Maiden's Cliff Video
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Maiden's Cliff is a very popular hiking destination for tourists and is easily recognizable by the white cross standing on the top of the 800-foot cliff. The hike to the cliff will normally take around forty-five minutes to an hour to complete.
Maiden's Cliff Photos
Maiden’s Cliff is a rock outcropping formation that juts out 800 feet above Megunticook Lake and overlooks Ragged Mountain and the surrounding countryside to the west.
Maiden's Cliff - a natural rock outcropping formation overlooking Megunticook Lake
Maiden's Cliff is part of Camden Hills State Park, with views of Megunticook Lake and its surrounding woods and countryside. It is a very popular destination for tourists and is easily recognizable by the white cross standing on the top of the 800-foot cliff. Indeed, the trail is one of the top sightseeing attractions in Camden for hikers. The trail towards the top is a mile long, with the first half a steep climb while the last part is more on level ground. The hike to the cliff will normally take around forty-five minutes to an hour to complete.
The white cross on top of Maiden's Cliff is actually a memorial to Elenora French, an 11-year old girl who fell off the cliff on May 7, 1864. She climbed the cliff along with her older sister, friends, and teacher when a sudden gust of wind blew her hat off. According to her older sister’s account of the events, Elenora successfully caught her hat and sat on a rock near the edge of the cliff but while she was putting it back on, another gust of wind pushed her off the edge, falling 300 feet down. Elenora was still alive when they climbed down to get to her and she did not even sustain any broken bones. Unfortunately, she had suffered internal injuries and the young girl died the next day.
Maiden's Cliff Cross - a memorial to Elenora French
To remember Elenora French and her tragic end on the beautiful but dangerous cliff, Joseph B. Steams had a cross erected on the site of the tragedy. It was a simple white cross that after years of exposure to the weather and elements gave way and had to be replaced more than once. The cross that was put up in 1947 was blown down on January 17, 1980 and replaced with a new cross that weighed 600 pounds and measured 12 feet by 24 feet. Helicopters of the Air National Guard installed this fourth replacement of Elenora’s Memorial Cross.
On September 15, 1986, Roy Brown and Sam Dyer, together with their tools and supplies, climbed the trail to install a monument donated by Coastal Monuments and Laite Funeral Home. It was inscribed with the words, “In memory of Elenora French” Brown and Dyer installed the memorial at the base of the cross, drilling into the rock.
In May of 1988, vandals toppled the cross and destroyed the hard work the two men had given to the memorial two years earlier. The Camden Fire Department Rescue team and Camden Parks and Recreation Department volunteers and members labored for long hours to put the cross right again. Two helicopters from the 240th Engineer Group of the Maine National Guard also helped in putting the cross upright once again, secured with cables from a donation from the Wayfarer Marine Corporation.
When the cross’ south arm broke off, it was replaced with a steel cross donated by Frank O’Hara Jr. On Memorial Day 1992, the steel cross was installed, reinforced with epoxy paint to make it more hardy against nature’s elements and secured with cables donated by the Wayfarer Marine Corporation once again. This cross still stands today.
Maiden's Cliff Trail and hiking in Camden Hills State Park
Maiden's Cliff provides just one of many spectacular views in Camden Hills State Park. However, it has been a long-time favorite hiking destination for visitors and locals alike. The walk to the top of Maidens Cliff can be done in as little as 30 minutes and is well worth the walk. Once at the top, you will get a unique panoramic view of Lake Megunticook, the Atlantic Ocean, and the entire countryside. All of this is from an 800 foot cliff that drops straight down.
The walk to the top is very relaxing as you travel the over a gravel path. The walk starts by leading you through a breathtaking forest, pass a well-recognized massive boulder, over a bridge, then back into the woods and finally over some rocky terrain to the top of Maiden's Cliff.
The trail to Maiden's Cliff is often combined with multiple other hiking trails in Camden Hills State Park which can easily turn a 30 minute walk into an all day hiking event. A standard route is to travel the Maiden's Cliff Trail and then connecting with the Scenic Trail and finally moving onto Ridge Trail, which will soon return you back to the Maiden's Cliff Trail.