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The Papermill Trail celebrates the heritage of mills in the development of the town of Lisbon and the surrounding area while providing an easy, pleasant trail experience for users of all abilities. The trail also serves as a transportation link between the town center and the community of Lisbon Falls, passing two schools and several access points and parking areas.
Inadequate signage can make finding the start of the trail next to the Sabattus River at Village Street near Lisbon Street a challenge. The trail crosses the Sabattus River on the sidewalk of a bridge with a striking view of a three-story, 160-year-old woolen mill that’s been transformed into apartments. The off-road portion begins after the bridge and follows Upland Road and Mill Street while passing through open fields and farmland on a section also known as the Ricker Farm Trail.
About 1.2 miles from the start, the trail veers toward the Lisbon Community School and passes through a more wooded and scenic area for the rest of the way. The trail follows the Sabattus River across slightly undulating—but rarely steep—terrain. Remnants of a bridge built as part of mill-related development are visible shortly after the trail comes within view of the river.
About 0.6 mile past the bridge ruins you’ll come to Miller Park, where the Sabattus River meets the much wider Androscoggin River. There’s parking, a boat launch, and a trail information panel here. The trail goes left, running along inactive tracks that historically carried trains on the Maine Central Railroad’s Rumford Branch. This newest section of the trail to Lisbon Falls, also known as the Androscoggin River Trail, is less densely wooded and reveals open sections of wildflowers with unobstructed views of the river.
These river sections are popular with birders, who find warblers, indigo buntings, and vireos in the woods and fields, as well as herons and waterfowl in the river. Bald eagles and osprey are often spotted here.
The 1.8-mile section along the Androscoggin River ends shortly after you pass the Lisbon High School football stadium in the community of Lisbon Falls, childhood home of horror writer Stephen King. There’s no parking lot at the trailhead. Food is available at nearby restaurants, including a pub in the old railroad depot on Lisbon Street.
If you arrive during the second weekend in July, be prepared for crowds in town for the annual Moxie Festival. The event celebrates a regional soft drink that got its start as a patent medicine in the 19th century and whose advertising added the word moxie (meaning “force of character or determination”) to the English language.
To reach the trailhead in Lisbon from I-95, take Exit 80 to SR 196 toward Lewiston. Head north on Alfred A. Plourde Pkwy., go 0.3 mile, and turn right onto SR 196 E/Lisbon St. Go 5 miles, and turn left onto Village St./Webster Road. Look for municipal parking on the left. The trail starts across Village St./Webster Road on the shoulder and bridge sidewalk. Parking also is available 300 feet farther on the left at St. Ann St.
To reach the trailhead at Miller Park from I-295, take Exit 31 or 31B onto SR 196/Lisbon St. toward Lisbon. Head northwest on SR 196/Lewiston Road, go 7.6 miles, and turn right onto Frost Hill Ave. Parking for Miller Park is immediately on the left.
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