Hey fellow hikers! Once my trip to the county had finished, I stuck a little closer to home and started checking out more of the southern end of Maine. My first trek took me to the Atlantic Way Trail in Saco. This is part of a network of trails consisting of the Atlantic, Plymouth, and Vine trails. The description on MTF doesn’t really describe the trail at all; that is why I am here!
Atlantic Way Trail (0.9 miles) runs from the end of Atlantic Way (a cul-de-sac off Wildwood Drive) through parts of Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge to Seaside Avenue. From the Atlantic Way trailhead, the trail passes through a pleasant mixed growth of young pine and white and gray birch. It’s not completely unexpected to come across deer or wild turkeys on this trail. Two-thirds of a mile along the trail, you will see a sign for Plymouth Trail, which intersects from the right (south). Continuing on the Atlantic Trail, about 0.1 mile, the trail opens into the Goosefare Brook marsh. The trail continues on about another 0.2 mile through the marsh to Seaside Avenue. As you pass through the marsh, keep your eyes open for various species of ducks and an occasional heron. Estimated walking time (round trip): 40 minutes.
The pictures of the trails made it seem doable, so I decided to try it and see for myself. I was definitely right. This trail is another one of those trails that is essentially a road through the woods. If you follow my blog you know I love roads! They are usually wide and well hardened from years of traffic running over them. They don’t always have the best terrain, but they are wide enough so a person can pick and choose their own path. I like to describe them as really three trails - you can divide the width into thirds and pick the best third.
As the description states, the trail starts at the end of a cul-de-sac of the aptly named Atlantic Way. Unfortunately, the picture I took was very blurry. I seem to be rushing my pictures this season and a bunch came out blurry at various places. I will remember that from now on, and will slow down and check my photos.
There is a kiosk at the start of the trail. It was a bit too tall to read from my wheelchair, and the information was posted near the top.
The trail was quite easy to push along for the most part. As I said above, it was basically a dirt road. There were a few bridges, perfectly constructed to be wide and flat, and with raised edges.
There was one very muddy section before getting to the marsh area that I had to get a push through. There were also a few large roots in various places, but with the wide trail it made it easy to avoid them.
Remember when I said previously it was doable for the most part? Well this is the other part. The trail gets a lot more difficult, and less accessible, when entering the marsh area. It becomes very narrow and grown in. However, there is a resting bench.
At the beginning of the marsh section there is a bridge. The bridge has an incline to it, which I could only assume is to avoid flooding. The end of the bridge has a step up. All of that adds up to not very accessible. I did make it across the bridge, but I could see it being difficult for some people.
The trail ends at Seaside Avenue with a trailhead and very limited parking. The road was quite busy. I would definitely recommend parking in the cul-de-sac.
I am sorry for the poor quality of my photos for this trail. I may have to go back and do it again just to get better photos for MTF. Although if anyone wants to, feel free to take better photos, and then you can upload them to the Atlantic Way trail page through your free MTF account.
I would definitely recommend this trail to those that don’t mind a bit of difficulty accessing the marsh. The marsh really is the stunning destination that we all hope to find, I would do your best to get there if you can. If you can't, the road section of the trail is a beautiful stroll through the woods and is quite easy to do.
If you have a different type of mobility issue or a different disability and you visit this trail or others, please comment on this post and give us your feedback. The more knowledge we gather and share, the more people we can get outside using the trails of Maine!
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