Down East Sunrise Trail

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

The Down East Sunrise Trail is an 87-mile multi-use corridor connecting Ellsworth to Ayers Junction in eastern Maine. The trail is designed to accommodate hiking, thick-tire bicycles, ATVs, horses, cross-country skis, and snowmobiles.

The route roughly parallels the coast and the ocean is often visible, especially in Machias, which is right on the water. You’ll also enjoy views of Schoodic Mountain, salmon streams, and dense forests of birch and pine trees.

It follows the corridor of the former Maine Central Railroad, which transported goods, like lumber and blueberries, as well as passengers. The rail-trail was constructed in two phases with its first 85 miles opening in 2010. Its last two miles, between Hancock and Ellsworth, opened in 2016 and run parallel to an active railway. Less than a mile from its new westernmost endpoint, trail users can also pick up Ellsworth Rail Trail. The community is notable for being the gateway to Acadia National Park.

The rail-trail also plays a role in the multi-state developing East Coast Greenway network, which stretches from Maine to Florida.

Parking and Trail Access

On its western end, the trail can be accesses at the High Street Trailhead in Ellsworth. You can also access the trail from the many towns along its 87-mile distance.

For car-free options from Bangor, take Downeast Transit or West's Transportation buses to Ellsworth. West's buses continue nearly to the northern terminus of the trail in Pembroke. West's also makes loops and shuttles possible. The bus route parallels much of the trail, and buses make twice-daily runs on Route 1 and Route 1A.

Bicycles are permitted on West's Transportation and Concord Trailways buses, and on Amtrak's Downeaster with a reservation and a nominal service charge.


If you are not riding an ATV stay away

   September, 2016 by dovertrail

Was looking for a new "Rail" trail. Pulled into the parking area in Ellsworth, about 40 trucks with trailers. Very dusty with all the ATV traffic. I guess it is called the Sunrise Trail and not the Sunrise "Rail" trail. Everyone needs a place to ride more

Great trail

   June, 2016 by fdoug0

I rode from Ellsworth out 20 miles and back yesterday and it was a pleasure! I have a fairly new mountain bike and my only regret was that I did not put knobby tires on it because the loose gravel and sand sometimes posed a challenge. However, for the more


   April, 2016 by erinrobbins11

Great trail system use it all the time it's completely awesome atv read more