Peltoma Woods, Pittsfield

While the trail section that follows the river a short distance is quite pleasant for walking, many of the other trails here appear to be designed for mountain biking. So walking them as they circle and sweep about in a kind of crazy way can be a bit dizzying.

Also, as far as orienting yourself and remaining undizzy, the trail blazes are only intermittent and I found that the map at the trailhead wasn’t terribly helpful (it kind of guiltily admits this, too). I recommend following the river trail and doing a loop around the perimeter of the preserve.

The land here was once the Town Farm Property, and before that, the area was used by Native Americans. You can still see a rock weir in the river used to trap fish. I believe it is one the oldest known weirs in North America, more than 7,000 years old.

There is tons of good information on the trailhead kiosk, including info about the weir, a story about Peltoma— a Native American unlucky in love—and Moses Martin, the town’s first homesteader. You can visit the site of his home, which was a simple cabin before he built a fancier framed house in 1818. The site, accessible via a snowmobile path, is marked by a memorial plaque that was, when I visited, being gracefully overtaken by vegetation.

Directions: From Main Street, turn onto Peltoma Ave. Drive 1.1 miles. You’ll see a small parking area on the left. Park by the trailhead kiosk, on the right of the parking area. Take a minute to read some of the wonderful info on it!

Long Mountain Trail, Albany

When I first walked this trail, the snow pack was still deep, so I didn’t see much of the stream that the trail follows for much of the way up. But I hear Mill Brook is beautiful in the summer, with cascades and pools. The hike (which is worth visiting year-round) offers a gradual uphill—with intermittent steeper sections—and brings you to a fantastic vista of the peaks of Western Maine and New Hampshire. The trail is approximately 2.25 miles one way.

Since I posted this write-up, trail manager Bruce Barrett has built a new section of the Long Mountain Trail that makes a 3.75-mile loop starting at the 0.9-mile point of the original trail. I’ll add it to my Google map as soon as I can!

The trail is part of a 12,268-acre conservation easement on privately owned land; please be respectful and leave no trace. Campfires, camping, and hunting are all prohibited.

At the base of the mountain, there is a mountain bike trail on Bacon Hill. Dogs and hikers should stick to the Long Mountain trail for safety reasons.

Directions: From Bethel Village, go south on Vernon Street for six miles. After passing Sumner Bean Road on the left, you’ll see a lefthand turn for the trailhead and parking area, marked with a trail sign. At the first trailhead marker, head left.

Riverside Greenway, Lewiston

This is a great paved path that runs along the Androscoggin River and past a cemetery. You can see a good map here, with suggestions on linking this trail to other nearby trails. You can also walk along an unpaved and un-blazed trail in the neighboring Sunnyside Park, which continues a little ways along the river.

Directions: You can pick up one end of the path from Tall Pines Drive, where the road makes a sharp curve. I think it’s okay to park alongside the quiet street here, as long as you heed the parking signs. Or you can park at trailhead near Sunnyside Park, at the intersection of Winter and Whipple Street.

University of Southern Maine Trails, Gorham

Behind the Gorham USM campus is a web of trails — some of them winding single track for mountain bikers, others wider and nicer for walking. It is very easy to get turned around and disoriented in here! The trails are mostly unmarked, and there are many of them. It’s helpful to use the large field and the pond (close to the athletic fields) as landmarks, which you can spot on the Google map here.

I parked off of School Street (Route 114) at a little pump house, where there’s room for a couple of cars. I’m not sure what the parking situation is on campus, but there are a couple of access points to the trails from campus, behind the USM police station on Husky Drive.

Directions: There are several access points to these trails. Parking seems to be okay off Route 114, next to a little pump house, across the street from Falcon Crest Drive. You can also pick up the trails behind the USM police station on campus, and possibly at the end of Lovers Lane (both ends). I’m not sure what the deal is with parking at these other points.

Sipayik Trail, Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point Reservation

This is a paved, easy, and delightful 2-mile trail (one way) with some really gorgeous sections. I recommend, if you can, following two unmarked side trails that are not paved. The first on your right from the parking lot off Treatment Plant Road takes you to a bluff with breathtaking views. The second one, a little farther on to your right, leads through a little woods to a secluded cove with a reddish-purplish beach. The paved section of the walk ends at Route 1, but a snowmobile track continues on the other side of the street. I wonder if that snowmobile path eventually hooks up to the Downeast Sunrise Trail? Looks like it from Google maps.

Directions: From the intersection of Route 1 and Route 190 in Perry, follow Route 190 for 1.4 miles before turning left onto Indian Road. In another .4 miles turn left onto Side Road. Follow Side Road as it bears left, and where Side Road ends at its intersection with Bayview and Treatment Plant Roads, take Treatment Plant Road on the left. Follow the road to the end, a parking lot for the trailhead.

Indian Cellar Preserve, Hollis

This is a lovely 81-acre preserve by the Saco River, with great walking trails. All together, there are about 3 miles of trails here, as well as some swimming spots. There is a promontory with a great vista of the Saco River and a little picnic table. This preserve seems to be less trammeled than its neighbor across the river — Pleasant Point Park — and also somewhat popular with mountain bikers. The perimeter trail, which is about 1.6 miles or so, is very well blazed. The interior trails are less well marked and seemingly less used. 

There is also more information about the site at the Trust for Public Land.

Directions: If you’re coming from Route 202 east, you will turn left after crossing the bridge over the Saco River from Buxton. Take a left onto Old Alfred Road, and the parking lot is immediately on your left. You’ll see a sign for the preserve, and some stone steps.

Little Ossipee River Trail (and the Limington, Hollis and Waterboro Sanctuary and Killick Pond WMA), Limington

(Footpaths in blue, wider ATV tracks in orange.)

The Little Ossipee River Tract, Limington, Hollis, and Waterboro Sanctuary, and Killick Pond state wildlife refuge (or Maynard Marsh WMA) includes over 2,200 acres — which includes a sizable stretch along the pretty river. Parts of the river are languid, parts have rapids. There are some popular fishing spots near here.

There are a few little footpaths (marked in blue on my map) that follow the river. At the north section, you can make a loop by following the fairly pleasant ATV trails (marked in orange) back to the trailhead (if you don’t mind four-wheelers zooming by occasionally).

When I walked this trail, I found an obvious trailhead (for the most northern trails of this preserve) on the side of Hardscrabble Road right after the bridge, and across from Chase Mills Road. The path is not marked but very easy to follow — and it mostly sticks close to the river, except when the riverside areas get too wet or the banks too steep. Then you have to scramble up this tall banks (and the pitch is very steep in places, with loose soil and rocks).

The path meanders by the river for about three miles before turning in and joining an ATV path. You’ll see a couple of old cemeteries. If you follow the snowmobile path to the right, it leads out onto Hardscrabble Road. If you go left, you can take the ATV track back to where you started. You can see on the google map a big sand pit popular with four-wheelers. Stick to the perimeter around the sand pit to keep on a walkable trail.

On the other side of the river, from the gravel Beaver Berry Road, you can make a loop on ATV trails if you walk back along the road, which isn’t heavily traveled. Make sure to check out a cool spot (a sign for “river, dead end”) will be at the junction. Follow this a short ways to what seems like a suitable place for a swim.

Finally, there are some nice wide ATV tracks on the southern side of Sand Pond Road. The pullover is very obvious, just before the bridge if you’re driving west along Sand Pond Road. You can also park at the junction of Sand Pond Road and Beaver Berry Road.

If you head off on these trails, you’ll go .2 miles, then hit a power line. Turn up the power line and look for the trail continuing into the woods on your right, less than .1 mile up. Then you’ll not hit another junction for about a mile, when you come to a four-way intersection. (You’ll pass “NO TRESPASSING, MILITARY INSTALLATION” signs on your way, however.) Once you get to the four-way intersection, to your left will be a track that leads to some scenic spots along Killick Pond, as well as to another entrance to the sanctuary off of Brick Tavern Road. If you go straight or right at this intersection, you’ll cross a little sand pit and head down a long stretch of track before finally coming out on a paved road (the other end of Hardscrabble, according to Google maps). Again, you’ll pass the military land and lots no trespassing signs. There are a few unmarked walking paths that meander along the pond — I’ve marked these in blue. I didn’t explore all of them when I visited last, so there are likely more than my map shows.

Directions: From Route 25 in Limington, turn on Hardscrabble Road. Go a little over .25 mile. Once you cross the bridge, you’ll see a small pullover by the road and the trail. You can also pick up trail heads from Sand Pond Road, close to the intersection with Beaver Berry Road. People tend to park near the bridge over the Little Ossipee River.

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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Shepard Farm’s Preserve and Witt Swamp, Norway

If there was a competition for best trail in Maine, this would be a contender! While there aren’t the dramatic views that other trails might have, the Western Foothills Land Trust has made an impressive forest path. The trail from Shepard’s Farm over to Pleasant Street (roughly 2.6 miles) was built with beginner mountain bikers in mind, I think. It is smooth, and wide, and pretty. I think you might even be able to get a wheelchair in here (although there are some rough patches). The land trust has also built a dedicated 1/2-mile ADA-accessible path.

The trail network linking Shepard Farm and Witt Swamp is not yet complete. A map at the Shepard’s Farm trailhead says two new trails will be complete by 2019. The main parking lot is on Crockett Ridge Road, although it looks like there’s a pullover space on Pleasant Street for a few cars.

Another delightful part of this preserve are the six Bernard Langlais sculptures that dot the mowed pastureland. I couldn’t see a dedicated trail through the fields in the spring of 2017, but it seems as if it’s okay to wander around, checking out the works.

Directions: From Route 118, turn onto Crockett Ridge Road. In about 1/2-mile, turn into the trailhead parking lot. It comes up a bit suddenly, and the sign was slightly difficult to see in the spring of 2017 when I visited.

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Bethel Pathway, Bethel

Bethel Pathway is orange; Valentine Farm trails and extension trail in blue

The paved portion of this town trail is just over a mile, and it’s really lovely and bucolic. Great for strollers, wheelchairs, and bikers, the trail follows the Androscoggin River.

There is an unpaved, gravel section after you cross Walkers Mill Road, where a gravel path follows the edge of a field — with bluebirds — and then comes to an end. And the gravel road extends now on the other side as well, to Valentine Farm. It follows North Road briefly before swinging in to edge the airport runway.

Directions: There are several places to pick up the trail. Probably the best place to park is at Davis Park, off of Route 26, just outside of town.

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Hallowell Reservoir, Hallowell

When I first visited this public park in 2017, I walked a lovely 1.5-mile loop (if you start at the street parking, on Town Farm Road) around the reservoir, following the access road to the Quarry Trail and back along the Wildflower Trail.

You can also make a longer walk if you continue on the wider snowmobile paths around the reservoir. The complete circle, starting from Town Farm Road, is about 3 miles. There are biking paths intersecting the main trails that look like they would be nice for walkers as well. I’ll try to get to them soon!

Additionally, you can continue your walk on the Kerns Hill Connector Trail, a very well made biking and walking path that brings you through birch forest and to Kerns Hill Road in about 1.0 mile (from the Junkyard Trail). As of fall 2021, there wasn’t an easy way to park on Kerns Hill Road, other than a small pull-in space big enough for one car.

The walking is easy and varied here. A wonderful place!

If you park at the Town Farm Road and walk in via the dirt access road, you’ll arrive at the reservoir in about 0.3 miles. There are a few picnic tables and a ball field. The swimming area is less a beach than a grassy area leading up the water’s edge. Still looks like an appealing spot for a swim, though.

The Wildflower Trail path—which is open only to foot traffic—can be accessed by going off to your left, a little ways before the reservoir. Or, if you arrive at the water’s edge, just walk around the pond on the right. You’ll start on the wider track and eventually will see the walking path on your left, on the other side of the pond.

More info here.

Directions: The parking lot is about 1,300 feet from the intersection of Town Farm Road and Winthrop Street, on the right. For those without resident permits, you must park outside the reservoir park, on Town Farm Road between May 15 and September 15. There’s room for about 15 cars or so here. For those who live in Hallowell, you can drive into the park and park by the water’s edge. This lot is open to everyone during the off season.

Sebago-to-the-Sea Trail

This walking and biking trail theoretically goes from Sebago Lake to Portland, but a chunk of it is not yet complete. So you have to ride along a few roads or walk on abandoned railroad beds.

But there is a wonderful system already in place, particularly close to Sebago Lake. There you can ride along a mostly paved path from the lake to Windham. The trail passes through some bucolic farmland, and is flat, easy, and quite pretty. It is wheelchair accessible.

The trail connects to some trail systems closer to Portland, as well. Check out the Sea to Sebago maps. I suspect over time, the trail system will grow and improve.

Here is more information about Section I and Section II of the trail.

Directions: So, you can catch the beginning of the paved trail at the Windham post office on Main Street. The trail doesn’t begin right from the parking lot; rather you head down the road about 40 feet, and you’ll see the paved trail heading west, toward Gorham and Sebago Lake. There is an unpaved section heading east, toward Portland, as well. This is gravel for 1.5 miles, and then becomes railroad track.

Or, you can pick up one end in Standish, at the Otter Ponds Adventure Camp ballfields and parking lot, off Route 35. Another possible starting point is Gambo Preserve in Gorham.

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Eastern Trail’s Off-Road Segments, South Portland to Kennebunk

It’s an incredible idea, a 3,000-mile “green trail” from Maine to Florida. While some of the 62-mile Eastern Trail is off road in Maine (from South Portland to Kittery), the majority is (right now) along roads, some of them busy roads. Nonetheless, you can do a cool walk or bike ride on an off-road, flat, easy, well-maintained gravel or paved trail that passes through South Portland, Scarborough, Saco, Biddeford and Kennebunk. It is wheelchair accessible. Go here for more information.

New sections of the trail are being constructed. The one I know about is a link-in-progress between the South Portland section (the excellent Greenbelt Walkway) and Scarborough segment.

The section of the trail that cross the Scarborough Marsh is beautiful, and so quite popular, and also great for bird watching. The portions between Kennebunk and Saco are bucolic and peaceful. I was really impressed with this trail, how nice, quiet, and pretty it is.

A few distances: From Scarborough’s Eastern Road trailhead, it is 8.4 miles one way to Thornton Academy. The off-road Kennebunk to Biddeford section is 6.1 miles. The Greenbelt section in South Portland is 5.6 miles.

I have also included on my map a short footpath on the 90-acre Clark Preserve, in Kennebunk. It’s marked in red, and it can be a bit overgrown.

Directions: You can pick up the trail anytime it crosses a road. But there are biggish lots at the Wainwright Sports Complex and Bug Light Park in South Portland, and on Eastern Road (off Black Point Road) in Scarborough. Also there’s a small parking lot on Pine Point Road. You can also park at Thornton Academy and Kennebunk Elementary School.

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Edwin L. Smith Preserve, Kennebunkport

Holy mountain bike trails. There are more than 10 miles of trails on this Kennebunkport Land Trust 1,100-acre preserve. The preserve also connects with an abandoned trolley line (but I don’t recommend walking or biking along it), and is very close to other Kennebunkport preserves and trails if you want to go and go. When I visited this preserve (springtime in 2016 and 2017), there were more mountain bikers than hikers. The trails are a mix of wide walking paths and narrow, twisty bike paths. The forest is pretty, with areas of large, lichen-covered rocks and boulders (“goose rocks?”and pitch pines). The trail system is well-marked.

Only experienced mountain bikers will have much fun on the white trail, the hardest in the preserve. The yellow trail is also at times difficult, though it is rated moderate. Walkers might want to plan to just do the shorter loops, closer to the trail head.

When I visited, I saw some unmarked trails that weren’t on the map that I didn’t follow. I suppose like many places they are mostly used by locals to access the preserve. And there was a new trail not yet included on the map.

Directions: The preserve is on Guinea Road, about .1 miles on left from Goose Rocks Road.

Eastern Prom and Back Cove, Portland

This is a classic — and very popular trail — in the city. And it’s really beautiful — especially the Eastern Prom section, especially during sunrises and sunsets. The whole Portland Trails path is either paved or packed gravel, and there is also a bike path alongside it in parts. The Back Cove section of the trail is about 3.6 miles, and every quarter mile is posted. The Eastern Prom section goes by the water treatment plant, which can be an experience, but then it takes you to the shore, expansive views of the bay, and to a little sandy beach on its way into the Old Port. It is wheelchair accessible.

Directions: There are two easy places to park to start your walk, one off Preble Street, opposite the Hannaford grocery store. The other place is on the Eastern Prom.

Check out more info and photos from Eastern Promenade and Back Cove Trail at Carefree Creative, a Maine-based web company that has helped us with our website!

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Sebago to the Sea, Section II, Otter Ponds Area, Standish

This 500-acre reserve offers a wonderful network of very well marked trails, about 13.5 all together, many of them groomed (by snowmobile, it seems) in the winter for nordic skiing. The little ponds are swimmable and stocked with trout.

This system connects to the long-distance Sebago to the Sea Trail and the Mountain Division Trail. I recommend you check out the lake-to-Windham section. Here’s more info from me.

You must fill out a permit to visit the land, but there is no fee. Dogs are allowed.

Directions: There are several places to park with kiosks. Each kiosk has permits and great trail maps. There is one off of Route 237, between Barstow Road and Route 35 (Chadbourne Road). There’s another off of Route 35, right before the train tracks. You can also pick up the trail at the Portland Water District offices at the intersections of Routes 237 and 35, or at the playing fields further up Route 35.

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