Monday, October 22, 2018

Lebanon: Gully Oven

Gully Oven Natural Area is a deep glacial ravine in the hills of northern Lebanon, Maine; and fun to explore. Immense rock formations show curved wear from moving water during glacial times. The highlight is a large shell-shaped rock enclosure, similar to The Basin in Franconia Notch, NH; but significantly less known and developed. You won't find tourists here - we had the place all to ourselves.

The marker is easy to miss.

The area consists of a roadside pulloff space with parking for several cars, remains of an old access road with a concrete cottage (?) foundation, an informational kiosk, and a stairway down to the ravine. There is a stream running through the ravine, so this area may be too wet to explore in spring.

Stairway to the ravine

Unlike The Basin, there are no off-limits or fenced areas. Explore to your heart's content. This would be a fun place for kids to do lots of climbing around. The entire area is quite steep, walking sticks are highly recommended. At the base of the stairs, it isn't obvious where to go. We turned right and found the entrance to the ravine.

Entering the ravine

The oven. Note Kathy beside it.

Lots of climbing opportunities.

Many old carvings in the rock.

Rocks show curved wear from moving water.

Getting there: 
  • From downtown Milton NH, cross the bridge into Lebanon ME. Left onto Champion St, Right onto Gully Oven Rd, approx. 1.2 miles on your right.
  • The location is not obvious. We drove by it twice before finding it. For a landmark, find the house/mailbox at 91 Gully Oven Rd. From the mailbox, the pulloff is within sight, on the opposite (west) side of the road. 
Cost: Free
Hours: No posted hours
Pets: No posted restrictions
Picnic potential: no tables
Rest rooms: none
Accessibility: none, stairs and steep trails

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