Since its inception, the Larrabee family cultivated the area that is now Libby River Farm Preserve to provide much-needed protein and produce to the growing metropolis of Portland. After being purchased by the Scarborough Land Trust, it’s since become an important location in their ongoing conservation efforts; an ideal habitat for the endangered New England Cottontail, indicating populations could return in coming years.
Although there is no official opening and closing of the trails, it is advised you keep your stay between dawn and dusk, especially as it gets toward those dreaded winter months. Yes, it is open year round, so feel free to head out with your snowshoes on! Scarborough Land Trust covers any cost of visiting, but if you’re interested in supporting this awesome conservation organization, you’re able to donate on their website. There’s parking for well over a dozen cars, so don’t be shy. What Libby River Farm Preserve lacks in facilities (there are no bathrooms or picnic tables), it makes up for with a relaxed atmosphere. Few travelers notice this landmark on their way to Scarborough Beach State Park a few miles down the road and thus allows ample room to stretch out.
Stop by the trail kiosk at the end of the parking lot and be sure to grab a map before heading onward. With just over a mile and half worth of trails, it’s by no means the Appalachian Trail, but knowing where you are is still helpful! I suggest you venture out to the scenic overlook and platform constructed by a local Eagle Scout. You’ll find yourself venturing through a little less than a half mile on the far edge of Camp Ketcha, past old camp cabins and survival shelters built in the woods. The elevation through the trail is minimal, but a flight of stone steps makes the trail non-wheelchair accessible. The old fields are now filled in with an array of milkweed, reeds and native grasses (Come in June for a chance to see a few lupins blooming!). The only downside some of you more adventurous spirits may find is that there’s no biking allowed.
Although Maine has been my home for many years, I never get tired of the changing of the colors as summer fades to fall. Libby River Farm Preserve, in all its secluded glory, is perfect for enjoying this natural phenomenon. I suggest bringing a blanket and a picnic basket mid to late October to take advantage of the boldest hues of red and orange.