South Portland Pathway (Eastern Trail)

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

An exemplary urban transportation corridor, the 5.7-mile South Portland Parkway (2.1 miles of which are rail-trail) makes an excellent starting point for a bike tour of Portland. 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.

Small bollards and yellow street signs mark the route and indicate the distance to other parts of town. The pathway—also known as the South Portland Greenbelt—links residential areas, schools (both elementary and collegiate), marinas, parks, rec centers, assisted-living facilities and retail hubs. The Pathway also forms the northern end of Maine's Eastern Trail Scarborough – Saco segment and Kennebunk – Biddeford segment.

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.

Marking the end of the rail-trail portion is the 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.

Parking and Trail Access

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.

Reviews

Great trail with a great ending

   September, 2014 by keithmalcolmmonk

This is an excellent trail with a great variety of environments from the large public sports fields and playgrounds at the southern end, then some woods, pleasant neighborhoods, public parks, marshy areas, along the Fore river, and then finally ending ...read more

Hidden right in front of us

   June, 2014 by baklik

After living in Maine for 6 years we just discovered this trail. It's easy to find parking at the trail head (Bug Light). We were amazed by how scenic it is right in town. Views of the coast, tree cover and rolling hills on either side of the closed landfill ...read more