The 6 Best Hikes Near Portland Maine – Let’s Explore in 2022

In Maine, fall is my favorite season. I adore the crispness of a new group syllabus, the lower temps, and the changing leaves. Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities in Maine. But the question here is where to hike in Maine?

Maine is a fantastic area to go into the woods and climb some mountains to witness spectacular sights of the amazing environment we have in this state, with hundreds of hills, mountains, and coastline cliffs. And the amazing thing is that there are kids-friendly hikes in Maine. All these things together make it a place worth visiting.

The majority of Maine’s mountains are found in the state’s western foothills or northern regions. Many people in the Greater Portland area, as well as tourists who typically visit the state’s southern part, must travel a significant distance to get there.

With temperatures in the 60s so far October is the ideal time to go out of the city or the “burbs” and visit some of Maine’s quieter, more scenic locations, all within an hour’s drive of Portland. The majority of these walks are moderately difficult and suitable for families. If you are visiting Maine for a very short period of time, we will discuss the best hikes within one hour of Portland.

My hiking companion, Tommy, is a dog, therefore the treks are also dog-friendly. Just bring your rope and a couple of poop bags to clean up after your dog.

6 Best Hikes Near Portland Maine

Here are the 6 best hikes near Portland Maine:

  1. Southwest Ridge Trail
  2. Harraskeet and White Pines Loop
  3. Tote Road Loop
  4. Morse Mountain to Seawall Beach
  5. Burnt Meadow Mountain Trail
  6.  Mackworth Island Trail

Let’s explore these places one by one:

1. Southwest Ridge Trail – Most Stunning Views

The Southwest Ridge Trail, located near Portland, is a lovely trek that is well worth the hour-long picturesque journey through Southwestern Maine. It has the classic Northeast terrain: rocky, bouldery paths through a pine forest, that render some of the steeper sections tough.

Southwest Ridge Trail - Most Stunning Views

You’ll find a lot of height at first, but the trail straightens out around halfway and you’ll be rewarded with some stunning views of the nearby lakes and mountains.

The trail opens up to provide a huge panoramic vista of the White Mountains’ New Hampshire range at the peak, making the work well worth it. If you’re trekking on a hot day, bring plenty of water.

  • Length: 5.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain:  1,984 feet
  • Fee: None
  • Dog Friendly: Yes, it is friendly.

2. Harraskeet and White Pines Loop – Amazing Beach sight

Within a short stretch of route in Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, you can see a lot of beautiful scenery (wilderness, coastline, trails, and views). Hike through a grove of White Pines and Hemlocks before skirting Casco Bay. The trail will ultimately circle you along with a beautiful location on the beach with multiple islands visible in the distance.

Harraskeet and White Pines Loop - Amazing Beach sight

It’s only a 10-minute drive from Freeport’s town center and 30 minutes from downtown Portland. Get an early start on your hike so you can stop by the L.L. Bean flagship shop, have a bite to eat, or stop by the Maine Beverage Company for a beer.

  • Length: 2 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain:  173 feet
  • Fee: $4 for locals and $6 for the outsiders
  • Dog Friendly: Yes, it is friendly.

3. Tote Road Loop – Adventure for the Bikers

Bradbury Mountain State Park is a quick 30-minute drive north of Portland’s downtown area. Its availability and scenery make it one of the greatest hikes around Portland, Maine, with campsites, picnic spaces, and paths open to hikers and bikers alike.

Tote Road Loop - Adventure for the Bikers

This is an excellent option for anyone looking for a short day trek in a gorgeous place with panoramic views but doesn’t want to go too far. Hike the Tote Road Loop for a quick overview of the park and a rest stop at the peak.

  • Length: 1.9 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 334 feet
  • Fee: $4 for locals and $6 for the outsiders
  • Dog Friendly: Yes, it is friendly.

4. Morse Mountain to Seawall Beach

Morse Mountain to Seawall Beach is a beginner-friendly, entertaining hike from a little “mountain” (more like a hill) to the coast, and it’s possibly the most gorgeous simple hike on our list. The river’s ending and the marshes beneath, and also the sea, are all visible along the trip.

Morse Mountain to Seawall Beach

The walk culminates at a sandy beach where you can swim, picnic, or simply relax under the sun and breeze. According to several locals, this trail may be fairly bug-infested, so carry and wear more than enough insect repellent on your trip.

  • Length: 3.8 miles
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Elevation Gain: 433 feet
  • Fee: N/A
  • Dog Friendly: no

5. Burnt Meadow Mountain Trail

With its varied topography, rock scrambles, wildflowers, and panoramic views, the Burnt Meadow Mountain Trail is a must-see. The trailhead is approximately an hour’s drive north of Portland, towards the New Hampshire border, but it’s well worth the trip. One of the best day walks near Portland, Maine is this one.

Burnt Meadow Mountain Trail

Hike up the Blue Trail to obtain a view of the White Mountain Range, including Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the Northeast, which is likely to be snow-covered. Then return down the Yellow Trail for even more spectacular views.

Because the Burnt Meadows Mountain Trails are exposed and sunny, pack lots of sun protection, such as sunscreen and a hat or bandana. To enjoy the summit, stay hydrated with water and snacks. On the way down, the Yellow blazes aren’t well indicated, so keep vigilant and mindful of your surroundings.

Before returning to Portland, make a pit stop at Lone Pine Brewing in Gorham for a cold one.

  • Length: 3.6 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 1,391feet
  • Fee: None
  • Dog Friendly: Yes

6. Mackworth Island Trail

Mackworth Island, located just off the coast of Portland, is a great place to go for a quick hike without having to go far. This flat, simple walk is ideal for a single hike or a family outing, with shady forest trails that provide tranquil spectacular views lake. The beach is also a great place to have a picnic or have a talk with friends and family.

Mackworth Island Trail

This short trail offers plenty of variety by combining coasts, woodlands, and rocky regions. Mackworth Island is one of Portland, Maine’s top treks for a low-effort, low-impact adventure in nature.

Entrance to Mackworth Island State Park is free, but there is a fee.

  • Length: 1.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal
  • Fee: None
  • Dog Friendly: Yes

Best Hikes within an Hour of Portland

1.  Pleasant Mountain

One of my favorite hikes is up Pleasant Mountain. It’s probably because the Shawnee Peak Ski Area is where I started to ski as a kid and later gave ski lessons and volunteered as a ski patroller during my high school and university years. The mountain is much more than a local ski hill that produces new ski bunnies every year.

Pleasant Mountain

There are some fantastic walks in this area. The mountain rises to a height of 2006 feet along the Denmark-Bridgton town line. It’s a long, lonely mountain range that runs north-south for around four miles.

2. Douglas Mountain

In the town of Sebago, Douglas Mountain is close to Pleasant Mountain. On a clear day, the Presidential Range in New Hampshire, the Atlantic Ocean, Pleasant Mountain, and Sebago Lake can all be seen from the climb, which is short and family-friendly. Douglas Mountain was purchased and donated to the town of Sebago by the Nature Conservancy in 1997. The area is maintained by the town, and a $3 parking fee is charged to assist fund the upkeep.

3. Rattlesnake Mountain

The southwestern region of Casco is home to Rattlesnake Mountain. For local camp groups, it’s a popular hike. Because of public overuse of the region in 1992, the southern entrance to the mountain along Plains Road is now closed.

Rattlesnake Mountain

(A reader has emailed me to inform me that the Plains Road entry is now open, allowing you to complete the entire 3.8-mile journey.) Another incentive to keep your rubbish (including dog poop) off the pathways!

The Bri-Mar Trail (Sheep Pasture) off of Route 85 provides access to Rattlesnake Mountain. On the left side of Route 85, there is a tiny parking area, although you can also park on the roadside.

4. Bradbury Mountain State Park

Pownal’s Bradbury Mountain is part of an 800-acre state park. The park was established in the 1940s when the federal government purchased the area in 1939. It used to offer skiing with a rope tow in the 1940s! Bradbury Mountain State Park is one of Maine’s five original state parks. It is open from 9 a.m. to sunset every day of the year.

Hiking trails in Maine with waterfalls

Maine is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true, with stunning wilderness panoramas, breathtaking waterfalls, and Mother Nature’s gifts on full show.

One of the best ways to appreciate Maine’s natural beauty is to go waterfall trekking. Pack a picnic basket and your swimwear, buckle up your shoes, grab some bug spray, and walk out into the fresh mountain air.

1. Township D, Angel Falls

Angel Falls might be difficult to locate. A little sign placed high on a pillar marks the parking lot. Due to the steep slope, driving the dirt road to the car park, which also serves as a back road, can be challenging.

Township D, Angel Falls

2. Small Falls, Township E

Small Falls is a park-like rest stop with public restrooms (pit toilets), picnic areas, and propane grills. There are several places to sunbathe and swim. Locals and visitors alike will stake out their seats and settle in for the day on a lovely day.

3. Grafton Notch State Park’s Screw Auger Falls

Everyone’s favorite place to spend a lazy Sunday is Screw Auger Falls in Grafton Notch State Park. There’s plenty of parking, picnic tables, and pit toilets, and it’s easy to find. However, because it is renowned by both residents and visitors alike, it can get crowded on weekends.

Grafton Notch State Park's Screw Auger Falls

How far is Portland Maine from Acadia National park?

If you drive this short distance without stopping, here’s the easy answer.

  • 171 miles (275 kilometers) of nonstop driving
  • Time to drive: 2 hours and 51 minutes

Even while you can ride this length straight through, stopping along the route might be more fascinating. You can determine how long it would take if you drove with stops by scrolling down.

Best Hikes Near Portland Maine – FAQs

Does Maine have good hiking?
Yes, Maine is known for being the best hiking place that it has.
What famous hiking trail begins or ends in Maine?
If you read the article carefully, you will find the best place to hike mountains in Portland, Maine.

 

Conclusion

Some of the waterfalls are tucked away in the forests, with nothing in the way of roadside signage. Because cell coverage can be weak or nonexistent near the falls, download your directions as soon as you can.

Before you go into the woods, make sure you’re prepared. Water, food, insect repellent, sunscreen, and suitable seasonal apparel should all be kept on hand. When it relates to your vehicle, bring a couple of blankets and make sure you have a spare.

Exploring Maine’s stunning waterfalls is a fantastic way to take in the natural splendor of New England while also getting some good exercise.

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