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 an easy drive. 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.
Great for Families with Children
The Eastern Promenade Trail. The eastern prom 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. Detailed route notes are available from the State of Maine’s bike tour site or if you are seeking a guided and van supported tour check out Summer Feet Cycling’s 5 Lighthouse Tour.
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 provides the opportunity 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 all the way down to Kennebunkport about 85 miles round trip. Route notes are available from the East Coast Greenway Website.
North of Portland
A couple of 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 2 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.
There are a number of 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, which is open 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. The cemetery is open daily 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 site of the former Cumberland and Oxford Canal. 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.
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)
30 Minutes from Portland
Other Cycling Resources
Looking for more information for 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.