Cycling in Maine can let you connect with nature and get crisp, fresh air as you travel on some of the most scenic routes in the northeast.
The state is filled with rocky, coastal landscapes, green forests, and picturesque mountains, which can all be experienced on many of these trails – sometimes all at once!
As well as beautiful views, the Pine Tree State is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including moose – the state animal. In fact, there are more moose per square mile in Maine than in any other state.
Whether you’re mountain biking or road cycling, here are some of the best rides to check out.
7 Best Maine Biking Trails And Rides
1. Down East Sunrise Trail, ME (best off-road ride)
The Down East Sunrise Trail is an off-road route that stretches 87 miles through natural scenery between Dennysville and Ellsworth. The trail forms part of the East Coast Greenway that runs all along the east coast down to Key West, FL, and is the Greenway’s longest section of off-road trail.
The ride travels through forests, marshes, and coastal villages, with opportunities to see moose, eagles, deer, beavers, and various other wildlife. There are several areas to stop along the route, including places to find restrooms and lodgings.
There is parking at either end of the trail. Parking at Ellsworth is just past mile marker 1, at Washington Junction. At the Dennysville end, there’s a large parking lot just past mile marker 87, at Ayers Junction.
Surface Type: Off-road/gravel (mostly off-road)
Ride Difficulty: Medium – long-distance flat route.
2. Acadia National Park, ME (best road ride)
Acadia National Park has lots of scenic bike routes, both on the road and off, making it a good place to spend a couple of days. There are 45 miles of gravel carriage roads that can be ideal for family biking.
For a scenic road route, following the 27-mile Park Loop Road can give you a diverse view of the national park as you ride along the coast, through the forests, and up mountains.
The bike ride features steep climbs and on the road with traffic. Some sections are one-way with two lanes and others are two-way with no bike lanes. It can be better to ride this route early in the morning to avoid peak traffic (10 am to 4 pm).
Surface Type: Sealed
Ride Difficulty: Medium – paved road with traffic and steep climbs.
3. Kennebec River Rail Trail (best paved trail)
The Kennebec River Rail Trail stretches from the Waterfront Park in Augusta to the small city of Gardiner. At just over six miles, this paved trail can be ideal for families and beginners. The entire trail is also traffic-free.
The trail runs alongside the Kennebec River, offering scenic views and chances to see wildlife. It also passes through the small towns of Hallowell and Farmingdale as the route follows along a former railroad that used to link Augusta with Portland. The old railroad tracks are still there at the side of the path.
There is parking available at both ends of the route, along with places to grab snacks and drinks. It can be an easy out-and-back ride.
Surface Type: Paved
Ride Difficulty: Easy – short ride on a flat route.
4. Oak Knoll Trail (best mtb ride)
The Oak Knoll Trail is a three-mile mountain biking trail in the Carrabassett Valley. The region has many mountain biking trails which can make it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly winter sports with it being the home of Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Resort.
The Oak Knoll Trail runs from the trailhead at Campbell Field to the Stratton Brook Hut, where you can stay overnight, grab a drink or sit down for a meal.
This single-track ride features lots of twisting turns and steep climbs through forests and can also be ridden on a fat-tire bike in the snow. The incredible 360-degree views from the top can be worth the climb. You can see across the Bigelow Mountain Range, including views of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Surface Type: Off-road
Ride Difficulty: Medium – steep off-road climbs and descents.
5. Aroostook Valley Trail
The Aroostook Valley Trail runs for 28 miles and stretches from Washburn to the Canadian border, just northeast of Fort Fairfield. The off-road path is a former railroad and travels alongside the Aroostook River and various streams, past farmland, and through woodland.
The gravel path is traffic-free and can be ideal for all cyclists, with the route passing through several towns along the way. However, much of the trail passes through remote areas so facilities can be limited outside of the towns.
This trail can also be linked with the Bangor and Aroostook Trail in the towns of Washburn and Caribou, which can take you through moose country on a 62-mile backcountry route.
Surface Type: Gravel
Ride Difficulty: Medium – flat route through remote areas.
6. Back Cove Trail
The Back Cove Trail can be an easy route for families and beginners as it’s away from traffic and flat. The three-mile packed-gravel trail loops around the Back Cove estuary, along the water’s edge, with stunning views of the Portland skyline.
This is a multi-use trail and because of its urban location, it can often be busy with pedestrians and dog-walkers. The trail can be connected to the Eastern Prom Trail that can extend your ride by four miles out and back, as it can take you past East End Beach to Portland Harbor.
The Eastern Prom Trail is a paved multi-use trail that’s also traffic-free.
Surface Type: Gravel and paved
Ride Difficulty: Easy – short, family-friendly off-road route.
7. Bradbury Mountain State Park
Bradbury Mountain State Park has several miles of trails to suit a range of abilities. Most of the trails are designed as multi-use trails, so expect to see hikers, horses and other users on some of the trails.
The many trails can be linked to create a personal out-and-back or looped route. Many of the west-side trails climb to the summit of Bradbury Mountain, where you can check out the fantastic views from the rocky ledge.
The park has plenty of parking, offers excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing, and you can camp overnight to make the most of the trails.
Surface Type: Off-road
Ride Difficulty: Medium – some steep, narrow single-track.
Bike Rentals And Tours Around Maine
There are a few places where you can rent bikes or take a bike tour to check out some of Maine’s most popular sights. However, for the Down East Sunrise Trail, it can be best to bring your own bike.
- Acadia Bike Rentals (Acadia National Park – rentals and tours)
- Island Bike Rental (Acadia National Park – rentals)
- Gorham Bike & Ski (Kennebec River, Bradbury Mountain – rentals)
- Allspeed Carrabassett Valley (Oak Knoll – rentals)
- Nordic Heritage Center (Aroostook Valley Trail – rentals)
- The EnCyclePedia (Back Cove Trail – rentals and tours)
Maine Bike Laws
We’ve included some of Maine’s bike laws but it’s recommended that you do your own research. Our information is simply for reference and is not legal advice.
- Helmets must be worn by cyclists under the age of 16.
- Lights are required at night. This includes a white headlight plus rear red reflectors and foot/pedal reflectors.
- Bicycles can use most roads in Maine, except divided highways and other roads that specifically prohibit bicycles.
- Sidewalk cycling is allowed except where local or municipal rules prohibit it.
- Maine does not have a specific DUI law for cycling. However, if cycling while intoxicated you may be breaking other laws if you’re not in control of your bike.
- Group riding on roads is generally allowed up to a maximum of two abreast. However, many local areas/routes may limit riding to single-file only.
- E-bikes are generally allowed wherever traditional bikes are allowed, except on sidewalks. There may also be some paths where e-bikes are prohibited.
Maine can be a fantastic place to cycle, with miles of trails, both off-road and on, that are mostly surrounded by nature and great views.
Whether you’re planning to embark on an epic ride along the entire East Coast or you want to bike through the woods and into the mountains, you can begin your journey in Maine.
Let us know what you think and if you know a better route leave us a comment to tell us about it.