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The Mountain Division Trail exists as two separate segments of what will eventually be a more than 50-mile-long trail from Fryeburg to Portland. The southern section rolls for about 6 miles between Windham and Standish; the northern section runs for nearly 4 miles through Fryeburg on the New Hampshire border. The paved trail segments run alongside currently dormant train tracks owned by the Maine Department of Transportation. Long-range plans call for a trail alongside the roughly 45 miles of existing rail corridor that the state owns between Fryeburg and Westbrook. The state wants to acquire and install trail on the final 5-mile rail link to Portland.
The Mountain Division Trail takes its name from the Maine Central Railroad’s Mountain Division that ran from Portland through New Hampshire’s White Mountains to Vermont. Chartered in 1867 as the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad, Maine Central took over in the early 20th century. Passenger service on the scenic run ended in 1958, and freight trains stopped rolling after Guilford Transportation (later Pan Am Railways) acquired it in the 1980s. The Maine DOT owns and maintains the tracks today in hopes of reestablishing rail service.
Windham to Standish Segment: 5.6 miles
The southern section of the Mountain Division Trail comprises a segment of the 28-mile Sebago to the Sea Trail that runs between the southern tip of Sebago Lake to Casco Bay in Portland. You can start at the parking lot for the post office in Windham, about 0.25 mile north of the trailhead. The 10-foot-wide paved trail follows the unused tracks for 1.6 miles to a crossing over the Presumpscot River. Just past the bridge, a side trail heads downhill for 0.7 mile past Shaw Park, where you can swim and rent kayaks or canoes. The trail ends at a bridge just above Gambo Dam. A footpath heads into the woods where you can explore the ruins of a canal and the Oriental Powder Mill, which supplied the Union Army with one-quarter of its gunpowder.
Returning to the main trail, you’ll continue west across the rural landscape for 3 miles to a gate and stop sign blocking access to the railroad corridor across some ponds. The Mountain Division Trail continues up a hill as a gravel path for 1.2 miles to the trailhead at the south shore of Sebago Lake.
Fryeburg Segment: 4.0 miles
The northern section starts about 30 miles away at a trailhead on Portland Street in Fryeburg. Heading west, the paved trail is wooded and lined with wildflowers. You’ll have occasional mountain views through breaks in the vegetation. The trail parallels the road for 2.5 miles before it passes south of the historic town center. It travels another 1.5 miles to a trailhead near the New Hampshire state line.
To reach the western trailhead for the south segment from the intersection of SR 25 and SR 35 in Standish, head north on SR 35 N/Northeast Road (it becomes Chadbourne Road), and go 2.5 miles. Turn right into the parking lot by Standish Skate Park.
To reach the eastern trailhead for the south segment from the intersection of ME 25 and US 202 in Gorham, head northeast on US 202 E/SR 4/Gray Road, and go 4 miles. The trailhead is on the left, but no parking is available.
To reach the eastern trailhead for the north segment from the intersection of US 302 and SR 113 in Fryeburg, head south on SR 5/SR 113 toward Brownfield and Old Orchard Beach. Go 3.4 miles, and look for parking on the right.
To reach the western trailhead for the north segment from the intersection of US 302 and SR 113 in Fryeburg, head southwest on US 302, and go 1.1 miles. Find the Maine Tourism Association parking lot near the New Hampshire border just north of Haley Town Road.
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