BACK COVE-BAYSIDE-EASTERN PROMENADE TRAILS:
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Last Updated: July 14, 2020
Length: Back Cove Trail; 3.6 mile Loop
Bayside Trail; 1.4 miles
Eastern Promenade Trail; 1.9 miles
Loop Trail (includes all 3 trails plus a return through the city); 8.6 mile Loop
Difficulty: Easy. Flat paved rail trail.
To Start from the Preble Street parking lot (Back Cove Trail); From I-295 take exit 6 to Forest Ave northwest. Take your 2nd right on Baxter Blvd. Then your 2nd right on Preble St. The parking lot is on your left. I start from the left side (west) of the parking lot.
There are may trails in the city of Portland. I have only checked out a few of them. I have combined 3 trails to create a Loop. Starting with the Back Cove Trail, I then utilize the Bayside Trail to connect to the Eastern Promenade Trail and return via scenic downtown Portland. For more information visit; PORTLAND TRAILS & MAINE TRAIL FINDER .
The Back Cove Trail & Eastern Promenade Trail are part of the EAST COAST GREENWAY , a planned biking & hiking route stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. When complete it will traverse 15 states with a mostly off-road path.
Back Cove Trail:
Starting from the Preble Street parking lot (Back Cove Trail); At the western end of the parking lot, next to a Map Board is the 0 Mile Marker. The wide stone-dust Back Cove Trail travels right (north) between Baxter Blvd and Back Cove. Mile Markers every 0.25 Miles. Pass by the Payson Park parking lot across the street at 1.7 miles.
Note; Paved trail through Payson Park is part of the Sebago to the Sea Trail (which travels from Sebago Lake in Standish to Casco Bay in Portland). The Sebago to the Sea Trail also utilizes the eastern section of the Back Cove Trail to connect to the Eastern Promenade Trail.
Continuing east the trail brings you up to I-295 at 2.1 miles. A separated path takes you across Tukey's Bridge between Back Cove and Casco Bay. You pass by a spur trail on your right.
Note; This paved trail takes you underneath I-295 to the Bayside Trail & Eastern Promenade Trail.
Continue straight to another trail on your right at 2.4 miles. Head right to continue along the Back Cove Trail.
Note; Straight will take you over I-295 to another intersection. Straight leads to the Bayside Trail, while left leads to Washington Ave and the Inner Eastern Promenade Trail.
The Back Cove Trail now follows a stone-dust trail alongside Back Cove below I-295. Come to Back Cove Park and another intersection at 3.1 miles.
Note; Left is the paved Franklin Street Connector Path which connects to the Bayside Trail.
Continue straight through Back Cove Park (several paths which all lead back to the Preble Street parking lot after a 3.6 mile Loop.
Note; To connect to the Bayside Trail from the Preble Street parking lot start from the western end of the parking lot, next to the Map Board/0 Mile Marker; Head left (south) along the paved Preble Street Path. Just before traveling underneath I-295 you'll come to a cross light. If walking continue straight where the paved path becomes a brick path. If biking cross Preble St and continue left along a BIKE LANE. Come to Marginal Lane. The Bayside Trail begins straight off of Elm St, however, Elm St is one-way (the wrong way). A narrow paved sidewalk is available and will bring you to the trailhead at 0.5 miles. A better option if biking is to cross over Marginal Lane where Preble St continues one-way (but the right way) to Kennebec St. Turn left then left again along Elm St and pick up the Bayside Trail after 0.6 miles.
Starting from Elm Street Trailhead; The brick Bayside Trail quickly becomes paved as it travels northeast through town along an open urban corridor. Come to Franklin St where the trail heads left to a cross light at 0.4 miles.
Note; Straight across Marginal Way will bring you to the Franklin Street Connector Path and a connection to the Back Cove Trail.
Head right over Franklin St where you'll pick up the trail again on your right. Quickly come to a brick circle and another intersection.
Note; Right is the Boyd Street Path which leads to Fox Field/Kennedy Park.
Continuing straight the trail follows a narrow commercial corridor to Plowman St at 0.9 miles and an intersection.
Note; Right will take you up a paved trail along the I-295 off-ramp to another intersection. Straight will take you up to I-295 and Tukey's Bridge (connection to Back Cove Trail) and right leads to Washington Ave and the Inner Eastern Promenade Trail. I haven't checked out this trail.
Continue straight out to Sewage Plant Road and a parking lot. Head right, then underneath the I-295 off-ramp to the end of the road after 1.1 miles.
Note; Right leads to a set of stairs up to Loring Memorial Park and the Inner Eastern Promenade Trail. Left across Sewage Plant Rd is another intersection. Straight the Bayside Trail continues up to I-295 and Tukey's Bridge where you connect to the Back Cove Trail at 1.4 miles and the end of the trail. Right is the start of the Eastern Promenade Trail.
Eastern Promenade Trail:
Starting from Sewage Plant Road/Bayside Trail intersection; The Sebago to the Sea Trail also utilizes this trail. The paved Eastern Promenade Trail travels up a slight hill past the sewage treatment plant and above Casco Bay. Spot the old RR bridge left in the open position out in the bay. Head downhill and cross some narrow gauge RR tracks at 0.5 miles where the trail now follows an old rail bed beside the set of tracks. Nice open views of the bay. Cross Cutter St at 0.8 miles. East End parking lot on your left. This is also where the Sebago to the Sea Trail ends. Follow alongside East End Beach before coming to Fish Point. Here you can spot Fort Gorges on Hog Island Ledge across the bay. Pass by the Maine Narrow Gauge RR cars on your right followed by Fore Points Marina on your left.
Note. Visit; MAINE NARROW GAUGE RR for information about train rides.
Trail crosses the tracks then past the Portland Cruise Terminal/Ocean Gateway where it follows alongside Thames St before ending at Franklin & Commercial St after 1.9 miles in Old Port Portland. *Very scenic area with old brick & stone buildings and lots of places to eat. Good place to park your bike and explore by foot.
Note; To complete the Loop back to the Preble Street parking lot I've devised a Route through Portland that takes you past as many historic points and Parks, as well as, utilizing the many wide paths through the city.
Portland City Route:
Starting from Franklin & Commercial Streets; See Map Below. Cross Commercial St and head left on-road (a brick sidewalk is available but tends to have many pedestrians). Not recommended for kids on bikes as this is a busy road. Come to Custom House St and turn right up the cobblestone road past the old marble US Custom House. Turn left on Fore St past the building and cross Pearl St. Here another cobblestone road follows a grassy medium. Turn right up Market St, then left on Middle St past Post Office Park. Come to Lobsterman Park at Temple St. This is the more modern part of the city. Turn right up Temple St then a quick left along a wide brick lined boulevard type path to Monument Square. Head to the northern corner of the Square across from the Portland Public Library. Cross Congress St to Elm St past the Library. This is all downhill. You the pass by the trailhead for the Bayside Trail after 1 mile. Continue along Elm St and across Marginal Way where a BIKE LANE will return you to the Preble Street parking lot &Back Cove Trail after 1.4 miles.
CLICK HERE FOR PORTLAND TRAILS MAP
CLICK HERE FOR BACK COVE TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR BAYSIDE TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR EASTERN PROMENADE TRAIL
CLICK HERE FOR PORTLAND TRAILS LOOP MAP
CLICK HERE FOR PORTLAND CITY ROUTE MAP
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