Fall 2020 update: The parking lot is at capacity each day and all times of day due to summer traffic and Covid-19 shifts in demand. Preserve users are trespassing by parking illegally or illegally idling/waiting despite all efforts at education and signage. Neighbors are appropriately towing trespassing cars. Please seek alternate destinations.
Owned and managed by the Royal River Conservation Trust, this 23-acre quiet coastal property in Yarmouth provides views of Casco Bay, rocky beaches, and stately red oaks that offer perches to bald eagles and great horned owls. Daytime visitors are welcome to walk the 1.3 mile loop trail along the road and the coast. Along the trail, you will find numerous scenic viewpoints, tide pools and ledges, and picnic tables. The trails are popular for trail running.
Map of Littlejohn Island Preserve – Downloadable PDF
The 1.3-mile loop trail is largely flat, wide, dry and well-maintained. The first part of the trail follows a plowed private gravel road. The parking lot is plowed in the winter.
The inside of the loop trail (avoiding spurs or outer loops which go closer to the shoreline) is relatively accessible for baby carriages, walkers, and the most rugged wheelchairs. (A new spur created in September 2020 allows a more accessible detour around primitive plank bridges). Accesssibility on all trails is limited by roots and rocks. Benches for resting are found occasionally; the preserve has no bathroom facilities.
Directions from Parking Area: The trail from the preserve’s parking lot at 180 Pemasong Lane begins by walking back onto Pemasong Lane from the parking lot, turning left walking along Pemasong Lane through the stone gates marked “Private.” After 2/10 mile walking on Pemasong Lane, the trail leaves the lane on the right, just before the end of the lane. All driveways off Pemasong Lane are private. Please do not walk or drive down any private driveways. (But please walk or bicycle through the primary road’s stone gates labeled “private”; do not drive through these gates.) Please refer to the map on this page for clarification.
Directions to the Parking Area: The preserve is in Yarmouth at the northeastern end of Littlejohn Island, toward the end of Pemasong Lane (GPS 180 Pemasong Lane). Please read the directions below carefully, since the island’s network of narrow roads can be unsafe when drivers take a wrong turn.
From Route 88 or Route 1 in Yarmouth, find your way to Gilman Road, to the bridge to Cousins Island. After the Cousins Island bridge, proceed one mile on Cousins Street. Turn left off Cousins Street onto Talbot Road, immediately after the Community House. Proceed on Talbot Road for less than half a mile, crossing onto the causeway onto Littlejohn Island. Once on Littlejohn Island, after just a few hundred feet, take the second left onto Littlejohn Road (it’s a loop, this left turn on Littlejohn Road departs from Littlejohn Road which also continues straight.) In another few hundred feet, turn left off Littlejohn Road onto Pemasong Lane. Follow Pemasong Lane (please strictly respect posted speed limit of 15 mph) roughly 4/10 mile until you reach Preserve signs and a Preserve parking area on the left at 180 Pemasong Lane, just before the stone gate with the “private” sign on it. Park in this area only.
Address for GPS: 180 Pemasong Lane, Yarmouth, ME
Parking rules are simple: four cars only. Only in the parking lot. Sunrise to sunset. Never on the shoulders. Never idling or waiting in your car. Never at the end of the lane. Parking is typically at capacity during both summer and winter weekends; please visit our other preserves, or plan to walk or bicycle from your home, or from head-of-island parking spots. This preserve is frequently at capacity, any time of day, any time of year, requiring visitors arriving by car to turn around and go elsewhere. The parking lot is strictly closed from dusk to dawn. Police take notice.
The preserve has only one small parking lot, just before the stone gate, limited to four cars. If the parking lot is full, as it often is, please return to the either end of either the Cousins or Littlejohn causeways for parking, or explore other beaches and preserves. Please never park, idle, or wait on any road shoulders, even those shoulders that are not signed for “no parking.” The Royal River Conservation Trust (RRCT) does not own the road or road shoulders, not even those mowed road shoulders that abut our preserve ownership or our preserve parking. RRCT does not invite, nor do road owners allow, any party to park or idle or wait on the road shoulders or the end of the lane.
Please be aware that neighbors have the authority to tow parking violators, consistent with their clearly-posted signs. If you find that you were towed, call the tow company and plan to make payments ($75 + cab fare) at your own expense.
- RRCT & You: RRCT relies heavily on volunteers and help from trail users like you. You may know more recent information about trail and Preserve conditions than we do – Please consider filling out a Conditions Report . We invite you to be a thoughtful steward by acting as a respectful visitor, adhering to posted rules, and following Leave No Trace practices. RRCT’s small staff and volunteer Trail Crew is able to inspect and maintain RRCT preserves infrequently; we ask you to report to us any issues you observe that you cannot address yourself, and especially to update us on any safety or public safety issues. Please help us on your visits with litter, pet waste, and minor trail issues. We also invite any information on needed or suggested updates to this webpage. Reach out in any way, most simply with an email to Stewardship@RRCT.org.
- Spring mud season postings: the entirety of Pemasong Lane and the preserve parking lot is typically closed to all preserve vehicle traffic during mud season (parts of February, March or April) to protect the condition of the road. Please respect seasonal postings.
- Hunting: While the preserve is closed to hunting, preserve users might encounter hunters on abutting private lands, or duck hunters in the intertidal zone. RRCT allows duck hunters to access the intertidal zone by crossing preserve land, though most arrive by boat. All hikers should wear orange during hunting season on all trails and parks.
This preserve is a day-use water-access picnic spot listed as part of the Maine Island Trail and the Royal River Water Trail. Maine Island Trail staff and volunteer stewards provide important assistance to the Royal River Conservation Trust as we manage the use and capacity of this treasured island. More information on the Royal River Water Trail is here.
There is no boat launching permitted or suitable. Access by water is welcome – we invite boats or paddlers to launch elsewhere and paddle to the property for daytime picnics, beaching on the property. Approaching from the water, all docks are private and off the preserve. The preserve offers only natural landing spots, beaches and ledges.
Littlejohn Island Preserve has a concentration of migrant birds and is also a site for the Morning Flight Phenomenon. You can also scan the water for Common Eiders, Black Guillemots, Ospreys and Bald Eagles. For more information visit: Best Birding in the Royal River watershed
Seventeen acres of the 23-acre preserve were protected in 1990 by a conservation easement with no guaranteed public access. In November of 2006, the entire 23 acres was acquired by the Royal River Conservation Trust to secure public access and open space. Stone stairs to the ocean were installed in 2012 and 2017, each time with the assistance of the Maine Conservation Corps. A new expanded parking lot was built in 2015 by neighbors and deeded to RRCT. Linear board walks were installed in 2011. Horizontal boardwalks were installed in 2016, to enhance accessibility for some stretches of the trail. A bronze interpretive panel identifying islands in the view from the point was installed in 2018.
Parking limitations are posted onsite, and strictly enforced. Please do not park, idle, or wait in your vehicle other than at four designated locations.
All users of the preserve should respect property boundaries, with courtesies to island residents and neighbors, and pets under control and off private property.
Dogs are welcome on leash when on the road (the lane) and on leash or voice control always, with strict attention to waste removal. Please do not allow dogs to chase wildlife or waterfowl. Please help us educate all pet owners toward a good community culture as you meet on the path. Please carry out all waste, especially pet waste, including waste left by those before you. Pet waste has very real impacts on clam flats and water quality in Casco Bay. We do in fact notice with regret the poop bags tossed into the woods; we appreciate pet owners who work to create a culture of responsibility.
Bicycles are not allowed on the trails, but are allowed on Pemasong Lane and Pemasong Lane Extension. Bike parking is at the waystation, where the trail leaves the lane. Bikes are a great way to get to the preserve without worrying about vehicle parking.
While the preserve is closed to hunting, preserve users might encounter hunters on abutting private lands, or duck hunters in the intertidal zone. RRCT allows duck hunters to access the intertidal zone by crossing preserve land, though most arrive by boat. All hikers should wear orange during hunting season on all trails and parks.
- The preserve is open during daylight hours only. Police take notice.
- The way station (see map) is not a drop-off pick-up location. Please do not drive through the “private” gates to the way station for any reason.
- No smoking.
- No fires.
- No metal detectors.
- Please only access shoreline on established paths to reduce erosion.
- Please respect private property, private shorelines, and private trails.
- Due to high demand for parking, geo-cache installations or other promotions are prohibited.
- Please contact RRCT for specific permissions for commercial use, school and group use, or other unusual requests. School and group use is welcome with no permission provided compliance with parking rules.
- Spring mud season postings: the entirety of Pemasong Lane and the Preserve parking lot is typically closed to all Preserve vehicle traffic during mud season (parts of March or April) to protect the condition of the road. Please respect seasonal postings.
- Please report public safety observations to the Yarmouth Police Department (911) or to the Royal River Conservation Trust (207) 847-9399 | info@RRCT.org
- Your comments, observations, and suggestions are helpful to maintain strong relationships and best-possible land stewardship. Please contact the Royal River Conservation Trust for any reason.