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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Technically, the Mountain Division Trail is a rail-with-trail, although the rail is no longer active.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).
So 15 degree weather does not stop us!
Started at otter pond and skied to Gambo Field.
Beautiful blue sky and crisp air. Maine the way it should be. Met a few snowmobiles and only a few other brave walkers. I love this trail and feel so blessed to be able to walk out the door and have this great place to play.
Having ridden bike paths all over New England, I've enjoyed many wonderful experiences towing my toddler in his trailer. My wife and I rode this southern section starting in Standish, and we were generally disappointed. There is little to see, aside from a field and a bridge over a pond. The path had a few potholes and places where a safety fence were falling down. It also doesn't really lead you anywhere interesting, like a place to eat or a town to explore. We wouldn't return to ride this again.
I wasn't sure if dogs were welcome on the Fryeburg end of the trail, but I brought her with me. Unfortunately the DEER FLIES were horrible! It looked like such a nice walk. I will try again another day, with bug spray!
It's a nice trail and you have access all around the trail. The trail leads to a camp so it's a big trail to drive on but there are all these small trails on the side that you can walk down that lead all over the place.My favorite side trail is the train tracks and it leads to the the lake and the bridge.I have been there lots of times only been on the side trails one time and have never made it to the end of the drive part but it is still lots of fun.
Parked at the Windham end and rode to Standish. It was the first ride of the year for my wife and she felt it. The trail has some good hills for a rail trail, but nothing too bad. The Standish end is a dirt detour that is challenging for hybrid bikes, but the rest of the trail is paved. Use caution crossing the rail bridge as there is a little drop off on one end.
I've been geocaching along this trail and asking many people the name of the railroad the rails belong to. A Division is a part of a railroad and each division has a name. So what railroad's abandoned tracks lie along the trail? BTW, there is a strong effort to bring the line back into operation.
While at Raymond Pond I drove down and did the Southern end of this trail. This five mile section is more like a Greenway then a Rails to Trails. It follows a set of tracks and has lots of ups and downs. I went from Rt 202 north and is an up hill grade going north and a nice down hill grade coming back. It has a number of road crossings but all are back roads with very little traffic. I would not go very far out of my way to do this trail but I did have a nice ride. I was on a 29in Mt Bike and I did explore the unimproved section below Rt 202. You can only ride about 1.6 miles down when you come to Rail tracks, it looks like they have just been put down as it looks like new ties. If and when this trail is ever done it will be one of the best trail in the State of Maine.
My husband and I made this ride today with our seven year old daughter. My husband is a pretty experienced mountain biker, I do ok and our seven year old is... Seven :) we all did well!! The paths are marked well, you could really make it as technical or as easy as you wanted.We passed older people, younger people, dog walkers and there was even some police press emcee trying to make sure ATV'a were not around. We picked up the trail at Jonson Field in Standish. Had a great day!!
Most of the Windham/Gorham/Standish section is paved, and a side trip down Gambo Road is well worth the time. Turn south from the trail and a short distance past the soccer field turn-off is the Gambo Dam. If you cross the river and park your bike, the Gambo Powder Mills are off to your left. During the Civil War, one quarter of the gunpowder used by Union forces was produced here, and there are some foundations and remnants of the mill. If you continue on up the hill, a right turn on the Presumpscot River Trail will take you back to the Mountain Division Trail north of the trestle.
I have done the southern section a few years ago and just did the 4-mile section in Fryeburg. This was an enjoyable ride through the country. The scenery is not that special and there is little shade, as another reviewer mentioned. There is one pretty little river crossing. The surface is great, totally smooth pavement. There are a number of nice benches set up in various places but they did not seem very appealing because they are right on the trail. We only noticed one spot where we could spread out a bit for a stop and that was an auto body shop maybe a mile from the western end that has a drink machine, picnic table, awning, and grassy yard right next to the trail. (Also a port-a-potty around the back). We enjoyed a short stop there. The hills were not at all steep in my opinion and we did not find them challenging.
I would also recommend starting at the east and going west before returning so you can stop at the visitor center, as another reviewer mentioned. It does not appear on the map but there is a paved parking lot at the eastern end with room for maybe 10 cars or so.
The section in Gorham and Standish I recall as being a bit more scenic, passing some pretty farms, fields etc., with the same good surface.
A nice 8 mile ride for my wife and I. Plenty of parking at the visitor center, and a quiet ride out and back. It is gently rolling, but feels more downhill going from west to east, so if you want a downhill return ride start on the eastern end. Also will give you a nice rest stop at the visitor center and water refill if needed. Overall a good trail to take the family.
AWESOME SCENERY!!! Used to run the backwoods trails in South Carolina so this brought back so many memories. Climbing the hill makes for a nice challenge. Fresh air, beautiful landscape and challenges for the body definitely a trail worth exploring.
This is a short drive from home so we have been on it several times. The trail is in good shape and has nice rural scenery. Although on a hot summer day it would be nice to have some more shade. One improvement I would like to suggest is bathroom/water facilities somewhere along the route.
We took the trail from the Maine Welcome Center on Route 302 in Fryeburg. This section of trail is a hair over 4 miles.
They did a wonderful job with construction of the trail itself. The asphalt was super smooth, and there were fences, benches, etc.
The trail runs alongside a railroad track. While this is a great example of shared use - the truth is that the scenery on this trail is minimal at best. The trail passes a stretch of light industrial buildings, and then continues along the railroad track until its terminus.
Use of the trail was mixed with bikers, roller bladers, and walkers. There were some young children who had a hard time staying to one side, but it was nice to see them out on the trail getting some exercise. Crowds on the trail were not a problem - although my visit was prior to peak season.
There are plans to develop this trail so that it runs from Fryeburg to Portland. If it does, Maine may be our vacation spot for many years to come! It would also be nice to see this trail extended to North Conway.
I parked on Rte 35 at the baseball field. You have to go down a dirt/gravel road if you choose this entrance for about 1/ 4 mile. Pass the YMCA camp on the left and go up the hill and at the bottom, the trail is there on the right. I have a road bike so this was a bit of a disadvantage for me. At the end of the trail, there is also a gravel section. Local kids hang out around the bridge and jump off into the river below. (not recommended). Bring your own drinks and snacks as there isn't anything around really to get anything and 202 if you go to the right, you can ride into town area, but there is no general store at the end. Pretty ride, quiet, rather isolated. Easy ride, no big hills. Great for families but real young bikers should probably join at the parking closer to 202 to avoid that walk on the road to get to the trail.
Although some of the pictures show this trail as gravel, most of it is paved. The paved trail is a touch narrow for two-way traffic, and the pavement ends near the northwestern terminus, requiring the traveler to use a gravel road. I was bicycle-touring and was much elated to find the path paved but much defrosted to find the end of it unpaved with a short steep gravelly hill. However, even the unpaved portion was a better choice than the nearby road I had been riding.
My journey continued to Fryeburg, and the continuation of this trail will be a boon to future riders.
Newly paved surface along the Mountain Division rail trail from Route 202 in Windham to Otter Pond YMCA camps makes this trail very easy, enjoyable riding.
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