Whaleback Shell Midden State Historic Site


Length: 1/3 mile


  • easy

Permitted Use:

Whaleback is an 11 acre property owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and operated cooperatively with Coastal Rivers.

Managing organizations: Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust/Partner Owned


The site once contained a massive oyster shell heap or midden formed over a period of more than 1,000 years by Native Americans. The shells were processed for chicken feed in the late 1800’s, leaving behind just a fraction of the original mounds. Interpretive storyboards relate the history of the middens, their accumulation and destruction, and also share stories of the Upper Damariscotta River.

A swinging bench by the shore affords an ideal view of one of the largest intact middens on the east coast, the Glidden Midden, just across the river. A small loop trail through an historic orchard, once part of the Round Top Farm, provides access to all of these points of interest, and the short overlook path from the parking lot is handicapped accessible.

In addition, the accessible Rhoda and Lee Cohen River Trail allows access to Round Top Farm. This trail is 8′ wide, gently graded and finished with stone dust, ideal for strollers, bikes and wheelchairs as well as for those on foot.

Directions to Trailhead:

Less than a mile and a half north of downtown Damariscotta along Main Street (Business Route 1) opposite the Great Salt Bay School. From McDonald’s, at the junction of Biscay Road and Main Street, proceed north exactly 0.3 miles, passing Round Top Farm on the way.

Preserve Guidelines:

Please click here for guidelines to this preserve.

>> Download a printable version of the preserve map here.

map of Whaleback Shell Midden State Historic Site and Round Top Farm