Exploring Cathance River Preserve

Finally! The sun is shining and spring things are happening. As our kids say, “Can we get a hoy ya?” With all of this spring-y goodness popping up, our crew decided to visit the 235-acre Cathance River Preserve in Topsham. The preserve is home to three main trails and four unique connector trails, making it easy to tailor a hike that works for your family.

We started our hike at the .90 mile Highland Trail. Our adventure began with a pristine view of a vernal pool. There’s a small dock here, where the kids enjoyed posing for pictures and generally being silly.


As we continued on the Highland Trail, which was well-marked with blue blaze, we came across boardwalks to traverse, a stand of silver-barked elm trees and woodland streams.



The only downside to this part of the trail system is visitors can hear the rush of cars from nearby 295. However, this sound was soon quieted once we reached the Cathance River Trail, where the roar of the river took over.


This spot along the river feels so private and far away from the real world. There’s a two-person bench here with a built in table, if you want to stop and take in the view for awhile. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a beaver at the river’s edge (we saw evidence of one).

IMG_8278After a short break, the three of walked a little further down the trail and the sounds of the rapids grew even louder. We could barely hear ourselves talk, and the kids were shouting, “Hoy-ya!” like nobody’s business. If you get anxious around moving water, there is a viewing fence here to keep kids from getting too close.

It was getting late in the afternoon, so we decided to loop back on the .35 mile Barnes Leap trail towards the CREA Ecology Center, which is home to a learning space for families (it’s typically open on Sunday afternoons). Along the way, we found some fun discoveries — from a smiling faced tree stump to pieces of sparkling Mica.



Our walk to the river was only about a mile and half round trip, but we loved the diversity of the trail system and all of the things to see and do. Next time, we’ll come back to explore a little more of the Cathance River Trail and the .75 mile Heath Loop trail across the street from the parking lot.

If you go: the Cathance River Preserve is located within Highland Green Village in Topsham. Follow the main road about 2.5 miles, and you’ll see a small parking lot for the preserve on your left. For more information, visit creamaine.com.

Happy spring everyone!

Leave a Reply