12 Must-Do Hikes Near Portland, Maine for Every Experience Level
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While Portland, Maine is typically known for its lobsters, craft beer, and seaside charm, there are actually tons of stunning parks and trails to go hiking in and around the city. As it turns out, Maine – with its coastal access and its mountainous terrain – is an incredible location to explore the outdoors. Ranging from easy, flat walks in the woods to summiting mountaintops and climbing cliffs, there are several places to go hiking near Portland, ME for hikers with any level of experience. We created this guide to some of the best hikes near Portland, ME so you can plan your next outdoor adventure.

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Portland is a colorful and fun city for hiking, with green spaces seemingly everywhere!

Easy Hikes Near Portland, Maine

Back Cove Trail

  • Distance from Portland: 0 miles (Located in the city)
  • Trail Length: 3.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal

If you’re looking for an easy, flat pathway in a beautiful setting that’s also located right in the heart of the city, there are few better hikes in Portland, ME than Back Cove Trail. With a perfect location on Back Bay, this trail is perfect for hikers of all levels, including children and dogs. It’s also one of the prettiest places in Portland, ME, with the still water of the bay gently lapping the shores by the trail. While this pathway does get crowded, there’s plenty of parking, and with 3.6 miles of trail area, it’s easy to keep your distance and enjoy one of the city’s best green spaces.

Mackworth Island Trail

  • Distance from Portland: 0 miles (Located in the city)
  • Trail Length: 1.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal

Located right off the coast in Portland, Mackworth Island is a wonderful spot for a quick hike without having to stray too far from the city. With shaded, forest trails that offer peaceful views of the surrounding water, this flat, easy trail is perfect for a solo hike or a family adventure. Plus, the beach is a perfect spot for a picnic or a conversation with loved ones. Combining coastlines, woods, and rocky areas, there’s a ton of variety on this short, sweet trail. For an easy, low effort adventure in nature, Mackworth Island is one of the best hikes in Portland, ME.

Photo Credit: Kim Seng (Flickr CC)

Fore River Sanctuary White Trail

  • Distance from Portland: 0 miles (Located in the city)
  • Trail Length: 3.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 177 feet

If you’re looking for beautiful trails near Portland, Maine, the Fore River Sanctuary is one of the best hikes in Maine for waterfalls. This 3.3-mile trail boasts a shaded, peaceful respite from the city and is suitable for hikers of all experience levels. Traversing wooden boardwalks over marsh areas, quiet evergreen forests, and a picturesque set of roaring waterfalls, the Fore River Sanctuary trail is beloved for its easy access from the city and the solitude and nature it offers.

Family- and dog-friendly, this trail is perfect for a leisurely nature walk with children, friends, or your favorite fur babies! Be sure to get there early on summer weekends, though, as it’s a popular spot for locals to go hiking near Portland, ME during peak season.

Photo Credit: Paul VanDerWerf (Flickr CC)

Bradbury Mountain

  • Distance from Portland: 22.5 miles (26 minutes)
  • Trail Length: 1.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 209 feet

Looking for mountain hikes near Portland, ME that are accessible to all levels of hikers? Then the Bradbury Mountain trail is a fantastic option! Located in its namesake state park, Bradbury Mountain offers a 1.4-mile, easy trail through the forest to the peak’s rocky summit. From here, you can see wonderful views of the surrounding forests, which are especially beautiful in the fall.

Take the Summit route from the parking area for the most challenging climb with the best views, or opt for an easier route. Either way, you’ll be treated to lovely scenery on this family-friendly hike in nature.

Harraseeket and White Pines Loop

  • Distance from Portland: 21.5 miles (30 minutes)
  • Trail Length: 2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 173 feet

For a forest trail that leads to a rocky coastline that’s similar to Acadia National Park, head to the Harraseeket and White Pines Loop. This easy trail is about half an hour from Portland, which makes it feel much more secluded and disconnected from the city than some of the more urban trails on our list. Additionally, the coastline here is lined with rocks, which makes for fantastic photos and opportunities to explore the area’s tide pools and nature. While there are a few rocky areas on the trail, it’s mostly quite flat and made of dirt, making it easy and accessible to most hikers, even beginners. Plus, exploring the park’s trails and wooden forest boardwalks makes for a fun and unique adventure!

Photo Credit: Alison Chaiken (Flickr CC)

Morse Mountain to Seawall Beach

  • Distance from Portland: 47 miles (1 hour)
  • Trail Length: 4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 492 feet

Perhaps the most scenic easy hike on our list, the Morse Mountain to Seawall Beach is a beginner-friendly, fun hike from a small “mountain” (more like a hill) to the seaside. Along the way, you’ll get gorgeous views of the river’s end and the marshes below, as well as the sea. The trail ends at a sandy shore that you can swim at, picnic on, or simply hang out and enjoy the sunny, breezy weather by the coast. Many locals say this trail can get quite buggy, so we’d recommend bringing and wearing plenty of bug spray for your hike here.

Photo Credit: Paul VanDerWerf (Flickr CC)

Moderate & Difficult Hikes Near Portland, ME

Mount Agamenticus

  • Distance from Portland: 50 miles (55 minutes)
  • Trail Length: 1.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 337 feet

One popular easy/moderate hiking trail near Portland is Mount Agamenticus, a short, easy mountain climb that borders the ocean. For the most part, this moderate trail runs through forests and ends at the bald mountaintop, which offers lovely views of the surrounding forests, especially in the fall. On clear days, you can see all the way out to the oceanfront, too! It’s a very short hike, meaning you can combine it with other activities in the York Beach area or do it in a short, half-day trip from Portland.

Pleasant Mountain via Ledges Trail

  • Distance from Portland: 50 miles (1 hour, 20 minutes)
  • Trail Length: 3.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,512 feet

Another wonderful moderate summit hike in southwestern Maine is Pleasant Mountain, which is a peak situated in the mountains near the Lake District. The Lake District, with its many scenic viewpoints and proximity to the White Mountains, is a wonderful place to go hiking near Portland, ME. This 3.3-mile trail gains 1,512 feet along a fairly rocky area, making for some challenging and fun passes up its gradual and sometimes steep ascent. At the top, you’ll enjoy even more views of mountains for miles atop a flat sheet of rock, which is perfect for a snack or a mid-day picnic. You can also see out to a few of the lakes in the area with stunning fall foliage in the later months of the year.

Photo Credit: Andy Thrasher (Flickr CC)

Burnt Meadow Mountain Trail

  • Distance from Portland: 50 miles (1 hour, 15 minutes)
  • Trail Length: 3.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,391 feet

This trail is closed indefinitely by its private owner due to logging efforts in the area. Check here for the latest reopening updates.

Douglas Mountain

  • Distance from Portland: 32 miles (55 minutes)
  • Trail Length: 1.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 471 feet

For beginners who want a bit more of a challenging trail, the Douglas Mountain hike is a wonderful step up from the flatter trails in the Portland area. Located less than an hour from the city, this 1.8-mile trail offers nice views of Sebago Lake, as well as the nearby hills and forests. The incline is steady but moderate, meaning you’ll get a great workout in as well! As you make your way up the mountain, watch out for various roots and rocks, which add a bit of fun and surprise to this moderately difficult trail.

Mount Katahdin & Knife Edge

  • Distance from Portland: 216 miles (3.5 hours)
  • Trail Length: 8.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 3,897 ft

One of the most famous (and most challenging) hikes in Maine is Mount Katahdin, the highest peak in the state, with an elevation of 5,269 feet. Even more (in)famous than the summit, however, is the ridgeline, which is informally known as Knife’s Edge. This stark, rocky ridge has dropoffs on both sides, making it a dangerous and thrilling hiking area that’s only suitable for experienced hikers.

While the hike is strenuous and typically takes an entire day, the views of northern Maine from the summit and surrounding ridges are out of this world, and undeniably some of the most jaw-dropping panoramas in the state. Although it’s not one of the closest hikes near Portland, it’s certainly one of the more thrilling ones in the state, and is well worth the 3.5-hour drive from the city!

The 8.1-mile hike to the summit of Mount Katahdin should only be attempted by experienced, seasoned hikers who know how to hike at high altitudes and in unfavorable (windy and potentially rainy) conditions. It also requires quite a bit of scrambling and stamina. You should only attempt this hike on clear days, as it can be extremely dangerous in bad weather.

Acadia National Park

  • Distance from Portland: 173 miles (3 hours)

As one of the only national parks in the New England area, Acadia National Park is one of the most beautiful and beloved green spaces in the country. With expansive evergreen forests that border rocky sea cliffs, there’s no lack of variety for hiking in Acadia National Park!

In the park, there are a number of trails that span leisurely paths to challenging rock scrambles. Some of the most popular hiking options in Acadia include the Beehive Trail, the Precipice Trail, Ocean Path, and more. When we visited, we also loved many of the lesser-known hikes, like the Bubbles Rocks, the Schoodic Peninsula, and Ship Harbor.

Additional Resources for Hiking near Portland, ME

What to Pack

  • Hiking boots – You can’t hike without appropriate footwear, period. For most trails, we recommend an all-purpose waterproof boot with ankle support. We recommend Salomon hiking boots or Keen hiking boots for a comfortable hike.
  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to stay cool in a sweat-wicking shirt/tank top and breathable pants, like these PrAna hiking pants for men and women. For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers, an insulated puffer jacket, and a waterproof outer shell. And don’t forget a pair of the best hiking socks in the world!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike, but we recommend throwing them in your car anyway just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond foldable trekking poles, which are lightweight and easy to transport.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To spare disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask bottles because they keep water cold for hours, but a good old Nalgene works very well too.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – This should be self-explanatory, but sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend Osprey day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

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Kay Rodriguez is the founder of Urban Outdoors. She's also the writer and photographer behind Jetfarer. When she's not writing furiously on her laptop or editing photos, you can find Kay running, hiking, paddling, or playing in the snow.

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