adventures
A ride through the autumn woods.

Take 5: Portland-Area Mountain Bike Trails

By Tom Richardson

Portland has become a mountain-biking mecca—small wonder when you consider the area’s youthful population and abundance of state parks. Here’s a short list of great trails to try. For detailed information of area resources and maps, visit the New England Mountain Bike Association website.

Presumpscot River Trail
This multi-use, well-marked trail system runs along both sides of the Presumpscot, and is maintained by Portland Trails. Features include challenging technical sections and climbs, as well as wide views of the river, forest, and a set of rapids.

Lowell Nature Preserve
The Lowell Nature Preserve in Windham is a multi-use trail system that begins at the Windham Fire Station on Blackstrap Road. Terrain includes rolling hills, steep technical sections, and stream crossings. Lots of trails to explore, with links to additional trails in the Atherton Hill area.

Libby Hill Forest
This multi-use, nine-mile trail network in Gray was designed by Olympian John Morton. Trails are open year-round, with parking is available at the end of the paved portion of Libby Hill Road. The main entrance to the trail is behind the Middle School. Detailed information and maps can be found on the website.

Fore River Sanctuary/Stroudwater
The Fore River Sanctuary, also maintained by Portland Trails, is located within Portland city limits. A gravel and boardwalk trail runs along the Fore River, through wooded and marsh areas east to Thompson’s Point. Some trails are commuter-bike friendly, but mountain bikers will feel right at home (although perhaps not challenged).

Bradbury Mountain
Bradbury Mountain State Park offers some of the best and most varied singletrack in the Portland area, according to NEMBA, with miles of well-manicured trail in Pownal, west of Portland. Trails are maintained by the Friends of Bradbury Mountain, local bike shops and clubs, and park staff. Trails range from steep climbs and highly technical sections to easy rolling hills, open fields, and a climb up Bradbury Mountain itself. Camping is also available in the park.