Roque Bluffs State Park provides visitors with a great diversity of coastal landscapes to enjoy in 274 acres on Schoppee Point (south of Machias). A beautiful, half-mile crescent of sand and pebbles along Englishman Bay is backed by the shallow waters of 60-acre Simpson Pond - allowing for bracing saltwater swims and much warmer fresh water soaks. Between the beach and the pond are several picnic areas and a children's play area adjoining the parking area. A 6-mile trail network just inland from the shore leads through old orchards, fields and woods, with paths that follow the rocky shores of Great Cove and Pond Cove.
Nature of the Area
The diverse habitats at Roque Bluffs State Park support abundant wildlife, and bird watchers enjoy interesting sightings at all seasons. Bald eagles frequent the area year-round and many migrant species stopover during spring and fall. Birders occasionally spot less common waterfowl, such as Barrow's Goldeneye, Redhead and Gadwall ducks, and Hooded Mergansers. During summer months, pipers, plovers and interesting species of gull (like ring-billed) frequent the beach.
History of the Area
The sand/pebble beach at Roque Bluffs State Park is an unusual geologic feature along the Downeast coast, much of which is marked by bold cliffs and cobble shores. It resulted from an accumulation of sediment that eroded from a prominent glacial moraine lying to the east. There is a bedrock outcrop at the eastern end of the beach where visitors can see glacial striations (deep groves in the bedrock left by the glacier's movement toward the southeast).
This unusual beach has long been popular with area residents and visitors. The Maine State Park Commission used proceeds from a public bond to acquire and protect the land in 1969.
Offshore, visitors can see Libby Lighthouse (formerly known as Machias Lighthouse because it marks the entrance to Machias Bay). This historic structure, built in 1817, is still an active beacon.
The trailhead parking lot is a quarter-mile east of the beach parking lots (up the hill toward Roque Bluffs village). Five hiking trails (with the longest loop approximately 4 miles) allow visitors to meander through fields and woodlands bordering Pond Cove and Great Cove.
Pond Cove Trail (2 miles, approximately 1 hour) leads through meadows and woods (over largely flat terrain) and offers scenic vistas over Pond Cove.
Houghton's Hill Trail (1.5 mile, approximately 45 minutes) provides a woods walk back to the trailhead from the western end of the Pond Cove Trail, passing over Houghton's Hill (with moderate terrain suitable for fit walkers). A picnic table located halfway along the trail offers a place to rest or snack.
Blueberry Camp Trail (1 mile, approximately 30 minutes) cuts back from the coast to join Houghton's Hill Trail, ascending that hill on the way back to the trailhead.
Mihill Trail (2 miles, approximately 1 hour) is the longest loop back from the end of the Pond Cove Trail, passing along the shore of Great Cove before turning inland. At the fork (Larry's Loop), take the left trail for the most direct route back to the trailhead.
From the south, turn right off Route 1 onto Roque Bluffs Road in Jonesboro. At the T-intersection in 5 miles, turn right and continue south on Roque Bluffs Road to Schoppee Point. From the north, turn left on Roque Bluffs Road approximately one mile south of the Machias town center and continue 8 miles to the village of Roque Bluffs (where there is parking for hiking trails) or continue down Schoppee Point to reach the beach and boat launch.