Maine’s Eastern Trail will eventually extend from Casco Bay in South Portland to the Piscataqua River in Kittery, partially along the former Eastern Railroad. Three off-road segments of the trail are currently open with on-road bicycling routes available between them for a continuous riding experience. The Eastern Trail is part of the growing East Coast Greenway, a 2,900-mile trail network from Maine to Florida.
Beginning at the South Portland end, a 5.7-mile section of the trail offers a pleasant urban ride. Small bollards and yellow street signs mark the route and indicate the distance to other parts of town. The pathway links residential areas, schools (both elementary and collegiate), marinas, parks, recreation centers, assisted-living facilities, and retail hubs.
The trailhead at Bug Light Park offers easy access and plenty of free parking, and it connects to Portland’s extensive network of walking and bicycling trails. Named for the watchful lighthouse at the tip of the breakwater, Bug Light Park was once home to the Portland Shipyard, which produced hundreds of Liberty Ships, the workhorses of the US Navy during World War II. The park opened in 1989, thanks to public contributions and support from the South Portland–Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club. Here, you can watch for passing sailboats, tankers off-loading oil bound for Montreal and arriving ferries from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
As you continue your journey, you’ll pass Casco Bay Bridge, which curls across the Fore River, connecting the neighborhoods of South Portland with downtown’s sophisticated shops and eateries. A walkway spans the bridge, affording views of the bay and city skyline.
After a gap, the next portion of off-road trail begins farther south in Scarborough and ends, 8.4 miles later, in Saco. A highlight of the route is passage through Scarborough Marsh, home to many species of birds and other wildlife.
The southernmost section of the Eastern Trail picks up in Biddeford and runs 6 miles to Kennebunk. The route offers a flat, easy route with a crushed stone surface.
You can access the Eastern Trail in numerous places along its route, from north to south:
South Portland section: To reach Bug Light Park from Portland, take Interstate 295 to Exit 6A and follow State Route 77 across the Casco Bay Bridge. Continue straight (don't follow Route 77) on Broadway to the T-junction, turn left on Breakwater Drive, then right on Madison Street. Follow signs for the lighthouse to the parking lot.
Scarborough-to-Saco section: Parking is available at the Audubon Nature Center, 0.25 mile west of the trail on Pine Point Road. Additional parking is available at Blue Point Road, Black Point Road, the end of Spring Hill Road and Clark Street.
Biddeford-to-Kennbunk section: Parking is available at Kennebunk Elementary School (177 Alewive Road) and behind the hospital off W. Cole Road.