Located just steps away from the University of Maine’s campus in Orono, the Piney Knoll Conservation Area presents visitors with diverse wildlife, varied terrain, and bountiful recreational opportunities. Its 57 acres encompass riverside marshes, lovely meadows, and pristine forest stands, including the group of tall white pines atop a knoll from which the area derives its name.
Owned and operated by the Orono Land Trust (OLT), the Piney Knoll Conservation Area offers about 4.5 miles of easy-to-moderate walking trails that are great for families. The property also connects to the University of Maine’s popular cross-country skiing network and offers some great Nordic trails of its own. With eagles, redpolls, and ducks all frequenting the area, this is an excellent spot for avid birdwatchers. Visitors should also be on the lookout for snowshoe hares, deer, red foxes, Wild Turkeys, and coyotes.
This area was formally a settlement of the Penobscot Nation. OLT purchased part of the area in 1991 with support from Bangor Hydro, which donated the funds as part of a mitigation plan for its Diamond Mills Dam proposal that never came to fruition. The Land for Maine’s Future program supported a 20.5-acre expansion to the Piney Knoll Conservation Area in 2010.
Closest Town: Orono
Activities: Hiking, Birdwatching, Mountain Biking, Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing, Wildlife Watching
Region: Maine Highlands – Piscataquis, Penobscot
Acreage: 20.5 LMF-sponsored acres, 57 total acres
Directions: From Orono, head north on Park Street for about a mile before turning right onto Colburn Drive.