Thompson’s Point Fore River Trail, Portland

This is a delightful off-road urban trail, with bridges and river views, that begins (or ends) at Thompson’s Point. For those who don’t know it, Thompson’s Point is a development with restaurants, food trucks, breweries, museum(s), an indoor market, and an outdoor concert venue on a parklike point with benches—including one that swings.

The trail meanders along a little river nook and then parallels the train tracks before taking walkers across Hobart Street to a small riverside meadow. You can make a little loop on the roads before joining up with the trail again to return to Thompson’s Point. It’s definitely bike-able and I think sturdy wheelchairs would be okay along most of the trail.

Note: It looks like an older version of the trail once continued across Congress Street before linking up with the Fore River Sanctuary trail system, but I think it may have been discontinued?

Directions: The best way to reach the trailhead on Thompson’s Point is to take Thompson’s Point Road past the bus/train station. You can park on the side of the road before the concert venue. You should see a Portland Trails sign and map here.




Harrison Ave. Nature Trail, Gardiner

This is a short, wide trail (once a sewer access road) that is, in season of course, grassy and lined with wildflowers. Or, at least some of it is. It runs from 261 Harrison Avenue, goes past one dam, and ends at another dam — I think the Paper Mill Dam? — on the Cobboseecontee Stream. It is a good place to see cormorants, herons, and osprey. There are a few picnic tables set up. More info on the second page of the Kennebec Land Trust map, where this trail is called Cobbossee Stream Conservation Area. Like many areas near an urban area, it is not pristine, and I saw some litter. But it has a certain charm and it seems like a nice place to picnic.

Directions: From downtown Gardiner, take Route 126 west toward the the Route 95 turnpike. About one mile from downtown, you will cross the New Mills Bridge. Take an immediate right onto Harrison Avenue (you’ll see a street sign for Andrews Street — Harrison is to its right). Access to the preserve is marked well with several signs along Harrison Ave. The best place to park is on a little pullout before the park; the city has signed this area as official parking area.




Canco Woods, Portland

This is a small woods, with a few trails and a small wetland area. According to Portland Trails, this little park and other urban forest like it provide crucial habitat and travel corridors for birds and animals, and absorb and filter storm water. The trails link up adjacent neighborhoods.

Directions: The trail can be accessed from Canco Road, or trailheads at the end of Frye, Rosedale or Torrey Streets.

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Long Creek Trail, South Portland

The Long Creek Trail follows the Long Creek for about half a mile. It is a good trail for the people who live nearby. I parked behind The Opportunity Alliance, close to where I found some steps to the trail. The trail includes a short pier overlooking the creek.

Directions: Turn onto Westbrook Street from the junction of Westbrook Street and Western Avenue in South Portland. Go about 1/2 mile until you see the entrance to Brickhill on the right. Take this right, then follow the road all the way to its end, at a parking lot.

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Biddeford Riverwalk, Biddeford

Okay, this isn’t really a proper walk, it’s more a very short and pretty stroll after you’ve had a beer or snack downtown. The city has built a little sidewalk/park, with a footbridge, around this small section of the river. To cross the footbridge, you have to climb some stairs. Just beyond the footbridge, on the Saco side of the walk, if you continue past the bridge, you’ll find some nice benches. 

Directions: I recommend parking behind Run of the Mill Public House, which is in one of those huge converted brick mills. If you drive toward the river, you’ll see the pedestrian sidewalk and footbridge, and you can park nearby.

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Clark’s Pond Trails, South Portland

Instead of catching a matinee or going on a shopping spree, go for a walk! This South Portland Land Trust trail skirts the pond behind the mall. While parts of the walk don’t let you forget you’re in an urban setting (there is some litter, and a few of the stream beds had mud the color of red bricks when I was there — but maybe that is natural?), it is peaceful and fun to be in such a different world so close to a shopping mall. Retracing my steps, I did about 2.4 miles of walking here. According to Maine Trail Finder, one of the trails here is called the Red Brook Trail (so maybe the stream is naturally red!).

Also, there is another nearby trail called South Branch Trail, extending the network of walking paths.

Directions: If you are arriving by car, use the western (or second) entrance into the Home Depot lot after you’ve turned off of Gorham Road. You’ll see a kiosk and parking to the right of the building. If you head left, you’ll walk out on a small peninsula with benches. If you go right, you’ll walk about 1.1 miles to the end of the trail on busy Westbrook Street.




Westbrook River Walk, Westbrook

This is an urban paved walk, possibly to be taken after a meal at one of the downtown Westbrook restaurants. It is short, a little over a mile in one direction, and if you like to feed ducks, there seem to be quite a lot around! The trail is listed on Portland Trails. It is wheelchair accessible.

Directions: Parking is available in Riverbank Park off Main Street. – See more at: http://trails.org/our-trails/westbrook-river-walk/#sthash.FTrqKY1A.dpuf

http://trails.org/our-trails/presumpscot-trail-east-bridge-street/