Eastern Trail


36 Reviews

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Eastern Trail Facts

States: Maine
Counties: Cumberland, York
Length: 28.8 miles
Trail end points: Bug Light Park (South Portland) and Warrens Way & SR 35 (Kennebunk)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016228

Eastern Trail Description


The Eastern Trail connects the historic towns along Maine’s southern coast from the woods near Kennebunk to South Portland’s harbor lighthouse.

About the Route 

The Eastern Trail follows off-road rail-trail and greenway interrupted by two major on-road gaps in Saco/Biddeford and Scarborough. The trail’s northern endpoint is at Bug Light Park (South Portland), a waterfront park with a lighthouse dating to 1875, and expansive views of tankers, sailboats, and the Portland skyline.  The northernmost 5.6 miles of trail, also co-named the South Portland Greenbelt Walkway, makes its way south from Bug Light Park along the Fore River and neighborhoods south of it. The trail passes through athletic fields at Wainwright Sports Complex before the trail takes on-road segments for 4.4 miles through Scarborough. 

After weaving through residential streets in Scarborough, primarily on Highland Avenue and Black Point Road, the trail resumes from the southwestern end of Eastern Road. The trail takes a southwestward straight-shot through Scarborough Marsh, a breathtaking expanse of saltwater wetlands that is Maine’s largest, at 3,100 acres. Marine birds are a frequent sight along nearly 2 miles of beautiful coastal trail.

The off-road, straight segment of rail trail continues for another 4 miles south of the wetland preserve, before reaching a bridge to cross Route 1. The overpass is 0.5 mile south of Funtown Splashtown USA, an amusement park. The trail continues to cross beneath I-195 at a cloverleaf junction. South of I-195, the trail resumes for about a mile before reaching the southern trail gap of on-road segments that take the trail into the dense adjoining town centers of Saco and Biddeford, with the Saco River as the dividing line. These on-road segments are well-marked, but caution around car traffic is always advised. 

Leaving downtown Biddeford, the on-road trail route heads west along Main Street, before curving southwards to make its way through the town’s suburban neighborhoods and commercial districts. The off-road trail resumes at Enterprise Drive and W Cole Road, and takes off heading southwest along the straight, flat trail, leaving behind suburban areas for thick forested stretches. 5.5 miles ahead, the trail crosses over I-95 and continues for another 0.5 miles before reaching it’s southern end.

The Eastern Trail comes to its southern endpoint at ME-35 & Warrens Way (Kennebunk). Parking is available nearby at Kennebunk Elementary School. The parking lot has its own a trailhead serving a short spur that joins the main trail 0.25 miles from its southern end. Two miles from the trail-end, the town center of Kennebunk features quaint, old New England architecture. Kennebunk Plains, where visitors can pick the blueberries after August 1, and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge also offer nearby outdoor recreation.


The Eastern Trail is part of the developing East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile route between Florida and Maine. 

Trail History 

A significant distance of the Eastern Trail uses the old Eastern Railroad route, chartered in the 1830s to run passenger and freight trains between Boston and Portland. Its rival, the Boston & Maine Railroad, leased the Eastern in 1884 and then bought it outright in 1900. Guilford Transportation, which became Pan Am Railways, purchased the Boston & Maine in the 1980s, and later discontinued use on many underperforming routes.

In the late 1990s, local bike and outdoor enthusiasts began organizing and advocating for the right-of-way to be developed into a rail-trail. With support from local authorities and the nonprofit East Coast Greenway Alliance, the first sections of the trail opened in the 2000s. As of 2024, expansion plans are underway to close the trail’s gaps and extend the trail another 19 miles southwest to Kittery. 

Parking and Trail Access

The Eastern Trail runs between Bug Light Park (South Portland) and ME-35 & Warrens Way (Kennebunk), with parking available at Bug Light Park.

The trail is accessible by rail at Saco Station, which is served by Amtrak’s Downeaster service between Portland and Boston. Local public transit agencies of the cities and towns along the route also provide access to the trail by bus.

Parking is also available: 

  • 18 Eastern Rd (Scarborough)
  • 17 W Cole Rd (Biddeford)
  • 177 Alewive Rd (Kennebunk)

There are numerous parking options along this route, see TrailLink Map for all parking options and detailed directions. 

Eastern Trail Reviews

Kennebunk to Biddeford

Nice section starting from the Kennebunk elementary school parking lot. The trail switches to road riding in Biddeford turn left when the trail ends and you’ll see a Dunkin Donuts. Can you say coffee and pee

Eastern Trail - Biddeford to Kennebunk

Imagine having a country estate in the woods of Maine and being afforded the opportunity for long, leisurely strolls down your own private lane. That's the feel of the Eastern Trail experience from Biddeford to Kennebunk.

I did it on a bike rather than on foot, but most of the friendly locals I encountered were walking or jogging to take advantage of the ideal weather and perfectly flat, smooth trail for a mid October afternoon outing.

Because of the natural trail surface and the spectacular fall color, I chose to take it nice and slow in order to savor my time there. I can't imagine doing this trail any other way since I found myself carefully peering into the woods on both sides taking in the sights.

My memories of this trail are of simplicity and peacefulness: a beaver pond here, a small creek winding through the woods there, the crossing of the Kennebunk River, a single track muddy path up to Alewive Road in Kennebunk after crossing over busy Highway 95, conversing with friendly local bicyclists, and of course the wooden rail fences lining much of the leaf carpeted trail through the gloriously colored woodlands.

nice trail

Flat, quiet, road crossings are few over the first 8 miles and well lit/marked. No portapotties, which is unreasonable. Lovely ride thru forest and wetlands.

Saco north to Scarborough leg

Plenty of parking at trailhead point off Clark St. in Saco. 8 miles one way to point where the on-rode portion begins in Scarborough. A few complex road crossings in first mile or so then only a few - and calmer - crossings remainder of ride. Scarborough Marsh area was worth the ride. Very even surface, light bike traffic and lots of shade.


Only Two Wheel Bikes

So I can only speak to the first 3 miles from the trail head in Kennebunk to mile 3. I ride a tadpole trike and found the obstacles at road crossings either just wide enough with caution to fit to one 3 mile in that I could not fit my trike at all. That means no trikes or wheel chair of any type and I would be very careful if you use a kid trailer. Overall it was a bad experience that did not need to be if the trailfiljs had put any real thought into it!!!

Scarborough to Saco

I rode this two weeks ago but forgot to review. Before going, I read the review by potterdunn from Oct 2021. Their review was awesome because it gave me the exact details I needed. I rode the Scarborough to Saco leg which is number 3 or lll in their review. There were some Sandy parts but I found them doable and I am not a sand rider! I will ride this section again before the end of summer!

Arundel section

We have used the kennebunk section (to the southern Maine medical center) often over the years. We just returned and someone put down an excessive amount of loose sand that frankly made a 1/2 mile stretch treacherous and I’m not sure what the point was of adding that much sand.

Great trail with some not so great sections

This is a difficult trail to assign a star rating to as parts of it are great and parts are not. It’s listed as a 29 mile trail but in reality it is split into 5 sections with 2 sections being on busy roads. I’ll break it down by section starting at the southern end in Kennebunk. I. 6-mile off-road section from Kennebunk to Biddeford - 5 stars. This is a great section featuring a well-maintained hard packed dirt trail through the woods. II. 5 mile on-road section through Biddeford and Saco - 2 stars. The first couple of miles are okay as you can ride on a sidewalk and residential streets. If you just do the first couple of miles combined with the first 6 mile off road section, it’s a nice 16 mile round trip. The issue is the next 2.5 miles is on busy roads through the congested areas of Biddeford and Saco. III. 7 mile off-road section from Saco to Scarborough - 5 stars. I’ve been on dozens of trails throughout the Northeast and this is one of my favorites. The trail is hard packed and is in great condition and features a stretch through the scenic Scarborough marsh. IV. 4 mile on-road section from Scarborough to South Portland - 1 star. The first half mile is fine as it’s on a lightly traveled road. But after that, it’s 3+ miles on busy roads that are narrow in spots. I’ve only been on the stretch once and several times a car came with a couple of feet of me - no interest in doing this section again. V. 6 mile off-road section in South Portland - 3 stars. It’s certainly better than riding the streets of Portland or South Portland. But there’s just nothing special about - nothing too scenic until you hit the very end, the trail is in decent, not great, shape, and it’s not well marked. But the biggest negative is the number of times the path crosses busy streets - I’ve never been on another trail with so many busy street crossings over a short stretch. So, the star rating of the trail depends on what you are looking for. If you’re looking to do a round trip of around 15 miles or less, there are two sections that are great - Kennebunk to Biddeford and Saco to Scarborough. If you’re looking to do more than that, you’ll have to deal with at least a few miles of busy streets.

Lots of really nice parts

My wife and rode 10 miles through Biddeford to the Scarborough Marsh and back. We felt the town part was pretty well marked but you need to pay attention as you transition from sidewalks, to streets, to crosswalks, etc. Once you navigate that part of the trail it lines out straight north to the marsh. This section is a very pleasant and wide part with several road crossings. The roads aren't especially busy and gives access to businesses and a change in route if desired. Even if the town section isn't the most desirable it is nice to be able to jump on a trail right in town. Well worth the effort to ride this section of trail.

Kennebunk 2 Biddeford

I’ve ridden Kennebunk to Biddeford a couple of times in the past week (late Sept), the trail is well maintained and marked. The few vehicle crossings have cross walks and signage for drivers. This is a beautiful trail that I would highly recommend, looking forward to riding all the way to South Portland!

Between Saco & Bug Light Park is best

We did this in two parts: Kennebunk-Biddeford, and South Portland-Saco. To do just Kennebunk to Biddeford & back is a bit too easy and dull - straight, flat, 12 miles round trip; although, you might want to reserve time to explore downtown Biddeford. Biscuits! Doughnuts! Brewery! Etc.

The Portland-Saco stretch is more varied. If you start from Bug Light Park, like we did, I think it comes out to more than 20 miles; for a shorter ride, start from the parking lot on the trail proper. There is the most excellent empanada place in Saco where you should try to have lunch. The marsh is fun with interesting birds.

Try to avoid Biddeford

Most of this trail is over packed earth, which is satisfactory, except following rain. The 4.5+ miles through Biddeford are poorly marked (download a map) and often hazardous. Scarborough marsh is beautiful and the rest of the trail is pleasant, often scenic. I rode the entire trail north one day and south the next. If I were to do it again, I would cut it into two smaller trails, and avoid Biddeford.

Variety is king on this trail

I rode the entire trail starting at Bug Light Park in South Portland and ending at Kennebunk; roughly 30 miles each way. I knew about the on road gaps and found them to be a positive as it added variety to the trail. The on road sections are fairly well marked and I only had an issue finding my way through Biddeford. The shoulders are very wide and I must say I found Maine drivers to be very courteous to me at every road crossing.

The off road sections of the trail are very well marked, shaded and very flat. I rode through forests and marshes and around residential neighborhoods. There is a fundraising effort to close one of the on road gaps on this trail. If that gap is closed I would give this trail five stars. I still highly recommend this trail as you can have a nice ride no matter what section you chose to ride.

great after work bike ride

the first 6 miles was somewhat boring, just a dirt path in the woods but the remaining trail to Saco was fun weaving through neighborhoods and Saco river crossing was cool. excited to do the second section :)

First time and loved it,

My 9 year old and I found this and loved it. We started at Kennebunk Elementary, which was easy to find, and went about 5 miles. The trail has a very nominal and unnoticeable grade. The trail is shaded and has numerous small bridges crossing streams. It’s a beautiful and easy ride.

Shady, and no hills

We rode as a pair from the Kennebunk Elementary School, which is at the southern end of the trail - marked as "mile 28" northward.(It's about .2 miles from the parking lot) Aside from crossing over Rt. 95 just at the base of the trail, from then on it was flat, perhaps a slight grade up while heading north. The surface is sand, and fine gravel. There are a few benches along the trail. Very scenic trail with dense woods and streams. It's an easy trail, with no hills to climb, if that's what you're looking for. I recommend it.

Kennebunk to Biddeford

We parked at Kennebunk Elementary School, cycled to Biddeford, and had a great breakfast at All Day Breakfast Two, just a couple of blocks from the trailhead, before returning to Kennebunk. The trail is in excellent condition. We used our regular road bikes with no trouble. A highlight was the sight of a fox sauntering down the trail!

June 27, 2015. LOST GLASSES,

The trail was a great find, excellent place to ride bikes with our grandchildren, when they got tired, just locked up their bikes and put them in the burlee for a lovely ride.
Unfortunately, my son in law lost his prescription glasses, black wire frame in a black case. If anyone finds them please Email , Lynblanchette@ aol.com
Thank you!

Kennebunk to Biddeford Leg

We rode to the trailhead from Wells, which was a 10-mile ride. The shoulder on Rte. 1 is very wide, which makes for easy road riding. The directions on the RTC website to the Kennebunk trailhead are spot on. The trail itself was wicked easy to ride. The gravel and dirt surface are very well packed. While hybrids or mountain bikes are better for this surface, it's doable with a road bike too. There was hardly anyone on this trail on a lovely June day. There are no services along the trail; however, it's only 6 miles long.

Fall foliage and spotless port-a-john

We sought out this trail after seeing it pass over I95. I'm glad we found it and got to enjoy the fall foliage today. It was a bit beyond peak colors but still nice tree cover and parking at the elementary school was plentiful, even on a school day.

A few places are soft sand so I appreciated the caution tape indicating those troublesome spots (I was on my road bike). Our son rode in his Chariot Carrier and complained of sand and small rocks flying up at him so we had to improvise a cover to shield him.

One more thing to note. I used the port-a-johns on the Kennebunk end and it was the cleanest one I have ever used!

Great trail with a great ending

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 at Bug Light Park. There is a business district on Route 77 near the eastern end with a number of places if you want to stop for something to eat or drink. The road crossing at this location has good crosswalks and signals but can still be a little stressful with kids because of many lanes and high traffic volume. I recommend starting at Wainwright and continuing to Bug Light because Bug Light is so awesome it gives you a destination to look forward to throughout your ride and is a great spot for a picnic.

Pretty trail through woods

This is a very pretty trail mostly through woods. There is a small stream running along the trail for a while and that is especially nice. The bridge over the Kennebunk River has pretty views and a nice big patch of grass next to it so it makes for a great spot to rest and take some photos. The wooden railings along much of the trail provide a really nice touch. These aspects make it more interesting and enjoyable than a typical trail just through woods.There might be a few places where you would have difficulty going through here with a road bike but with a hybrid it is no problem and is mostly smooth.

Beautiful and varied stretch of trail

This segment of the ET is long enough to make for an excellent bike ride with varied environments or you can do smaller segments. The northernmost part between Black Point Rd. and Eastern Rd. is the most scenic as it passes through Scarborough Marsh with outstanding views in both directions. Be aware, it is often quite windy here. The middle part of this trail is a mix of woods and backyards and can be a little rough in places; it is fine for a hybrid but I would not recommend a road bike. The Saco section is partially paved and is nice also.

well it's very long trial

Experience is that it's pave and it's all flat and sometimes you have to go through Sand. Nice trail overall could be better.

Nice, Shaded, family ride

My wife and I did a midweek ride, from Kennebunk to Biddeford and saw only a handful of people. Trail is packed dirt and mostly level. Did this ride the day after riding the Mountain Division Trail in Fryeburg, and enjoyed Kennebunk more. The paved trail in Fryeburg is nice, but there is no shade. This trail has shade 90% of the way and has the novelty of a bridge over RT 95. The 12 miles took us a little over an hour of easy peddling. The only drawback is the lack of water/facilities along the trail.

Hidden right in front of us

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 along the trail. Landfill sounds gross, but we wouldn't have known without the signs marking it. Our toddler loved the park at the Wainwright end of the trail. We made use of the port-o-johns after playing and headed back to Bug Light where we had parked.

Biddeford to Kennebunk

Probably the hardest pack of the off-road ET so far.Couple of soft spots from recent flooding,but repaired and signed,ok.Long ride through the Maine woods with only one real grade crossing at Limerick Road.Ample parking at school on rt. 35,North of Kennebunk exit, and at Southern Maine Medical center out back,in Biddeford.I ride this many times at night, work daily, and it's a pleasure.Very good surface,probably for road bike, but I use hybrid.A pleasure to navigate.

Saco to South Portland ET

My better half and myself were vacationing in Saco. Spent some time riding roads to get to this section and then again to get to the South Portland Pathway but was well worth it. Nice trail not real busy. 34 miles round trip

Great for running!

This trail was definitely great for running, with flat surfaces and wide enough for bikes to pass easily around me. The hard packed gravel made it a good surface as far as taking it easy on the joints (knees especially), while still wearing regular street/road running shoes. No trail shoes needed. The partial sun/shade made even a warmer day (83-85 degrees) feel significantly cooler and enjoyable. We parked at the Kennebunk Elementary School parking lot just off of I-95, and I ran to the end of the trail (6 miles) and back for a great round-trip long run. Lots of people out and about on a Saturday afternoon, definitely made me feel safe. All in all, a great trail I would recommend to the off-road runner.

Run Bike (no flies today)

My girlfriend ran the trail yesterday, mid-day, 80 degrees and sunny. The trees really keep you in the shade and cool the whole way. Didn't notice any deer flies (as noted by an earlier reviewer) perhaps because of the time of day. I bike (on my hybrid) from the south and then followed the Eastern Trail signs and connected to the Saco-Scarborough trail. The signs lead you on safe roads through Biddeford, but I wouldn't recommend them if you have young kids on bikes to worry about. Great day! Kennebunk-Biddeford trail surface was great. View wasn't anything special. Only a few spots with some deeper sand. Only did the first mile of the Saco-Scarborough trail, but it looked to be in superb condition.

Great Bike Ride with Kids (Less Deer Flies)

We discovered the trail last weekend as we were enroute to Portland, but bailed after encountering traffic. The trail isn't too far from I-95 for those coming from out of town. The parking at a school gives an opportunity to play on the playground before/after the ride for kids. The trail is gravel/ballast. It is a smooth solid surface (no potholes) so it was great with the kids on a tag-along. There are a few places where there are yellow posts preventing motor vehicles from entering the trail, which might make it difficult for bikers with kids in trailers (I didn't measure the distance between the posts - next time). We did cut our ride short due to nasty deer flies and will come more prepared the next time. Also we discovered a new yummy restaurant nearby on Alfred Rd (bikeable) that opened Dec 2012, that helped satisfy our hunger while avoiding the Kennebunk summer crowds. We will definitely return to this ride again.

Great Trail

I run and bike this trail (and walk dog). It is a wonderful trail.

Eastern Trail, Maine

Since Dec./2010,trail completed to Saco,behind Thornton Academy,to Clark St.,like the above says.Bike/ped bridge was installed across rte.1,Saco,Oct 27,2011.Trail now 8.6 miles,Clark St to Black Point Rd,Scarborough.ETMD,MDOT,currently working to conect trail to Greenbelt,South Portland,northern terminus of ET.Trail surface is very smooth,and a pleasure to cycle on.Connection to Biddeford section behind Southern Maine Medical Center also being worked on as we speak.From SMMC(parking behind hospital-follow signs)to rt 35 Kennebunk,is 6.2 miles,with really only one grade crossing.Bridge across Kennebunk River,bridge across Maine Turnpike are complete.Sign on Turnpike bridge,interstate 95,reads"Eastern Trail-East Coast Greenway".Trail in planning to continue to Kittery,Maine.

Geocaching on the Eastern Trail

This is a great trail for geocaching on bikes. The ride is flat and easy terraine for most bikes. The geocaches are varied and interesting, without much bush whacking.

Eastern Trail---beautiful

Went cycling today on this trail. Stunning views of nature. Peaceful. Flat and easy to enjoy the ride.

Eastern Trail, Maine

Eastern Trail is S. Maine part of East Coast Greenway. Scarborough is one section. Another section was opened 11/30/10 from S. Me Medical Center to turnpike exit at Kennebunk,Me. approx 6 miles. Both sections are stonedust surface, no motorized vehicles allowed. Bridge over Me. turnpike scheduled to be completed spring 2011, to connect up with route 35 Kennebunk. Remaining on-trail(off road) currently in planning stages, 19 miles to be done in one fell swoop, to Jewett in Maine. New sections are very smooth and deserve consideration. Sections connecting S.Portland Greenbelt(N. terminus E.T.) to Scarborough and connector from Scarborough to Saco Me. are in works.(Cascade Rd. to Saco bidded out for 2011) Trail is in construction, but progress is steady.

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