The Eastern Trail is a great opportunity for some longer, off-road running on non-paved surfaces in southern Maine. The 10-foot wide, mainly inland trail runs for 65 miles between Portsmouth and Portland, passing through woodlands, marshes, and farms. As of 2018, it is about 30% complete. There trail is well-signed, with markers every 1/4 mile. There are several road races on the trail each summer. Note: Path not maintained in winter.
The excellent brochure provides detailed maps of the route, both for completed sections and connections to roads. The most complete sections of the ET are between Kennebunk and Biddeford, from Saco to Scarborough, and in South Portland. A 1.6 mile gap between Blackpoint Rd. in Scarborough and Wainright Field in S. Portland is being developed, which would result in a 16-mile continuous off-road section. Some of the most scenic off-road sections for running are:
- Kennebunk to Biddeford. 6.2 miles from Kennebunk Elm School, heading north. Mainly wooded, with a couple of ponds and a bridge.
- Saco to Scarborough. Starting at Thornton Academy, it’s 8 miles to Scarborough. Great section for 2.5 miles through marshlands — the largest salt marsh in Maine. Spur trails to Old Orchard.
- South Portland. Paved section for ~6 miles from Wainright Field to Bug Light. Great section along Casco Bay.