The Best Cycling in Maine…
Portland, Maine’s popularity as a place to live and visit is due to its charm, food, arts scene, and access to outdoor recreation.
Casco Bay provides unlimited opportunities to enjoy the ocean, while many lakes and mountains are within a short driving distance.
Portland has a very active bike culture and many great places to ride — this is some of the best cycling found anywhere in Maine.
Here is a list of popular cycling routes.
Cycling Routes Great for Families in Maine
The Eastern Promenade Trail
The Eastern Promenade Trail runs for 2.1 miles each way along the shores of Casco Bay and then connects to the Back Cove Trail (this loop trail is 3.5 miles in length).
The entire ride is on bike paths and along the water.
The Cape Elizabeth Loop
This ride follows the shore of Casco Bay to Portland’s Lighthouses, through the farmland of Cape Elizabeth, with an optional ride to Portland area beaches.
The East Coast Greenway
The East Coast Greenway is a 2500-mile route from the Canadian border to Key West. The goal is for the route to be entirely on bike paths.
The route is mapped and well-signed and allows one to explore south of Portland. You ride the Greenway (out and back) down to Old Orchard Beach, a beautiful beach surrounded by an outdoor arcade and carnival-type games about 40 miles round trip.
Looking for a longer ride? Cycle down to Kennebunkport, about an 85-mile round trip. Route notes are available from the East Coast Greenway Website.
Cycling Routes North of Portland
Some fun options for cycling north of Portland offer great cycling and a ferry ride.
The largest island in Casco Bay, cycling Chebeague offers a fun glimpse of island life. There are a couple of hills, but the island is a good family ride. There are two ways to cycle Chebeague.
The Chebeague Loop
Catch the mail boat from Casco Bay Lines and cruise among the islands of Casco Bay. On Chebeague, spend the day exploring the island, which is approximately 10 miles around the island, and return to Portland via the Casco Bay ferry.
Summer Feet Cycling offers a self-guided Maine cycling package featuring bike rentals, ferry tickets, and a gift card for lunch at the award-winning Chebeague Island Inn.
Chebeague Island, Cousins Island, and Falmouth
This version includes a little more cycling. Like the other Chebeague Island Tour, this tour begins by riding the Casco Bay Ferry to Chebeague Island.
After cycling on Chebeague, hop a ferry to Cousins Island and then cycle back on the mainland to Portland. Total mileage: 26 miles.
Portland to Bailey Island
Located near the town of Brunswick, Bailey Island is a popular summer destination. From Portland to Bailey Island is a 45-mile ride. Get an early start, stop for a lobster roll and catch the 2:00 pm Casco Bay Ferry back to Portland.
Mountain Biking in Maine
There are several places to mountain bike in and around Portland. Thank you to Jim Tasse of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine for providing this information.
Many of the Portland Trails trails allow mountain biking. Most of the rides are pretty short but very scenic. Some more popular options are:
The Evergreen (easy)
Established in 1855, Evergreen Cemetery‘s 239 acres make it the second-largest cemetery in Maine. It has several noteworthy headstones and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The cemetery has a park area with four ponds and a network of wooded trails. Maps are available at the cemetery office, open from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. The cemetery is open daily from 7:00 a.m.-4:30p.m
The cemetery features a network of moderately sloping trails, some paved and others left natural. Trails connect across Stevens Avenue to Baxter Woods.
The Fore River Sanctuary (easy to moderate)
This 85-acre preserve is the home of Jewell Falls, Portland‘s only natural waterfall, and the former Cumberland and Oxford Canal site. The lowland area, where salt and freshwater marsh meet, provides great bird-watching opportunities.
Red oak and white pine provide a habitat for many songbirds and small mammals in the upland area. The land around the falls was donated to Portland Trails by the family of Tom Jewell, one of Portland Trails’ founders. Open from dawn to dusk, year-round.
Cycle Routes 15 Minutes from Portland
Cape Elizabeth Greenbelt Trails, Winnick’s Woods, Cross Hill (Moderate to Advanced)
Falmouth Open Space Trails, Blackstrap Preserve (Moderate to Advanced)
Cycle Routes 30 Minutes from Portland
Other Maine Cycling Resources
Looking for more information on cycling resources in Maine?
- The State of Maine Department of Transportation produces an excellent guide to bike routes throughout Maine at the Explore Maine website.
- The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is the state-wide advocacy organization for Maine. They publish an annual events calendar and offer several one-day rides in Maine, including the lobster and women’s rides.