be mindful of the tides as you cannot return during high tide.  The trail is open from sunrise to sunset for foot traffic only.   Please stay on the designated trail as the remainder of the peninsula is preserved for wildlife habitat.  No pets or bikes are allowed on the trail and all refuge regulations apply.

Download the Timber Point Trail map here (.jpg, 335kb)

Additional Refuge Trails

The Goosefare Brook Trail and overlook located on Route 9 in Saco, offers parking, a short stone-dust trail and interpreted observation platform with views of the marsh and beach. However, there is no beach access from this location. The Bridle Path and Atlantic Way and Ted Wells Trails provide views of Refuge habitat in Kennebunk, Saco and Old Orchard Beach.  These trails are located on and adjacent to Refuge property and are maintained by municipal or private non-profit organizations.

Hunting Information

Refuge hunting information is updated annually. The information below is intended to provide users with an idea of the opportunities we offer at the refuge. Hunting permits will be available during the last week in August.

The refuge will be open to the following hunting season:

1. Deer: Firearm and Archery

-Fox & Coyote may be taken with bow or shotgun with Deer permit during the Firearm Season

2. Migratory Birds - (Duck, Geese, Woodcock, Snipe)

3.Upland Game Birds-(Ruffed Grouse, Pheasant, Quail)

4. Special Falconry Season



How to obtain a refuge hunting permit:

- Hunting permits are available starting the last week in August through December 31 each year.

- Permit fees are payable by cash or check only.

- Bring a copy of your current year Maine hunting license to the refuge headquarters in Wells, along with payment. You will be issued your permit
and maps that outline permitted hunting areas.

- You may also obtain a refuge permit by mailing a copy of your current year Maine hunting license to the refuge headquarters along with payment.
Your permit and hunting maps will be mailed to you. Be sure to include your phone number, address, and indicated what species you want to hunt.

If you have any questions, please contact the refuge office before entering the field:

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
321 Port Road
Wells, Maine 04090
Phone: (207) 646-9226
Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-4:30 pm

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Fishing Information

The following sites may be used by anglers. All Maine fishing regulations apply. Use of all areas contingent upon user cooperation.
Refuge regulations require use of non-lead jigs and sinkers to prevent waterbird poisoning. Areas open dawn until dusk only. Anglers must attend
their lines at all times. The collection of bait fish is prohibited on the refuge. Carry out all litter, including monofilament, which can be dangerous to
birds and other wildlife. Obey refuge signs and private property. Locations are described from south to north.

Chauncey Creek ~ Kittery
Carry-in boat access only at the intersection of Cutts Island and Seapoint Roads. Note that tidal changes in this area may cause previously
navigable channels to become treacherous or impassable. Park adjacent to the site on Seapoint Road.

Brave Boat Tidal Creek ~ York
Fishing permitted on north side of stream bank from Brave Boat Harbor Road to the first trestle downstream, approximately 1000 feet.
Park at pull-off northeast of Brave Boat Harbor Road, south of Payne Road, adjacent to creek. No refuge parking available.

Ogunquit River ~ Ogunquit/Wells
Anglers may fish on the north bank of the Ogunquit River,Fishing at the refuge east of Route 1. Access is limited to the marked and posted areas at the refuge boundary
corner behind the Ogunquit River Plantation Hotel east (downstream), on the Wells side
of the river, for approximately 500 feet. No refuge parking available.

Stevens Brook ~ Wells
The east side of Stevens Brook is open for fishing from Bourne Avenue to the point where
Stevens Brook approaches Ocean Avenue (approximately 1/4 mile). Approach from the
public parking lot on Ocean Avenue.

Webhannet River ~ Wells
Fishing permitted along the west bank of the Webhannet River. The area begins at the
north side of Mile Road and continues approximately 400 feet north (downstream), ending
at the first tidal creek.

Merriland River/Skinner Mill ~ Wells
Anglers may fish from the refuge boundary, east (downstream) for approximately
1000 feet, which includes the oxbow. Access is by an existing trail on the south side of
the river across private property. Park on Skinner Mill Road; no refuge parking available.

Mousam River ~ Kennebunk
Fishing permitted east of Route 9, on the north side of the river, west to our posted boundary and east to the point opposite Great Hill Road
(approximately 3/10 mile). Access will be from the bridle path along the first tidal creek. Fishing is currently allowed on the opposite bank and at the
mouth of the Mousam River. Park on Route 9; no refuge parking available.

Goosefare Brook ~ Saco
Anglers may fish on the south side of the Goosefare Brook outlet. There is very little parking in the immediate area; use the public parking lot at the
end of Bayview Road.

Spurwink River ~ Scarborough
Fishing permitted along the west bank of the Spurwink River, north of the Route 77 bridge. The area extends approximately 1000 feet, ending at a
point near the fork in the river. Limited parking available just off Route 77.


The refuge tidal flats offer opportunities for recreational shellfishing. Town licenses are required and all refuge, state, and town shellfishing regulations
apply. Access is limited to 1 person per license and from sunrise to sunset.

Canoe and Kayak Launch Sites

There are three areas within Rachel Carson NWR where non-motorized canoes and kayaks can launch and land in support of wildlife observation and fishing during daylight hours only. 
These areas are designated by “Carry In Boat Access Only” signs and are located at:

  • Chauncey Creek, on Seapoint Road in Kittery, Maine
  • Little River, at the end of Granite Point Road in Biddeford, Maine
  • Spurwink River, at the fish pier on Route 77 in Scarborough, Maine

Please be mindful that while traveling through the refuge we ask that you remain in your boats and do not venture onto land which is vital habitat for migrating birds and other creatures.  Please plan ahead and know the tides, as much of the marsh is not navigable during low tide.  Marine charts will help identify the main channels and prevent you from getting lost in the maze of creeks and channels.  Public Fishing areas on the refuge are not car top launch sites.



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Last updated: August 22, 2012