Why is a trail network important?

Trail networks are a vital resource. They connect individuals with nature as well as businesses, neighborhoods, schools, and other destinations. Together, trails, streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, and other public spaces create walking and biking infrastructure that improves the health and well-being of communities. They also support active lifestyles, enhance the livability of an area, and strengthen the regional economy by serving as an amenity for residents and property owners.

Trail networks offer many environmental benefits too. In addition to providing humans a low-impact opportunity to connect with the natural world, they link ecosystems and fragmented habitats in ways that help protect land and wildlife.

Want to learn more about why trails are an amazing environmental and community asset? Check out Rails-to-Trails' Benefits of Trails web page.

What does our trail work look like?

Portland Trails serves the 230,000 residents of Greater Portland and many of the area’s four million annual visitors. After decades of trail building, our trail network now reaches within a half mile of every Portland resident – that's about a 10-minute walk – and within a quarter mile of 95% of all Portland residents. The network includes over 75 miles of trails in Portland, Westbrook, South Portland, and Falmouth, and the trails provide free recreation and active transportation for all ages. Each year, our trail crew, seasonal staff, and volunteers help build, maintain, and upgrade the trails throughout our network.

The Portland Trails network includes a diversity of trails, from woodland escapes like Fore River Sanctuary or the Presumpscot River Preserve, to multi-purpose trails visited by hundreds of thousands of users yearly like the Eastern Promenade or the Back Cove. Visit our newest trail in Westbrook, opened in the summer of 2023, the Clark Brook Trail!

Check out our digital trail map and start exploring your city!