A runner takes to the trails at Androscoggin Riverlands State Park in Turner, Maine. Credit: Courtesy of Acadia Gantz

Story by Acadia Gantz.

If you want to start trail running in Maine, fall is the best time to do it. So now that you’re ready to give it a try, I’ve narrowed down a list of the top 10 trails to run in Maine, with input from trail runners all over the state.

As always, before heading out on any trail running adventure be sure to do your homework. Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Be prepared with proper gear, food and water for the trail and be alert to changing weather and conditions.

Sebago Lake State Park, Casco

Length: 5.5 miles of trails

Difficulty: 1 out of 5

Dog friendly: Yes, but dogs must be leashed year round and are only allowed on the beach from Sept. 30 to April 1.

Fee: $4 to use the park

Description: A beautiful, flat and well-maintained trail system is a beginner trail runner’s dream. With plenty of well-marked, interconnecting trails, you can create the perfect loop. A huge bonus is being able to take a dip in Sebago Lake after your run!

Fore River Sanctuary, Portland

Length: 5.6 miles 

Difficulty: 1 out of 5

Dog friendly: Yes, off-leash dogs are welcome.

Fee: Free

Description: Enjoy this beautiful 85-acre preserved green space right in Portland. Perfect for an afternoon escape, the marshy lowlands allow for plenty of bird watching opportunities as you enjoy this little slice of nature.  

Acadia National Park carriage roads, Bar Harbor

Length: 45 total miles

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

Dog friendly: Yes, dogs must be leashed year round.

Fee: $30 Acadia National Park Entrance Pass

Description: Originally built between 1913 and 1940, the carriage roads in Acadia National Park allow visitors to see the park by bicycle, horse and foot. The carriage roads are made from crushed stone, and most have little to moderate elevation gain. During the summer season you can utilize the bus system to plan a one-way running adventure. Ready for something more difficult? Use the carriage roads to access single track trails with incredible views all over the park!

Bald Pate Mountain, Bridgton

Length: 6.7 miles of trails

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

Dog friendly: Yes, dogs must be leashed.

Fee: Donation suggested

Description: Owned and maintained by the Loon Echo Land Trust, Bald Pate Mountain is a great introduction to mountain running. Nearly 7 miles of interconnecting trails provide plenty of opportunities for single track running and views of nearby Pleasant Mountain, Peabody Pond, Hancock Pond and even Mount Washington on a clear day.

Bradbury State Park, Pownal

Length: 18 miles (plus additional connecting trails outside the park)

Difficulty: 3 out of 5

Dog friendly: Yes, dogs must be leashed.

Fee: $4 for day use

Description: Whether you’re looking for some flat and fast single-track mountain views or an adventurous long run, Bradbury State Park has something for everyone. With 18 miles of trails in the park, plus the option to head off through rolling farmland toward the Pineland Farm trail system, you won’t get bored.

Androscoggin Riverlands State Park, Turner

Length: 22 miles

Difficulty: 3 out of 10

Dog friendly: Yes, dogs must be leashed.

Fee: Free

Description: Following the Androscoggin River, Androscoggin Riverlands State park offers 10 miles of multi-use (ATV, foot, bike, snowmobile) trail and an additional 12 miles of single-track hiking trails. Early spring, late summer and fall are the best times of year to enjoy this park, as the river bottom can mean lots of mosquitos.

Mount Agamenticus, York

Length: More than 10 miles of trails

Difficulty: 3 out of 5

Dog friendly: Yes, dogs must be leashed

Fee: Suggested donation

Description: A shared network of biking and hiking trails allow you to explore this coastal mountain environment and provide an escape from the developed areas of southern Maine. The rocks, roots and elevation are typical of a Maine mountain and ocean views complete the ideal Maine experience.

Speckled Mountain (Evan’s Notch), Stow

Length: 8 miles

Difficulty: 3.5 out of 5

Dogs: Yes

Fee: $5 one day recreation pass to park at Brickett Place

Description: The perfect trail for aspiring mountain runners, Speckled Mountain via the Bickford Brook Trail offers a moderately technical, gradual climb to sweeping views of the Wild River Wilderness, Carter-Moriah Ridgeline and Mount Washington. After enjoying a break on the summit, the descent will pass quickly and leave you ready to take on the climb again.

Camden Hills State Park, Camden

Length: 26.4 total miles of trails

Difficulty: 4 out of 5

Dog friendly: Yes, dogs must be leashed.

Fee: $4 for the day

Description: With a vast network of trails connecting flat, easy carriage roads to technical mountain trails covered in rocks and roots, Camden Hills State Park is a gorgeous place to spend an hour, an afternoon or a day.

Grafton Trail Loop, Newry

Length: 36 miles (19 miles for the east side, 17 miles on the west side)

Difficulty: 5 out of 5

Dogs: Yes

Fee: $3 day pass

Description: For a long, or multi-day, running adventure in Maine, the Grafton Loop Trail cannot be beat. Comprised of numerous mountain summits, including Bald Pate and Old Speck (a 4,000-foot peak!), this loop also includes smooth, cushioned single track trails through dense forest and along babbling rivers. Solid wilderness skills and preparation are a must for this adventure, as access and cell service are limited.