Visitor Activities

  • Recreation Trails

    National Recreation Trail

    Sunkhaze Meadows NWR has roughly 10 miles of recreational trails that are open to the public. There are five distinct trails at the refuge.

    County Road Access Trails

    Carter Meadow Trail- 1.5 mile loop trail, with observation deck and view of the Sunkhaze Bog.

    Oak Point Trail- 1.3 mile trail (one way) that follows a glacial esker and ends in a mature red oak forest.

    Johnson Brook Trail- 3.5 mile loop trail was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 2016. The trail has more than 600' of boardwalk sections and traverses through a cedar swamp and forested uplands.


    Stud Mill Road Access Trails

    Ash Landing Canoe Launch- 1/8 mile trail that leads to a canoe/kayak launch on Sunkhaze stream

    McLaughlin Road- 2 mile road that is accessible for hiking and open to vehicles from September through November.

  • Hunting

    White-tailed deer - Dave Small.

    The refuge is open to all hunting seasons established by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Nox-toxic shot is required for all seasons other than those for big game, and no baiting is allowed during any hunting season. For summary of rules, and regulations see attachment.

    Sunkhaze Meadows NWR Hunting Regulations 

  • Fishing

    Kayaker - USFWS.

    Refuge is open sunrise to sunset. Boating and fishing are allowed on refuge waters. Refuge waters open to fishing include Baker Brook, Birch Stream, Buzzy Brook, Dudley Brook, Johnson Brook, Little Birch Stream, Sandy Stream and Sunkhaze Stream. Fishing regulations follow those issued by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Available species include brook trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch and chain pickerel. Fishing access is via the county and Stud Mill roads in Milford. There are no fishing facilities.

    Quality fishing opportunities are available on other national wildlife refuges. Find more information with our on-line Guide to Fishing on National Wildlife Refuges.

  • Wildlife Viewing

    Great blue heron - Dave Small.

    Visitors may enjoy the refuge through a variety of traditional activities. For those willing to experience the refuge on its own terms, a canoe trip down Sunkhaze stream or a walk along an old logging trail can be truly memorable. Bird watching can be very rewarding, particularly in late spring during the migration. In the winter the refuge provides some excellent cross-country skiing opportunities. Animal tracks in the snow tell stories summer visitors can’t even imagine.

    Maine hosts more warbler species during the year than most other states in the country. Many of these and other beautiful songbirds can be seen and heard on Sunkhaze Meadows NWR. In fact, more than 200 species of birds have been documented using the forests and wetland areas of the refuge.

  • Interpretation

    River Otter

    Interpretive kiosks and trail-side exhibits are located in the vicinity of the four refuge trails on the County and Stud Mill Roads.

  • Environmental Education

    Johnson Brook Train - USFWS.

    Refuge lands are made available to local teachers and students for the purpose of conducting environmental education activities. The refuge serves as an outdoor laboratory for students and professors. A Special Use Permit is required for group visits before any educational activity occurs on the refuge.

  • Photography

    Mawa - Zac Pohlen.

    Sunkhaze Meadows NWR provides visitors with access opportunities for wildlife observation and photography. At the Sunkhaze Meadows Unit, there are four walking trails in the upland forest around the pet bog or you can explore the interior of the unit by canoeing Sunkhaze Stream from Ash Landing.

    Many wildlife species are attracted to the diverse habitats found on Sunkhaze Meadows NWR. Resident species include beavers, whose lodges and dams are readily encountered during a trip down any of the refuge waterways. Moose can often be seen feeding on the edge of the bog in willow or alder thickets. White-tailed deer, warier than moose, are occasionally observed on the perimeter roads in the early morning. Black bears, coyotes, river otters, and fisher are other common species which are observed less frequently.