Kennebec River Rail Trail


10 Reviews

View Trail Map
View Map
Send to App

Register for free!

Register for free with TrailLink today!

We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors
  • View over 40,000 miles of trail maps
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your own favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Leave reviews for trails
  • Add new and edit existing trails

Kennebec River Rail Trail Facts

States: Maine
Counties: Kennebec
Length: 6.79 miles
Trail end points: Water St. (Augusta) and Maine Ave. (Gardiner)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015986

Kennebec River Rail Trail Description


Visitors to the 6.79-mile-long Kennebec River Rail Trail mostly stay within sight of the wide river as the paved trail links the state capital of Augusta with the river towns of Hallowell, Farmingdale, and Gardiner. The trail is part of the off-road East Coast Greenway, which will connect Calais, Maine, with Key West, Florida, when it is complete. No motorized use is allowed on the trail, which is plowed of snow in the winter.

About the Route

Leaving off from a riverside parking lot in Augusta, the trail heads south beneath the US 201/Memorial Drive bridge. The first mile of the trail is often crowded with office workers stretching their legs during lunchtime and after work. About 0.7 miles from the trailhead, a side trail heads right to more parking and Capitol Park at the foot of the State Capitol building. The Maine State Museum and State Library are nearby.

At mile 2, measured by 0.25-mile trailside markers, the trail arrives at the waterfront in Hallowell, once a logging, mill, and shipbuilding center. Parking and restrooms are at a riverfront park that’s home to the farmers market in season. Trail users might be drawn to the colorful Adirondack chairs that overlook the river here, or could visit antique stores, art studios, or restaurants along Water Street.

Leaving Hallowell, the trail veers away from the rail corridor for a short distance, then hugs the shoreline of Kennebec River to Farmingdale. At one time polluted by industrial discharges, the river Kennebec—named so by the area’s original inhabitants for its “large body of still water”—has benefited from clean water laws. Removal of the Edwards Dam in Augusta in 1999 has helped bring back migratory fish. You may see osprey or bald eagles that feed on the river life.

The trail reaches its southern end at a shopping center on the north end of Gardiner, a former mill town. About a block south is a vintage Maine Central Railroad depot built in 1911 and used by the railroad into the 1950s. Just a few blocks farther south, trail users may find Gardiner Waterfront Park, a popular event space and put-in for boats, kayaks, and canoes. The future Merrymeeting Trail project is proposed to follow the rail corridor south of here for 32 miles to Brunswick on the coast.


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

Trail History

The Kennebec River Rail Trail shares the corridor with railroad tracks that the Maine Department of Transportation preserved in hopes that trains will one day return. It follows the route of the Kennebec and Portland Railroad, which the state-chartered in 1836 and reached Augusta by 1851. The Maine Central Railroad subsequently bought the 63-mile line and provided rail service to communities along the river until 1983. The new owners, Guilford Transportation (later Pan Am Railways), eventually closed the Augusta-Brunswick segment, which the state acquired.

Parking and Trail Access

The Papermill Trail runs between Water St. (Augusta) and Maine Ave. (Gardiner), with parking available at both ends.

Parking is also available at:

    • 94 Water St (Hallowell)

See TrailLink Map for all parking options and detailed directions.

Kennebec River Rail Trail Reviews

Was a wonderful morning for a bike ride,

Was a wonderful morning for a bike ride,

Perfect morning walk!!

Started at Capitol park entrance enjoying the walkers passing by. All were saying good morning! Great walk paved with asphalt. Follows the Kennebec River. A little disappointed it was by the waste treatment facility.

Overall a very nice trail

There’s a lot to like about this trail: •easy ride and it has some hills and curves to make it interesting •scenic •easy parking •well marked •well maintained with a few bumps But there are a few negatives with the major one being the gap in Hallowell. For roughly 1/2 - 3/4 of a mile, the gap in the trail requires one to ride on busy Water St through the downtown area. It’s certainly not the worst road to ride on, but traffic can be heavy and you need to watch for car doors opening. The trail is also very narrow in spots making it difficult to pass through. But overall a nice trail that is worth a visit.

Easy Ride

We rode this trail from the Water St. parking lot in Augusta. This is virtually the beginning of the trail except for a very short segment that goes down to a park at the river level. The trail takes a break in Hallowell's Granite City Park. There is some historical information here and Adirondack chairs set up to view the river. At the Park, the trail goes onto the street for less than a mile (stay on the main street). There are some really cool old buildings in the town. The trail then goes up to the right. This is a relatively flat and easy ride. It is all paved with few bumps.


Fun but easy

This really was a very pretty rail trail, with lots of fun stopping places on either end (and in the middle). In Augusta on one end, and Gardiner on the other, and Hallowell in the middle, you have lots of options for food and drink. The trail is super easy and flat. 13 miles round trip.

Great First Ride

My husband and I just both got bikes and were at a family outing the day before in Augusta and decided to try out the trail. It was a beautiful trail and a great first ride. We will definitely be back!

Nice easy riding

This 13 mile, round trip, ride is as easy as it gets. As others have described, it follows the Kennebec, starting out in Augusta and ending in Gardner. But here is tip: if you ride across the parking lot in Gardner, and take a very short ride ( maybe 0.1 miles) along the road, you'll find a boat landing/park on your left. Take the road to the left when you come to a large striped pedestrian crossing. There you can take a seat along the waters edge, watch people loading boats and fishing. If you want to make the round trip ride an even 14 miles you can proceed to the end of the park and take a short ride down a dirt trail. It's not spectacular in there but, it's quiet and affords you some more nice views of the river.

Bike Shop along the way

My husband and I biked this trail yesterday (8/20/2010). Absolutely beautiful. The last unpaved stretch (around mile marker 2) is being paved next week.
In Gardiner, my husband's front tire went flat and we set out to look for a bike shop. There is a great one, at around mile marker 5 (just leave the trail and walk up the parallel road). It is called Mathieu's; they did the repair quickly and were friendly and welcoming, with some local stories as well, if you care to ask.

Some additional info

"In Augusta, the trail now also extends to the edge of downtown at the MSHA parking lot. This entrance to the trail is much flatter than the entrance at Capitol Park, which goes downhill steeply and curves. The trail is a great addition to the area and my wife and I both enjoy it. "

Nearby Trails

Go Unlimited Today!

  • FREE Account
  • View over 40,000 miles of trail maps
  • Post your trail reviews
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Get a free map in the app!
Register for FREE
Purchase Unlimited

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google

Log in with Apple


Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 40,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google

Register with Apple


Your account has been deleted.