Posted on June 1, 2015 and last updated on October 04, 2022

Fore River Sanctuary, Portland


  • Preserve Size: 85 acres
  • Trail Mileage: ~4.5 miles in network
  • Pets: yes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Sights: Jewell Falls, former Cumberland and Oxford Canal, salt and freshwater marsh

This is a beautiful 85-acre oasis in the city and quite popular with walkers, runners and bird watchers. If you start on Congress Street, you begin by walking along a former canal, a lowland area with salt and freshwater. The path, in the springtime, is lined with grasses, wildflowers and shrubs; butterflies and birds fly overhead. From this lovely start, you head into the woods and eventually to Jewell Falls, Portland’s only natural waterfall. You can do a fairly extensive walk here, if you carry on all the way to Westbrook Street and back and do the loops in the woods. It’s about one mile from the parking lot on Congress Street to Jewell Falls. 

Directions: To enter at south end of the sanctuary, park in the Maine Orthopedics lot at 1601 Congress Street, using their Frost Street entrance. From the corner of Frost and Congress Streets, follow the Congress Street sidewalk to the trailhead about 450 feet to the west. A Portland Trails sign to the right of the sidewalk marks the trail. To enter the north end of the sanctuary, take Brighton Avenue to Rowe Avenue or Hillcrest Avenue and park at the end of the streets. You also can park at the trailhead on Westbrook Street, on the other side of the street across from the trailhead. It is clearly marked.

One comment to “Fore River Sanctuary, Portland”
One comment to “Fore River Sanctuary, Portland”
  1. Hello –

    I am the Trail Steward for Portland Trails for the trails at the Fore Rive Sanctuary, and I would like to offer one correction to this entry. You actually CAN park at the trailhead on Westbrook Street, but the parking area is just on the other side of Westbrook Street across from the trailhead, and it is pretty clearly marked.

    Great job on this website! Thanks!

    Michael Catania

Let me know if you have any trail updates or corrections!