Kennebec River Rail Trail, in Gardiner, Hallowell, Augusta, and Farmingdale

Blue trail is the Kennebec Rail Trail; the short green trail on the other side of the river is the Greenway Trail.

This is a really great rails-to-trails project — it’s beautiful, and much of it is quiet and pastoral-feeling despite being in a fairly commercial area and near a busy road. It’s a splendid paved walk, almost 7 miles in total between Gardiner and Augusta. Throughout you have views of the wide Kennebec River. It is also popular with joggers, dog walkers, and parents with strollers, although it rarely feels crowded. If you would like to do the whole thing, you can stop in Hallowell—a red-brick old town—for a snack or coffee. There is also a playground at the YMCA if you want to give kids a break to swing. Gardiner has a lovely downtown as well, for those who are not familiar with it.

In addition, you can cross the Bridge Street bridge, at the north end of the trail, and walk down the unpaved but still wheelchair accessible Augusta Greenway Trail. This portion is roughly 1 mile long. It passes a historic fort and an old arsenal, and is scenic and more pastoral than the other side.

If you don’t have time to do the whole thing, I particularly enjoyed the trail section between Hallowell and Farmingdale.

Note: for those biking or walking with kids, this trail is absolutely great. The small section in-town in Hallowell, however, can be a bit harrowing because of the traffic. It’s possible to ride or walk behind the buildings on the river side of Hallowell, on a private dirt driveway, or go off the main road onto one of the side roads that run parallel to the river. And it is wheelchair accessible, of course. 

Distances: From the end in Augusta to Hallowell, it’s about 2.4 miles. The section through town is a little over half a mile. From the trail start in Hallowell to Gardiner, it’s about 4.2 miles.

Directions: From the traffic circle in Augusta, take the exit for US 201/Western Ave./SR 17. Then turn left on Swan, right on Grove, then another right into the Maine State Housing Authority parking lot. To reach the second access point, turn onto Union Street just south of Capitol Park and turn right into the parking lots for the ball fields at Capital Park, near the YMCA. In Hallowell, park along Water Street/US 201 near Front Street. In Gardiner, park at the trailhead where Church Street and Maine Avenue meet.

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