Back Cove Trail is a public park which is fairly well maintained and highly trafficked. Along with the paved 3.5 mile trail encircling the cove, there are also athletic fields with a fitness course, gardens, and plenty of benches to sit and watch local wildlife. The estuary basin lies close to Downtown Portland and offers a quick getaway when you are craving a dose of fresh air. If you’re looking for a slightly longer walk, the trail also connects to the Eastern Promenade and Bayside trail via Turkey Bridge.
Back Cove Trail is one of the oldest trails in Portland and is a route that I never tire of. It takes approximately two hours to complete the trail at a brisk walking pace but I always end up taking longer as I cannot help but enjoy the scenery. A trip around Back Cove offers something for the whole family. If you like things fast-paced then you can run around the trail and continue your journey on to Eastern Promenade and the Bayside Trail which are both connected by Turkey Bridge.
If you need to walk at a slower pace there are plenty of benches and water stations dotted around this disabled-friendly route. Most of the path is a dust road with some paved areas and there is not much of an incline so it really is an easy trail. Restroom facilities are available seasonally and dogs can be taken on the trail if they are kept on a leash. The trail is best enjoyed with a picnic or snacks but there is food available from stalls and bakeries in the surrounding Edward Payson Park.
Back Cove can be enjoyed year-round no matter what the weather, but it is best enjoyed on a clear day so that you can make the most of the views. You can access the trail from 6.30 am to 10.00 pm daily, with sunset being a particularly enjoyable time to visit. A friendly neighborhood organization helps maintain the park, and local running clubs will often arrange events around the trail. Look out for nearby farmer’s markets and pop-up street food stalls that take place on Woodfords Corner
I love to drive out to Back Cove after a busy week to get my fix. Whatever way you take the loop (connecting to Eastern Prom is my favorite) you can delight in beautiful vistas that hug the shores of Back Cove. There are so many great free parks to be found in Maine, and Back Cove is certainly one of them.