Hiking in Portland Maine – 12 Amazing Places to Hike in Portland Maine

There are so many options for hiking in Portland Maine that you’re really spoiled for choice. I had a difficult time picking twelve of the best hikes or places to hike in and around Portland Maine.

Hiking is one of the best ways to relieve stress and recharge your batteries while surrounded by nature. It is usually free, or entrance fees to parks are very cheap, and you will instantly feel better afterward.

Man hiking in Portland Maine and viewing the lighthouse.

I believe that putting on your hiking boots and hitting the trails is one of the best ways to de-stress. I also think that Portland with its waterfalls, mountains, and beautiful scenery is the perfect place to do so.

Portland is the biggest city in Maine and although it is a coastal town, you’ll find some stunning trails nearby. On my list, I even included a few that require a bit of a drive, but each one is so worth it.

Top 12 Spots To Go Hiking In Portland Maine

As I’ve already mentioned, there are numerous trails for hiking in Portland Maine itself. However, I have included some that are within driving distance from the town for some variety as well.

Each hiking trail on this list has something unique to offer and I’ve categorized them according to skill level. There are easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes, and I recommend trying them all!

Easy Trails for Hiking in Portland Maine:

The easy trails for hiking in Portland Maine will usually be fairly level and may even be paved. These trails are suitable for novice hikers through to experienced hikers and are a family-friendly option.

If your children are no strangers to hiking, they can attempt moderate hikes as well. However, the easy hikes are suitable for all ages and skill levels and some are even pet-friendly!

1. Summit Trail at Bradbury Mountain State Park

Summit Trail - hiking in Portland Maine

Bradbury Mountain State Park is a popular hiking destination in Portland Maine because of the abundance of trails. There are at least 21 miles of trails in the park alone, and it’s open daily from 09:00 until sunset.

The Summit Trail is the first of the easy trails for hiking in Portland Maine on my list. It’s a local favorite among hikers of all skill levels and you’ll get to see some beautiful wildlife.

The trail is easy and family-friendly, which means that you can take the kids and even leashed dogs along! I highly suggest going in the spring as that is when a large concentration of hawks migrate through the area.

Remember to pack your binoculars and get the family engaged in hawk-watching. Of course, the best thing about the Summit Trail is the summit.

The view from the top is amazing and you can see Casco Bay and Portland’s entire skyline. The park and trail are very popular, so you’re sure to have company along the way. This also makes it one of the safer trails to attempt should anything go wrong along the way.

Length of Hike: 1.4-mile loop

Pet Friendly: Yes

Admission Fee: Adults: $4.50 | Children 5 – 11 years old: $1.00 | Children under 5: Free

2. Back Cove Trail

Black Cove Trail - hiking in Portland Maine

Back Cove Trail is easily one of the favorite places that locals go for hiking in Portland Maine. It is a flat and easy trail that is suitable for people of all ages.

It is one of the best family-friendly outdoor activities because it is right in the city and dog-friendly. Just remember to keep your pet on a leash and be mindful of others also using the trail.

The trail is right by Back Bay and it is a stunningly beautiful place. The scenery includes the calm ebb and flow of the water as it gently laps at the shore. There’s plenty of parking, but it can get crowded, so I would suggest going early if you’d like some space.

If you’re looking for something outdoorsy to do in order to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery, this is it. It is a very green and beautiful trail and the water lapping at the shore completes the picture.

You can expect to see the Portland skyline and simply revel in nature while never having to leave the city. I’d suggest taking on this trail in the springtime as that’s when it will be the greenest and luscious.

Length of Hike: 3.6 miles of gravel-covered trail

Pet Friendly: Yes

Admission Fee: Free

3. Mackworth Island State Park Trail – Hiking In Portland Maine

Mackworth Island State Park - hiking in Portland Maine

If you’d like to remain in the city of Portland while still exploring the trails, this one is for you. It is one of the easy trails on this list, but definitely one of the most beautiful.

The trail is located on Mackworth Island which is just off the coast of Portland. It is a short and flat trail which makes it suitable for all skill levels, so bring the kids along.

The great benefit of this trail is the actual island it is on. Of course, you’ll see the beautiful Casco Bay and its many islands, but also the scenery of the island itself. The trail winds its way along rocky areas, wooded areas, and the coast, so you’ll see a bit of everything.

I suggest attempting this trail when the weather heats up a little, as the island is perfect for lazy afternoons. You can have a lovely hike and then head to the beach afterward for a cool-down dip and picnic. And even though it’s on an island, a causeway connects the mainland to it, so it’s easy to get to.

Length of Hike: 1.5-mile loop

Pet Friendly: Yes

Admission Fee: Adults: $4 | Children 5 – 11 years old: $1.00 | Children under 5: Free


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4. Pond Meadow Trail at the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center

The last of the easy hikes on my list is the Pond Meadow Trail located at Gilsland Farm. This is a very short hike and, therefore, it is suitable for families with small children.

The trail is also a birdwatcher’s paradise with an abundance of Canada Geese and Meadowlarks to see along the way. The pond at the end of the trail is the home of a fair few muskrats and wetland birds as well.

With generally even footing and a lot of shade, this trail is a breeze and you won’t get too hot. The biggest benefit is that the trail winds all along a river, so it is generally quite cool and pleasant.

The trees here are a sight to behold with towering white birch and maple trees. There are also red oaks and hemlocks that are centuries old and that make for beautiful scenery.

Children will delight in seeing the apple orchards as the trail winds its way down to the pond. Cool your heels at the end of the hike in the beautiful pond and take snacks along for a little picnic.

Length of Hike: 0.6 miles

Pet Friendly: No

Admission Fee: Free

Moderate Trails for Hiking in Portland Maine

There are many trails that are fairly easy for any hiker of any skill level to attempt. The trails that I consider to be moderate for hiking in Portland Maine aren’t necessarily difficult.

They are also not necessarily too difficult for a novice or inexperienced hiker to attempt. The only thing that may differentiate a moderate trail from an easy one may be the incline or the footing.

There may also be less shade on these trails or they could be longer. Usually, I would say that moderate trails are perfectly fine for novice hikers, but maybe not for children.

Unless, of course, I expressly mention that it is still a family-friendly hike.

5. Mount Agamenticus

View from top of Mount Agamenticus in York, Maine

The first of the moderate hikes on my list is a little outside of Portland Maine, about an hour’s drive. However, it is worth a mention because of the many trails it offers and the spectacular vistas.

Although the hike is fairly short, the elevation gain is about 300 feet and the top is a bald mountain. The benefit of this is that, on a clear day, you can see for miles around.

This mountain climbing trail skirts the ocean, which is what makes it so beautiful. Of course, you can drive up the mountain, but that is much less fun and not what this article’s about.

Once you’re at the top, there is a fire tower and a riding stable, and an amazing view. If you’re at the top, you can see the coastal plains of York County, the oceanfront, and the surrounding forests.

I highly suggest attempting this hike in the fall because the colors of the surrounding forests will be stunning. It will also not be as hot and you’ll be more comfortable while climbing up the mountain.

Length of Hike: 1.7 miles

Pet Friendly: Yes

Admission Fee: Free

6. Douglas Mountain

Man with dog on hiking trail

The next moderate trail on my list is also about an hour’s drive from Portland, but so worth it. Of course, mountain climbing may not be your idea of hiking, but these mountains are fairly easy.

If you’re looking for an easier mountain climb, then Mount Agamenticus is your best bet. However, if you’re on the hunt for a slightly more challenging route, then I recommend Douglas Mountain.

Even though it is a little more challenging, this trail is still suitable for the novice hiker with grit. The elevation gain is 471 feet, but the incline is steady.

This means that you’ll definitely get a workout, but it won’t be too difficult to manage. Additionally, roots and rocks on the trail can cause uneven footing, which is why I rate this trail as moderate.

Finally, if you do attempt this trail, you’ll be rewarded with views of Sebago Lake, forests, and nearby hills. This trail is also dog-friendly, but keep them on a leash.

Additionally, because hunting is allowed, you and your dog should wear orange to be safe. Or simply go on a Sunday, when hunting is not in session.

Length of Hike: 1.8 miles

Pet Friendly: Yes

Admission Fee: $3


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7. White Trail at the Fore River Sanctuary – Hiking In Portland Maine

Wooden bridge seen on hiking trip.

The White Trail is a fairly easy to moderate hike on my list and it is located in the Fore River Sanctuary. This is one of the most popular spots for hiking in Portland Maine, particularly among the locals.

So, with that in mind, I’d recommend going early on weekends to avoid the crowds. The really great thing about this trail is that dogs are allowed off-leash, but do be mindful of others.

This means that you can let your dog run free if they are well-behaved and won’t be a nuisance. I am a big supporter of allowing dogs to run off-leash, but you have to have a well-socialized and friendly dog.

The Fore River Sanctuary is a nature preserve of 85 acres and it is home to Portland’s only natural waterfall. The White Trail will lead you right to the waterfall which is a great place to stop.

It is a great place with diverse habitats and boasts incredible birdwatching opportunities. I would say that this is a moderate trail purely because of the excitement of the wooden bridges and towpaths. There are also a few inclines, but the footing is fairly level.

Length of Hike: 3.3 miles

Pet Friendly: Yes

Admission Fee: Free

8. Bald Peak Trail at Pleasant Mountain

View from Pleasant Mountain when hiking in Portland Maine.

The last of the moderate trails on my list is the Bald Peak Trail that is located at Pleasant Mountain. And one of the main reasons why this trail is on the moderate list is just because it’s fairly lengthy.

Pleasant Mountain is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, particularly for hiking. And there are so many trails to choose from, but the Bald Peak Trail is sure to tickle your fancy.

The trail kicks off with a steep incline, but it does even out after a while. I particularly enjoyed this trail because it crossed several brooks and these are beautiful and calming. It is also a good place to soak weary feet should you get tired along the way.

The good thing about this trail is that it is popular, so you’re sure to see fellow hikers as you go. I always believe that this makes a trail a whole lot safer should something go wrong and you need assistance.

Of course, many people don’t hike alone, but if you do, I’d suggest a well-trafficked trail like this one.

Length of Hike: 2.4 miles

Pet Friendly: Yes

Admission Fee: Free

Challenging Trails For Hiking in Portland Maine

The last section of this article will focus on the more challenging hikes that I discovered in and around Portland. These trails are either longer, steeper, have less level footing, or have little shade.

Sometimes they include obstacles or they simply may be too strenuous for the novice hiker. I would not recommend a challenging hike to a family with small children unless they are experienced hikers.

The best hikes for families would be the easy to moderate hikes. The challenging hikes will be better suited to those that have already got a few hikes under their belt.

9. Rattlesnake Mountain

Female Hiker on rocky mountain terrain.

I am kicking off the challenging hikes on this list with Rattlesnake Mountain. Although it is not in Portland itself, it is only 45 minutes by car to the parking lot.

It is a very popular site for campers who enjoy coming in groups to explore the trails. Although some of the trails used to be closed due to public misuse, it has since been reopened.

I suggest using this as motivation to treat the trails with respect. The best way that you can do so is by carrying your trash with you and disposing of it responsibly. You should also take nothing with you but memories and photographs, so leave the plants be.

The land is privately owned but open to hikers of all ages, as long as they are fairly sure-footed. The trail gets very steep in places and there are spots where the footing is full of roots and rocks.

However, the trail is fairly short and the views are beautiful, so if you’re up for a challenge, it’s so worth it.

Length of Hike: 3.8 miles

Pet Friendly: No

Admission Fee: Free


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10. Mount Katahdin and Knife’s Edge

Woman hiking along Knife Edge Trail - hiking in Portland Maine

The Mount Katahdin hike is not in Portland and it is a fair drive to get there, but I just had to include it. The reason being is that it is the most famous and the most challenging hike in Maine.

The hike can easily take a full day and it is fairly strenuous, but if you’re into hiking, I highly recommend it. This is something that every hiker should have on their bucket list and try to tick it off!

The elevation of the mountain is approximately 5269 feet and the ridgeline is known as Knife’s Edge. The ridgeline has steep and rocky drop-offs on either side, which is, of course, very thrilling. And that is why I would only suggest this hike to experienced and relatively seasoned hikers.

The hike does require some scrambling and you do need stamina. I would only recommend attempting this hike on a still and clear day because otherwise, it can be dangerous.

The going is steep and rocky and there are inclines and boulders to navigate. However, it is certainly a thrilling hike and the view from the summit makes it all worth it.

Length of Hike: 8.1 miles

Pet Friendly: No

Admission Fee: $5

11. Blackstrap Hill Community Forest

Woman getting ready to go hiking in snow.

The good thing about the Blackstrap Hill Community Forest is that you can choose the type of hike you’d like. For the purposes of this article, I have opted to include it in my more challenging hikes list.

This is because there are so many easy to moderate trails that are suitable for all skill levels, but only a few that are considered really challenging.

Some of the trails in the forest can take you up to five hours to complete, and the going can get rough. If you’re really up for a challenge, you can attempt the hikes in winter when the ice will take over.

You will need ice spikes on your boots, but it will be very thrilling and definitely a hike to remember. The forest is just 21 minutes from Portland and boasts beautiful scenery along the trails.

This is one of those trails that are simply better during the colder months. It will be more challenging, but it will definitely be more fun. And the foliage in fall in the forest is truly a beautiful sight to behold.

Length of Hike: 10.9 miles of networked trails in total

Pet Friendly: Yes

Admission Fee: Free

12. Presumpscot River Preserve

Woman walking by river - hiking in Portland Maine

The final trail on my list of challenging hikes in Portland Maine is one that winds along the Presumpscot River. This is a particularly good spot if you love watersports because of the river conditions.

It can be a good idea to hike and then reward yourself by going canoeing or kayaking in the river. I classify this trail as fairly challenging because of the hilly and rocky terrain and because of ice in winter.

The trail does get very slippery during the colder months because ice can lie in wait under mulch or snow. If you do choose to hike this trail, I would suggest investing in ice spikes for your boots.

Additionally, dogs are allowed off-leash on this trail, and their joyful running may just knock you off your feet! However, I see it as a reminder to be mindful of your surroundings when out in nature.

Length of Hike: 2.5 miles

Pet Friendly: Yes

Admission Fee: Free


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Hiking In Portland Maine

In this article, I have compiled the top twelve hikes that I consider worth exploring in and around Portland. Although there are a few that will require you to drive to get there, rest assured that they are worth it.

There are some trails that are better suited for novice hikers and others for experienced hikers. However, all will take you to beautiful parts of the country.

Conclusion

Hiking in Portland Maine is one of the favorite pastimes of locals and visitors alike. It is one of the best ways to connect with nature, de-stress, and forget about your day-to-day worries.

I will always highly recommend a hiking holiday regardless of the season. And that is because each season has so much to offer, just remember your ice spikes in winter!

If you have any vacations coming up or want a getaway nearby be sure to check out our website TravelCroc.com.