Where to Bike in Portland, 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. 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.

Chebeague Island
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, it is approximately 10 miles around the island, and return to Portland via the Casco Bay ferry. Summer Feet Cycling offers a self guided package featuring bike rentals, ferry tickets and a gift card towards 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 you 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

There are 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 fairly 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 a number of 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 7:00a.m. – 3:30p.m. weekdays. The cemetery is open daily 7:00a.m.-4:30p.m

The cemetery features a network of moderately sloping trails, some paved, 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, as well as 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 contribute to 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

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 as well as offering several one day rides in Maine including the lobster ride and the women’s ride.
 

Sharon Kalember, Pedal the Coast

“This was a vacation without any planning. We didn’t have to do anything—not even lift our bikes or fill our water bottles. Our guides were so accommodating. Each day we’d arrive at the destination and everything would already be taken care of, so all we had to do was go to the bar or to our room!

We really enjoyed the wine and cheese reception at sunset looking over Pemaquid Point. It was amazingly beautiful. Our guides picked local cheeses and nice wines that you would not normally choose. They always recommended great local restaurants, and we could order anything off the menu! When we all had lunch together we still had lots of choices, so we tried things we don’t usually find in Florida, like whoopie pies. There was a lot of local flavor on this trip.

The inns were phenomenal. We stayed two nights in Bar Harbor, which was just incredible. The first day it rained but it was still a great day, because our guides, Nick and Paul, took us on a van ride along the route and then to a really nice restaurant for lunch in Acadia National Park.

The cycling was lovely, and there were gorgeous views around every corner. The towns we rode through were beautiful, and we took a lot of back roads, seeing things we wouldn’t normally get a chance to see.”

 

Carol Walsh, Camden

“We are already looking forward to our next trip! The cycling was excellent. You can go as far as you want and then ride in the van. There is no pressure, no bullying, and no questions asked. You just go at your own pace.

The guides were so supportive and accommodating. They helped my husband fix his flat tires and repaired another couples’ bike that was damaged in shipping. The cycling routes get you away from traffic, so you’re mostly on secondary roads and you get to see more of the countryside. We saw cattle, horses, and barns but I always felt close to civilization, just not the touristy areas. The guides kept us together and to a schedule but we had some down time to walk around Camden and relax. They really go out of their way to make sure your trip is pleasant and that you are enjoying yourself.

We stayed at the Blackberry Inn and it was just top-notch. They treat you like royalty there. I wanted to be pampered—and I was! I felt like everyone was bending over backward to make sure our trip was great. The restaurants our guides chose were wonderful and the food was just fantastic everywhere. One of the general stores packed us a huge lunch that we ate at a park overlooking the ocean.

I really enjoyed the sunset cruise, the breeze, and the captain’s funny stories. But what was absolutely amazing about that sail was the moon rise – it was almost just like a sunrise—gorgeous.”

Steve Slack, Quebec

“My wife and I chose the Quebec trip after having such a great time on the Maine’s Gold Coast trip, which was just incredible. At one point while we were riding I thought to myself, ‘Does vacation get any better than this? Does life get any better than this?’ The whole experience was an adventure.

It’s important to have a guide that is sensitive to the group so that we can all ride at our own pace and enjoy the experience. That’s what a Summer Feet trip delivers—they create a fun atmosphere and it’s a critical part of the dynamic. Their guides are just unbelievably accommodating. They did everything they could possibly do to make the trip as great as it could be. They told us, ‘This is your trip, and it’s a vacation, not a death march!’ They were really flexible with everyone’s needs.

I give Norm kudos for putting together a top notch group of folks that care about the experience they provide for their guests. And you really do feel like you are their guests. They make these trips become the type of experience you want them to be.”