Named for the railroad line it parallels, the Mountain Division Trail will one day span 52 miles between Fryeburg and Portland. Two sections of the trail are currently open. A 6-mile segment between Standish and South Windham provides a gently rolling excursion in the rural Sebago Lake watershed area, northwest of Portland. The second leg, in Fryeburg, begins not far from the Maine–New Hampshire border and travels approximately 4 miles along the railroad right-of-way.
Technically, the Mountain Division Trail is a rail-with-trail, although the rail is no longer active. Narrow in places with steep embankments, the roller-coaster trail sometimes runs level with the tracks and sometimes dips below. The soothing aroma of balsam fir permeates the air, especially near the Presumpscot River.
To access the longer southern segment, start from the western trailhead at Johnson Field in Standish. Pause at the trailhead kiosk to fill out a registration form for use of the parkland within the watershed. From the large parking area, you'll follow a dirt road, which sees summer traffic of YMCA campers. The road undulates past stands of mixed conifer and deciduous trees for about 0.5 mile before reaching the trail.
The trail has a 1-mile gravel section that links Johnson Field on State Route 35 in Standish and a paved connector loop over the Gambo Bridge through Shaw Park in Gorham and back to the Mountain Division Trail.
A 5-mile unimproved section between US 202 in South Windham and Bridge Street in Westbrook is owned by Maine DOT, and may be open for use by mountain bikers and hikers. Because the corridor continues to be improved for potential rail service and a future extension to the trail, it is possible that this segment will be closed when you arrive. Be sure to follow the instructions and warnings on any posted signs.
To access the shorter northern segment, start from the Maine State Visitor Information Center. The paved trail follows a mostly tree-lined route and ends near the small regional airport and the Brownfield town line.
The southern segment of the Mountain Division Trail is also a component of the Sebago to the Sea Trail, which connects Sebago Lake and Casco Bay via a walking and paddling route.
To reach the trailhead at Johnson Field in Standish, take SR 35 to its intersection with SR 114. The parking area is on SR 35, 0.25 mile east of the intersection. In South Windham, you can park at the Post Office on US 202.
In Fryeburg, you can park at the Maine State Visitor Information Center on US 302 (97 Main Street).