Explore this trail near a school in Kennebunk with Enock, Outdoor Accessibility Specialist.
SEA ROAD PRESERVE
Hey fellow hikers! I am back for another exciting hiking season exploring all over Maine! This season we are embarking on a new project focused on trails near schools. I am hoping to identify and assess trails within walking distance of schools to allow teachers to get their students outside.
My first school related trail of the year is Sea Road Preserve in Kennebunk. What a treasure to have such a great trail so close for kids and the community to access! The trail, as the name suggests, is actually a road. This means it is super wide allowing for multiple options to pick your own path. If you follow my blogs, you know I love road trails for this exact reason. The obstacles are easy to mitigate because for the most part there is room to avoid them.
When I first arrived at the school I noticed there wasn’t a visible kiosk. Luckily there were a couple of cars parked alongside the driveway that drew my attention to the trailhead. The parking is along the road edge. If you park so that the side you exit your vehicle is toward the trail, there is a sidewalk to allow for easy and safe unloading. There are also accessible spaces in the parking lot, though I am not sure if the public is allowed to use them, but they are there if needed.
When I started on the trail I saw a gate which didn’t look like it was going to be wide enough. The opening definitely isn’t 36 inches, but it was just barely wide enough for me to fit through.
There is another entrance into the trail from the parking lot that has a super-wide opening. It is probably large enough to get a car through. If I had parked there it would have been easier for sure.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the amazing surface of the trail, very hard packed dirt. There are some areas of loose gravel, but it is so wide that I found a path around those spots.
About a half mile into the trail you will come to a road crossing. There isn’t a curb which makes it very easy to cross.
The trail continues until coming to another road crossing. At this crossing they have used large rocks to keep cars from driving on the road. On the school side of the road, the rocks are almost too close together. My pushrim actually rubbed on the rock, but I did make it through.
You can see to the left of the rocks there is a pile of leaf debris. If that wasn’t there a person could easily navigate around these rocks. On the other side of the road they are plenty far apart allowing just about anyone to carry on down the trail.
This is where the beautiful views of the Mousam River started. It was such an amazing day to hike this trail. The views are stunning.
If you are looking at the trail and not the view in the picture you can see it does get narrow. It is still as wide as the road. The trail has just been worn down over time by people walking. I just chose to stick to the left on the grass and it was just as easy as the rest of the trail.
I had a nice surprise about 1.5 miles into my travels. As I was rolling along, I noticed a boardwalk that lead out to a viewing platform. There was a significant step to get onto the platform, but luckily it appeared people had been making their own trails to the side of the platform which allowed me to get out to the edge to see the stunning view.
There is one somewhat tricky section, at about 1.8 miles, where there was a culvert covered with large rocks. It wasn't leveled out, which caused a very short hill that was more difficult to maneuver over than the rest of the trail. Of course that isn’t saying much as the rest of the trail is very flat, just be aware that this section might be more difficult.
From here it is all about the amazing views of the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge. I saw lots of birds and beautiful scenery on a peaceful trail.
The trail ended for me at ME-9 (Western Ave). There is also another parking area at this end. There isn’t any accessible spaces, but if you parked close enough to the fence it would make it impossible for someone to park next to your car.
I could have crossed and continued on for about another half mile but it looked a lot worse. It was more like a mountain bike trail so I opted to turn around and head back.
The section I did was a total of 2.14 miles one way, so my whole hike was 4.28 miles. Not bad for my first real hike of the year! I was definitely sore the next day.
I met a lot of dogs with their owners while out on the trail, all of them were friendly. I actually had the opportunity to help train a few of them to not be afraid of those of us who use wheelchairs. One of them had started at the other end of the trail so I met them again later in the day. The dog remembered me and was totally fine with the chair after our quick learning session. This is just something to keep in mind if you do venture out. It is a heavily used trail with lots of nice people to meet.
I did notice on my way back that it looked and felt slightly uphill most of the way. According to my app, the entire path never gets above a 3% grade which is about a 2 degree angle, so not very steep at all. I would highly recommend Sea Road to anyone that wants a long, easy hike with beautiful views.
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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