Marsh Island Neighborhood Trails in Old Town are prized by location mountain bikers — Act Out — Bangor Every day News — BDN Maine


Difficulty: Simple to moderate, based on what trails you discover. The network consists of wide, smooth double-track trails exactly where you can bike side by side, as properly as narrow single-track trails that are a lot more difficult and function obstacles such as tree roots and rocks.

How to get there: There are quite a few trailheads for the north portion of the Marsh Island Neighborhood Trails. 1 parking location is across the street from La Bree’s Bakery at 169 Gilman Ave. in Old Town. Two parking places are on Stillwater Avenue: 1 at the Old Town Elementary College at 585 Stillwater Ave., and 1 at 717 Stillwater Ave., which is also the start off of 1 of the University of Maine’s paved bicycle paths. And there are also two parking lots on College Ave., 1 across from Sewall Road and 1 at the start off of Logan Road.

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To strategy a route and make a decision exactly where you want to access this trail network, I recommend viewing the trail map, which is out there on the New England Mountain Biking Association web page,

Data: A vast network of trails in Old Town and Orono are applied for mountain biking, walking, operating and cross-nation skiing. Collectively, they’re identified as the Marsh Island Neighborhood Trails.

On trail maps supplied by the Penobscot Area New England Mountain Biking Association, the trails are broken up into two sections — north and south — divided by Stillwater Avenue in Old Town.

Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN

Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN

Numerous of the trails in the Marsh Island Neighborhood Trails network are marked with indicators, and trail maps are posted at main trail intersections. (Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN)

The majority of the trails are in the 1,478-acre Dwight B. Demeritt Forest, which is owned by the University of Maine and applied for education, demonstrations and analysis. On the other hand, some of the trails lie outdoors this forest on private land. Consequently, it is vital to stay on trail and respect the privacy of these living nearby.

For this column, I’m focusing on the north half of the trail program, which is in Old Town. There the trails are a mixture of what mountain bikers contact double-track and single-track trails. Double-track trails are wide adequate for two folks to bike side by side, whilst single-track trails are made to be around the width of a bike.

[Related: Rumford’s outdoors offerings expand with town’s first mountain biking trails]

I was unable to map out the total mileage of the trails, but Jeremy Porter’s description on the NEMBA web page provides a excellent concept of the size of the complete network (Old Town and Orono), stating that you can ride a quick three-mile loop or a extended 25- to 30-mile loop. He also estimates that the network includes about 40 miles of single-track trails.

Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN

Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN

Wooden benches are situated all through the Dwight B. Demeritt in Old Town, which is property to the Marsh Island Neighborhood Trails. (Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN)

This trail network can be confusing to navigate. To support, trail maps have been posted at main intersections and lots of of the trails are marked with indicators. Names of trails on the north side of the network incorporate Blue, Black, Red, White and Yellow trails, as properly as a lot more inventive names such as Renegade, Sawmill, Pine Thicket and Underwear trails. These trails are connected by private gravel roads that are closed to car visitors: Seawall, Spring and Logan roads.

For a lot more information and facts, check out, e mail [email protected] or speak to the nearby Rose Bike shop, which organizes group rides in the location, at 207-866-3525.

Private note: Fall is the fantastic time for mountain biking in Maine. The foliage is wonderful. The bugs are gone. The climate is comfortably cool, and the trails are generally absolutely free of mud. So on Sept. 22, my husband Derek and I tossed our bikes in the back of his truck and headed to Old Town.

A novice mountain biker, I have a tendency to lean on Derek’s experience when we go for a ride, even though he insists that I pump up my personal tires and adjust my personal seat.

Mountain biking was 1 of Derek’s favourite pastimes whilst attending UMaine, so he knows the trails about the university pretty properly. Nonetheless, he tends to make excellent use of the maps posted at intersections. The trails are continually becoming enhanced and expanded.

We began our ride on Sewall Road, which is gated off from car visitors and travels by means of the heart of Demeritt Forest. Trees towered above us as we pedaled simply down the smooth path. There we passed a couple of walkers, which includes a lady walking two black Labs. The dogs had discovered a pool nearby and have been dripping wet when they approached to sniff our legs.

Jumping off the wide Sewall Road, we navigated the narrower Red Trail and Blue Trail to Spring Road, which ended at Gilman Falls Avenue. From there, we hit paved road to attain a compact network of trails close to the banks of the Penobscot River.

In all, we covered about 10 miles. Returning to Demeritt Forest, we biked the Black Trail and a further section of the Red Trail prior to backtracking to the parking location.

The ride was wonderful but not without having its frustrations. The mosquitoes have been surprisingly abundant and hungry, which is uncommon for so late in the year. The battery of my new GoPro camera (which mounts on my helmet) died halfway by means of our ride, forcing us to film some sections with my handheld camera. This slowed us down and resulted in a lot more bug bites.

But on a a lot more optimistic note, we did have an fascinating wildlife sighting. Close to the finish of our ride, whilst biking along the narrow Red Trail, I was almost knocked off my seat by a big hawk. In a thick forest of evergreens, the hawk had been working with the trail to fly low to the ground. When it saw me, it lifted just in time to stay away from a collision, then disappeared into the trees.

For a lot more of Aislinn Sarnacki’s adventures, check out Comply with Aislinn Sarnacki on Twitter: @1minhikegirl, and Instagram: @actoutdoors. Her guidebooks “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine,” “Maine Hikes Off the Beaten Path” and “Dog-Friendly Hikes in Maine” are out there at nearby bookstores and wherever books are sold.



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