Eastern Promenade Trail


Eastern Promenade Trail Facts

States: Maine
Counties: Cumberland
Length: 2.1 miles
Trail end points: Franklin St. and Sewage Plant Rd. at I-295 (Portland)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016088
Trail activites: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Eastern Promenade Trail Description

Portland is Maine's largest city, and the Eastern Promenade Trail along Casco Bay offers an ideal introduction to this coastal town and its trail network. The "East Prom" begins in Old Port, a charming waterfront district with cobblestone streets and working piers. A massive brick foundry that once turned out steam engines now houses the trailside Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum. Outside, cheerfully restored narrow gauge train cars—including a bright red Ocean Spray boxcar—stand ready for service. For a nostalgic lark, take an out-and-back excursion on the slender railcars (narrow gauge rails stand just 2 feet apart). You'll skirt most of the trail's route.

Take the side path up to Fort Allen Park to search for a battleship cannon, or stay on the trail and look southeast to spot Fort Gorges, which was armed and active during the Civil and Spanish–American wars. You'll reach the trail midpoint at East End Beach, where all-weather kayakers launch into the surf. From here, eponymous Eastern Promenade Park flanks the trail for a mile.

Near the north end of the park, the rail-trail detours from the rail corridor up a short hill. From its rise, scan the bay for the remains of an old swing bridge that extends 0.3 mile over the water. This majestic span was once part of the Grand Trunk Railway between Quebec and Maine. At the crest of the hill, just past the city's water-treatment plant and a colorful mural, the rail-trail nears its end. From here, you can backtrack to Old Port or continue along the Back Cove Loop Trail or Bayside Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the India Street trailhead, take I-295 to the Franklin Street Exit and follow it until it dead-ends at Commercial Street in Old Port. Turn left and drive to the end of the street. The trailhead is at the intersection of Commercial and India.

You can also park in Eastern Promenade Park off Cutter Street (three different lots). Restrooms are available at the East End boat launch.

Eastern Promenade Trail Reviews

We planned on doing this trail on our way home from Acadia. The trail was great! A couple hills but not bad. The surprise was there was another trail that went around Back Cove. This was a very scenic trail. There seemed to be more trails that branched off of this one. Was a very nice surprise!

This is just an excellent trail for many reasons. It's endpoints are Portland's Old Port on one end with its old buildings and great restaurants and shops, and the Back Cove Trail at the other end. The views of Portland Harbor and Casco Bay are beautiful. There are a few other short trails that climb the hill next to you, if you are on foot. There is an open grassy area with some neat public art. There are a number of spots that you can walk right to the edge of the water and then there is the small East End Beach. The surface is excellent. All in all one of the best trails out there and although it is short you can combine it with the Back Cove Trail or Bayside Trail for a decent length bike ride or even with the South Portland Greenbelt after going on road or sidewalk through the Old Port and then bike lane or sidewalk over the Casco Bay bridge.

Perfect relaxing ride with friends, kids and beginners will be fine.

You can ride on a trail from the bus station on Congress street, over the bridge, down Commercial St. (a bit of traffic here to worry about and road is not in great shape, but most of it is wide, 2 miles) then through the old port onto the paved path that runs along the water next to the narrow gauge rail. You follow along the harbor, great views of the islands and cooling breezes, up a hill past the sometimes stinky water treatment plant and back down (3 miles) where you can continue to circle around back bay (3 miles). This is a simple ride for a beginner or kids, just 2-3 hills to challenge you. The hardest one is near the water treatment facility. If your get tired just do not continue on to the loop around back bay.

This is a trail for cruising, not racing, as there are skaters and runner/walkers. Start and end where you want to alter the length.
Along the trail there is a boat/canoe rental facility if you want a break from biking. There is a Park/boat launch on the trail and Back Bay also has grassy areas for picnics.

Best parts of the ride; the views, the option of a great meal, bar hopping, or shopping, in the old port. Both Whole Foods and Trader Joes are easly accessable from Back Bay for a quick snack or picnic and they have bike racks to lock up. There are plenty of posts to lock to in the old port and racks at a park at the top of Exchange St. To date our bikes have been safe and in the day we often leave our lights etc in place.

Eastern Mt sports (open sunday) is located next to Trader Joes if you need emergency bike supplies. Also in the area is Back Bay Bicycle Forest Ave north of Hannaford and Cycle Mania (open sunday), Federal st & India, nearer the east end, Gorham bike, on Congress west downtown and Velociped (off commercial st-nearer west Old Port/bridge).

Remember you are on the water and the weather can be cooler than inland.

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