Running between Fort Kent and Saint Francis, this 17-mile trail passes through sections of thick woods and, at times, along the south bank of the Saint John River. The trail is shared by pedestrians and recreational motorists alike, as snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles are allowed on the trail, with speed limitations. The trail is surfaced with hard-packed gravel in the warmer months, and groomed snow in the winter.
As the trail continues through downtown Fort Kent, watch for road crossings and spurs that lead to restaurants, service stations, and other businesses. Beyond town, the trail passes through forests and wetlands along the Saint John River. About 5 miles west from Fort Kent trailhead is a lean-to that can be used as a shelter or picnic site. Although the trail parallels ME-161 for several miles, the mixed forest remains quiet and serene.
The Saint John Valley Heritage Trail is a rail-to-trail system in the former Fish River Railroad corridor, which was later taken over by the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad, a rail line that transported goods and passengers across northern Maine in old times.
Nearing the trail's end in Saint Francis is the B & A Turntable. It is a historic railroad turntable preserved by Saint Francis Historic Society. At one time, Saint Francis was the “end of the line” for the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad. The turntable was made in 1904 and was used until the 1980s to turn an entire locomotive around.
Visit the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands online for more information or contact:Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, Off-road Vehicle Division
The trail can be accessed from either end, in Fort Kent or Saint Francis. In Fort Kent, the trail begins on the west side of Market Street, across the road from John’s One-Stop and Citgo gas station, and immediately crosses the Fish River over a pedestrian bridge. In Saint Francis, the trail begins at an intersection with Sunset Drive, just south of ME-161.
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