Frenchman Bay Conservancy owns the 4.2 acres of Tidal Falls Preserve overlooking the reversing falls in the Taunton River. The State of Maine holds a conservation easement on the preserve.
A closed pavilion, wooden tables, and two iron grills make Tidal Falls an excellent place to picnic.
The best time to view the falls is 2 hours before or after low tide. Find the local tide chart here.
The property is open to the public for day use, and FBC’s office and Exploration Center is located in the red house. Please do not bring dogs to Tidal Falls Preserve to keep the lawn green and the wildlife happy.
Twenty Native American grave sites of the Red Paint People have been excavated at Tidal Falls, dating to 5,000 years ago. Beginning in the 1870’s, granite was quarried locally, loaded on Schooners and shipped over the falls. In the 19th century, Tidal Falls was the first site for a railroad and ferry terminal that transported passengers to Bar Harbor. In the 1950’s the Hodgkins family operated a lobster pound and later a seafood take-out restaurant at Tidal Falls.
Here, large differences between high and low tide and mixing between fresh and saltwater creates a nutrient-rich environment that is incredibly productive for wildlife. The surrounding waters between Sorrento and Hancock north through Taunton Bay are part of a Maine focus area of statewide ecological significance. This area provides high value habitat for numerous state and federal species of concern, including many shorebirds and waterfowl.
Visitors will commonly see seals, osprey, king fishers, and eagles. Otter, mink, blue heron and other wildlife have also been spotted here.
Ellsworth photographer Debbie Stahre shared the wildlife photos below.
Directions: From Ellsworth travel north 8 miles on US coastal Route 1 to the village of Hancock. Go through the village, turn right onto Eastside Road, go .7 mile to Tidal Falls Road, turn left and drive to the end of the road. From Sullivan, Eastside Road is the first left after you cross the bridge.
Top photo credit Jeff DiBella