Sunset Rock, also known as Sunset Ledge, is a large area of exposed bedrock on a hill that overlooks Phillips Lake and surrounding hills and mountains in Dedham. Open to the public, this overlook is easy to access by using a short, well-maintained footpath.
This spot is ideal for viewing fall foliage. The forestland surrounding the ledges features tall maple and oak trees, which display some of the brightest colors.
The landmark is owned by Lucerne-in-Maine Village, which is a quasi-municipal corporation within the boundaries of Dedham.
In 2005, Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust, a nonprofit land trust based in nearby Orland, worked with the Lucerne-in-Maine Village to place a permanent conservation easement on Sunset Rock and several other village-owned properties, including six islands in Phillips Lake.
The Sunset Ledge parcel protects about 17 acres of forested upland and open ledge, which is about 840 feet above sea level.
From the parking area at the end of Sunset Road, visitors can follow a short footpath to the ledges. The path is maintained by the Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust. Along the trail, a couple of land trust signs are posted.
The trail ends at the edge of the ledges. You can walk out along the relatively flat rock, exploring it for a few hundred feet as it stretches south and east. Be careful to stay on the rock to avoid stepping on any delicate moss, lichen and low-lying plants.
From the ledges, you can enjoy views of Phillips Lake, Mud Pond and Second Pond, as well as small hills and mountains, including Chase Mountain, Oak Hill and Bald Mountain.
Difficulty: Easy. The trail leading to the viewpoint on the open rock is less than 0.1 mile long. It’s crisscrossed with exposed tree roots, so watch your step. Exercise caution while walking along the ledges. The rock can be slippery when wet.
How to get there: From the intersection of Route 1A and Route 46 in Holden (where G&M Family Market is located), drive southeast on Route 1A (away from Bangor) for 3 miles, then turn left onto Sunset Road. This is just past the driveway to the Lucerne Inn, which will be on your right. Follow Sunset Road for about 0.7 mile as it winds uphill past several houses. When you come to the end of the road, park in the small gravel turnaround. Be sure not to block any driveways. A short hiking trail starts at the road and leads to Sunset Rock.
It can be confusing driving up Sunset Road because residential streets and driveways branch off of it. About 0.1 mile from Route 1A, where Sunset Road intersects Larkspur Road, veer left. At 0.2 mile, at the intersection with Orpine Road, turn left. And at 0.4 mile, where two roads branch off Sunset Road, continue straight.
For more of Aislinn Sarnacki’s adventures, visit bangordailynews.com/act-out. Follow Aislinn Sarnacki on Twitter @1minhikegirl and Instagram @actoutdoors. Her guidebooks “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine,” “Maine Hikes Off the Beaten Path” and “Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine” are available at local bookstores and wherever books are sold.