Carter Nature Preserve

Carter Nature Preserve in Surry has roughly 1.5 miles of trails, including 3 unique sections of trail, the Shore Trail, Woods Trail, and Loop Trail!  Comprised of rocky ledges, tidal pools, and cobble beaches, explore the diverse rocky shoreline with amazing views of Morgan Bay.  The mixed inland forest has some very large trees offering a great hike.  Parking can be found at the bridge, or up the road across from the Furth / Talalay trailhead.

* Dogs are prohibited on the Woods Trail, but you can walk leashed dogs on the rocky beach, Shore, and Loop Trails. 

Watch the Carter Nature Preserve & Furth/Talalay Nature Sanctuaries “Story of Place” Videos Here

Trail Map

Click Here to Download Trail Map

Grass leads to rocky shore at Carter Nature PreserveShore, Woods & Loop Trails

The Shore Trail begins near the bridge on Cross Rd at the head of Morgan Bay.  This trail brings you through an open field before it takes a few steps down to the rocky shoreline, providing a great scenic hike along the coastline.

Hikers along the shore at Carter Nature Preserve



The Woods Trail begins in the middle of the preserve offering a hike through an older Maine forest. You can hike on the Woods Trail or walk the rocky shoreline. *Please note that dogs are not allowed on the Woods Trail. If you have a dog and wish to continue the hike, you are welcome to continue along the shoreline (may be difficult at high tide) where it eventually reconnects with the rest of the trail, at a cove.*


Hiking along the newest of the three trails, the Loop Trail (0.8 miles) takes you along a privately owned trail.  One of the main features of this trail is the 26-step staircase. Please respect the land and this generous opportunity to explore it. This trail connects to the parking area at the head of the Furth-Talalay trails. You may choose to add these trails to extend your hiking enjoyment of this Morgan Bay area!


Location and Parking

Limited parking is available at the pull-off at the bridge on Cross Road, at the head of Morgan Bay near the Shore Trail.  A larger parking area is further down Cross Road, across from the Furth/Talalay trailhead near the Loop Trail.  Click here for the Google Map link.

Citizen Science Opportunities

  • Carter Nature Preserve is a part of the Downeast Phenology Trail, a research project with the Schoodic Institute. To participate in this fun Citizen Science project through the Nature’s Notebook app which can be downloaded onto your smartphone or device. Please click here for instructions: Nature’s Notebook Instructions.
  • BHHT Volunteer and Maine Master Naturalist, Susan Guilford, has created an inventory of plant and animal life at the Carter Nature Preserve. This wonderful resource was Susan’s capstone project for the MMN program, and she continues to add to it. To access the information or to add your own observations, go to iNaturalist OR eBird.

Scavenger Hunts

  • CNP ME Geo Survey Maine State Geologist Bob Marvinney has created a scavenger hunt at Carter Nature Preserve that takes the reader to many important features and in the process, covers the major geologic periods that have affected the Maine coast.
  • Susan has also shared with us a fun scavenger hunt for Carter Nature Preserve which can be accessed on the following website:

Use Guidelines

  • Dogs on leash are welcome on the Shore Trail and Loop Trail. We ask that you not take dogs through the “Woods Trail” section.
  • Please stay on marked trails.
  • Carry out what you take in.
  • Fires are not permitted.
  • Dogs must be leashed.
  • Foot traffic only.
  • Hunting is not allowed at Carter Nature Preserve. For a list of properties where hunting is welcome, please contact our office.

History: A Partnership with the Friends of Morgan Bay

The cove at Carter Nature PreserveCarter Nature Preserve was acquired in 1995 through the diligent efforts of Friends of Morgan Bay and Blue Hill Heritage Trust. The diverse shoreline offers a panoramic view of Morgan Bay and is comprised of ledges interspersed with some large tidal pools and cobble beaches. The mixed wood inland forest has likely not been logged for 70 or 80 years and includes some very large white pines and birch.

Friends of Morgan Bay member, and Blue Hill Heritage Trust volunteer, Susan Shetterly wrote a wonderful piece about how Carter Nature Preserve came to be in Yankee Magazine. Read the Essay Here