Find answers to commonly asked questions about the trails below. Need more help? We are very responsive to email, Facebook messages, or you can give us a call at (207) 775-2411.
General Trail Tips:
Have fun. Have an adventure. Connect with nature. Enjoy and share the trails!
Clean up after yourself or pets. Many trails do not have trash cans as we do not have the capacity to empty them throughout the year. Trash is carry-in, carry-out.
Respect posted warnings, signs, or other instructions.
Hunting is not allowed in Portland or South Portland.
Fire of any kind is not allowed on our trails.
Cyclists: We have many mixed-use trails. Please use caution when passing pedestrians on the trails. Slow down as you approach a pedestrian, person in a wheelchair, stroller, scooter, or someone using a slower form of transportation. Use a bell or announce yourself clearly. Pass slowly and at a safe distance. We strongly encourage all cyclists to wear reflective gear and appropriate lights for cycling in the dark. Share the trail! More smart cycling tips here.
Winter trail users: Please avoid stepping through ski tracks. Likewise, skiers and fat bikers, please be respectful of slower moving walkers and snowshoers. The trails are more fun when we respect all the different modes through which we enjoy them.
Spring or Wet Conditions: Following the winter thaw, the trails can be very fragile. Some bridges or areas may be submerged or very muddy. We request that hikers, runners, and mountain bikers refrain from using the trails if they are too soggy. Seek out dryer, paved trails during wet conditions. Make an effort to walk through or over a wet area instead of going around it--walkers widening the trails by walking around problem spots can harm the surrounding environment.
Portland Trails encourages our trail users to abide by the Leave-No-Trace principles, practiced on protected lands across the country. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Know before you go. Plan ahead with our trail maps!
- Stick to the trails. Use designated trails only. There's a reason a trail exists where it does - stay on the trail and help us protect surrounding ecosystems.
- Carry out your trash, and clean up your dog's poop.
- Leave the area as you found it.
- Keep wildlife wild. Do not feed animals or remove plants you're not authorized to.
- Share our trails with other humans and animals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click the question to read the answer
No, we are a private non-profit land trust. We work with numerous landowners, including municipalities, to create, preserve, and enhance a large network of trails and open spaces. We work closely with Cities of Westbrook, Portland, Falmouth, and South Portland, and many private landowners through which our trails cross, as well as other land trusts like the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust or South Portland Land Trust. Portland Trails also independently owns a number of land parcels, including the majority of the Fore River Sanctuary, Berle Mile Pond, and other areas.
Most of the trails on the network are dog friendly. We encourage folks to enjoy the trails with their dogs, but remind you to be respectful of the trails and other trail users. Clean up after your pet. No matter how deep in the woods you are, pick up and carry out any waste or waste bags.
To help you find dog-friendly trails, our friends at Evergreen Credit Union, in partnership with the Portland Press Herald and the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, created the Tails of the Trails. These are six illustrated trail maps that showcase some of the most dog-friendly trails in our network. Check them out!
This is a complicated question. Our trails cross multiple landowners’ properties, so rules may vary from parcel to parcel and town to town. Please respect the requests and signage of land owners on the trails. See the City of Portland's website for up-to-date information about leash laws on City-owned trails. Please note: dogs are not allowed in any public cemeteries, schools, playgrounds, sports fields/courts, or public fountains or pools.
If your dog is off-leash on a trail that allows this, please keep your dog under voice command at all times. If your dog is not under voice command, you must put it on a leash.
If you notice something very suspicious or dangerous, call the Portland Police at 9-1-1 or at their non-emergency line (207) 874-8479. If you observe a bridge is out, or that there is harmful graffiti or some other damage a trail, give us a call at (207) 775-2411 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are available by email M-F, 9am-5pm, and by phone most weekdays. Feel free to leave a message.
The City of Portland plows a number of trails in the network, including the Eastern Promenade, Back Cove Trail, trails in Deering Oaks Park, Fore River Parkway Trail, and Bayside Trail. After a storm the city prioritizes sidewalks and routes to school. A map of the city’s plow routes can be found here. The South Portland Greenbelt is not plowed in the winter.
Our trail map is sold at our office and at several businesses around town - see the list of local retailers here. It’s also available for free with membership!
Yes, there are a few! Check out our digital trail map to find boat launches on the trails. Please do not store your boats on the trails.
Absolutely! And we encourage it. Visit our digital trail map, click on a trailhead, then click on “More info” to get to the trail details page where you can find which METRO bus line is nearest to the trailhead. Additionally, METRO bus data is integrated into Google Maps, and you can check on the status of your bus with the Southern Maine Transit Tracker or third party transit apps.
Most of our downtown Portland trails have bike racks available, on or near the trails, including Baxter Woods, Evergreen Cemetery, Eastern Prom Trail, Western Prom, Bayside Trail, and the Back Cove Trail. Most other trails should have a place to lock a bike up using a cable or chain lock.
It's a little complicated. Because e-bikes are still relatively new, there aren't any local laws about where the bikes can and can't be used. Right now, we're deferring to state law (https://www.bikelaw.com/2019/06/maines-new-e-bike-laws/), which states that e-bikes can be used on paved trails (the Eastern Prom, Back Cove, Bayside Trail, The Greenbelt, & Fore River Parkway Trail) and byways (the trail behind PATHS). We anticipate municipal laws taking effect in the relatively near future, and our policies will adapt from there.
Please don’t feed ducks or any wildlife. People food is not good for animals. There are numerous ecological reasons why feeding wildlife is bad for the environment. Read more here.
You can fill out a Fix It! Portland request on the City of Portland website. Or contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 207-808-5400.
Absolutely! Feel free to clean up any litter you see. If you want to get more involved in keeping our trails clean and green, sign up to be a trail steward here.
Volunteer! Join us for one of our public volunteer days, which we host monthly from April to November. Check our calendar for upcoming dates and join us!