Sometimes, we just want to get outside and walk forever. For those times, here are a few longer trails, many in midcoast Maine. This list is roughly alphabetical (based on first town mentioned).
Androscoggin Riverlands State Park, Auburn and Turner — The walk from one end to the other of this state park is almost 10 miles, and you can make lots of loops in the interior.
River-Link Trail, Boothbay, Edgecomb, New Castle — The connecting trail is about 7 miles, linking Dodge Point Preserve in New Castle with the very large Schmid Preserve in Edgecomb and Zak Preserve in Boothbay.
Georges Highland Path (Pleasant, Spruce, Ragged and Bald mountains), Camden, Rockport, Union. This is a WONDERFUL long trail on a section of the 50-mile Georges Highland Path. Additional trails off Ragged Mountain, the Goose River Area trails, appeal to mountain bikers.
Bold Coast, Cutler. All told, nine miles of hiking. I highly recommend camping at one of the little campsite bluffs overlooking the sea.
Cross-Falmouth Trail, Falmouth, Cumberland, Westbrook, North Yarmouth — There are several linked trail systems (maybe more to come, too): Blackstrap Hill Preserve, Rines Forest, North Falmouth Community Forest, Falmouth Town Forest, Falmouth Community Park, and Hadlock Forest, all in Falmouth, and Rines Forest in Cumberland.
East Freeport Trails, Freeport, I calculated more than nine miles of connected trails through adjacent preserves (with only a quarter mile or so on quiet country roads). This network takes you through woods, forest wetlands, by farming fields, and along a sylvan brook.
West Branch Preserve, Jefferson — About seven miles of trails.
Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson— You can get a long walk or ski in here because there are so many (groomed in winter) trails!
Emmons Preserve, Tyler Brook Preserve, and Cape Porpoise Greenbelt, Kennebunkport — These three linked preserves (which are near to another big one, Edwin Smith Preserve), are popular with mountain bikers.
Edwin L. Smith Preserve, Kennebunkport — This is an unusual trail system because it offers more than 10 miles of trails and long loops. The preserve is popular with mountain bikers.
Ducktrap River Preserve and Tanglewood Trails, Lincolnville. With the help of some snowmobile trails, you can make an enormous trek here, roughly tracing the Ducktrap River. I haven’t finished exploring, but more snowmobile trails head off toward Camden State Park.
Heald and Bradly Ponds Reserve, Lovell — A lot is packed into this 800-acre preserve: three little hills, two ponds, wetlands, and even a wheelchair-accessible trail. You can do a short walk or a long one.
Whitten Hill, Bog Brook, and Northrn Headwaters Preserves, Montville — Together, these preserves offer many mils of trails. They also link up to the 47-mile Hills to Sea Trail, and to the Georges Highland Path (see below).
Georges Highland Path (Frye and Hogback mountains), Montville, Another good one. Will all these Georges trails link up one day?
- Georges Highland Path (Thomaston Town Forest and Oyster River Bog), Thomaston, Go and go! A pretty ridge section on the southern part of the Oyster Bog trail was my highlight of this section.
- Georges Highland Path, Ridge to River trail from Gibson preserve to Appleton Preserve, Searsmont, Appleton, A flattish trail (with one mild ascent) that passes some historical sites along the Canal Path.
Center Pond/McKay Farm Preserves, Phippsburg—There are at least two beaver ponds, a large pond (Center), and more than 9 miles of pretty trails at these connected preserves.
Ridgewell, Duley Farm, LeMont, and Morse River Marsh preserves, Phippsburg—The trails extend for several miles north and south, allowing you to spend many hours exploring this undeveloped forest. Much to see. Very pretty.
Sprague Pond and Basin Trails, Phippsburg— This is a huge and lovely place to explore, with several trails linked by a dirt road.
Bradbury Mountain State Park-Pineland Corridor, Pownal and New Gloucester — You can walk the trails at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, then head out through the Corridor trail, down the power lines to the trails at Pineland Public Reserved Lands and then over to the well-maintained trails of Pineland Farms in New Gloucester.
Eastern Trail, South Portland to Kennbunk — Despite being in a busy, built-up section of Maine, this long trail offers glorious stretches of off-road, quiet, easy, gravel trails between South Portland and Kennbunk. But you do have to ride along some roads in part. Eventually, it’ll all be connected, I believe, or that is the goal.
Sea to Sebago Trail, South Portland to Kennebunk— This is a trail in the making, but parts of it, particularly from Standish to Gorham, are wonderful. From Sebago Lake to Windham, you can ride or walk along a mostly paved trail by pretty countryside.
Speckled Mountain, White Mountain National Forest — With the many trails up and down this nearly 3,000-foot mountain, you can create a long, hard hike. Two cars make this easier.
West Side Trail, Yarmouth — This trail begins by Rt. 295 and continues all the way to Cousins Island and is gradually being extended.
York and Kittery Water District lands, Mt. Agamenticus Conservation Region,and Highland/Smelt Brook Preserve, York — This area contains several tracts of abutting public lands, with lots of trails, both multi-use and footpaths. In the water district lands, there are a few footpaths that lace through the pretty, pond-speckled area. The Folly Pond loop, starting and ending at Mountain Road, is about five miles. Mt. Agamenticus has many more miles of trails.
Norton Preserve, Fuller Forest, and Lafcadio’s Woods, York — You can go for a longish walk through the woods on these three connected preserves—two in York, the third in Kittery. They include marshes, vernal pools, and small ponds. In total, the York Land Trust says 1,300 acres have been protected in this area, a block of unfragmented habitat that is critical to the survival of many species.
Hills to Sea — If you’re so inclined, you can walk 47 miles from Unity to Belfast. The highlights of this well-maintained trail are Hogback and Frye Mountains, about half way in between.