QUICK TRAIL FACTS
- Preserve Size: On 3,162-acre former Navy base
- Trail Mileage: Many miles
- Pets: yes
- Difficulty: easy
- Sights: remnants of base, streams, little pond, playgrounds, fields
Wheelchair-accessible paved and dirt roads in blue; walking and biking paths in olive green. This map includes Kate Furbish Preserve and Neptune Woods.
Since the Navy moved out in 2009 and the base was formally decommissioned two years later, the 3,200-acre area has gradually been opened for civilian use. Barbed wire fences have been clipped, trails have been opened, and businesses have moved into industrial space. Snowy owls have been spotted in the winter. The airplane runway is still open.
Within the base, there are three major trail systems: Kate Furbish Preserve, in the southern portion; Neptune Woods in the northeast corner; and an expansive trail system that includes paved roads, dirt lanes, and walking and bike trails on the western side. This western section encompasses Bowdoin’s land and its large solar array.
In this section, on the western border of the old base, the paved road that does not run near the busy Bath Road is the nicest leg. It is also paved in the winter! You can find some wide, flat dirt roads here, too, that branch off of the paved road to the west. Additionally, there is a footpath that runs along the airstrip fence.
If you continue your walk south of the solar array, you’ll find cracked paved roads with weeds growing through them and dirt roads. Look out for the bike paths that wind around in this section. As of April 2023, most were not marked but they were easy to follow and well maintained. These bike paths seems to shift and morph all the time!
Neptune Woods: The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) has developed some very squiggly mountain bike trails in this 64-acre preserve, on the east side of the preserve. The easy, winding trails here interlace with older dirt roads, but the land trust has blazed them all well, as well as posted maps at what would have been confusing intersections.
In addition, the BTLA is developing beautiful trails at the Kate Furbish Preserve. You can find the best of these trails off Ordinance Road, which leads you through a neighborhood of old military bunkers. (We know where Brunswick townspeople will be headed when the nuclear winter arrives!) The long perimeter trail at Kate Furbish East is groomed for skiing. It is also nice for walking when there is no snow. If you do this 3.5-mile loop clockwise, you begin on an old Navy road that passes through a meadow and to the tip of a small pond. (You have to walk through holes in old metal fencing and pass by warnings of the munitions items you might still find on the land. ) At the end of the meadow, the path turns sharply right to enter the woods. The road follows the southern end of the preserve before arriving at the shores of Harpswell Cove. The walking is very easy on this section, wide and clear, with some rolling hills. The last winding leg of the path, along the cove and marsh, is beautiful, but the walking is slightly more difficult, with more roots and a few deep gullies.
Directions: To access the upper-west segment of trails, take Pine Street from Bath Road, and drive to the end of the street. Park where the road curves. You’ll see the paved trails ahead. To reach Neptune Woods, make your way to Neptune Drive, off of Forrestal Drive, and when the road makes a sharp turn, look for the kiosk and small parking lot across the street from a housing development. Kate Furbish Preserve East trailheads are at the end of Ordinance Road. To access Kate Furbish West and the bike paths just to the north, park at the large parking area on Merriconeag Road. It’ll be on your left soon after turning onto Merriconeag Road from Route 123. Additionally, if you want to walk along the wheelchair-accessible roads on the western section of the old base, you can park in a large pullover near a tall, locked gate on Route 123, about a quarter mile past the parking area for the Town Commons. The pedestrian access is to the right of the gate. Note: the access point was not wheelchair accessible as of April 2023.