The Eastern Trail is a great opportunity for some longer, off-road running in southern Maine. The 10-foot wide, mainly inland trail runs for 65 miles between Kittery and Portland, passing through woodlands, marshes, and farms. As of 2018, it is about 30% complete. About 85% of the trail is off-road, and the off-road sections are not paved. The 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:
- Kittery. Somme nice sections off the trail along the ‘scenic byway’ along Main St./River Rd. to South Eliot.
- 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.