Posted on June 1, 2015 and last updated on August 16, 2017

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. My caveat with this place is there are no good maps at the kiosk that can help you navigate the twists, turns and intersections. So, make sure you have a good internal compass! There are, however, some sign posts along the way.

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 can’t park at the trailhead on Westbrook Street, I am pretty sure.


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