Maine Island Trail: Casco Bay
View Connector Trails
Portland's East End and Brunswick's Mere Point launches are both public, paved, all-tide launch ramps with daytime parking available. The East End launch is a fee launch, while Mere Point is free.
The islands featured -- Eagle, Jewell, and Little Chebeague -- are owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and are accessible by personal watercraft, such as sea kayaks, sailboats, or powerboats. However, access to some sites may depend on the sea conditions or the tide.
Eagle Island, the former summer home of Arctic explorer Admiral Robert Peary, is a state historic site open to the public for day visits. A museum sitting on a high bluff overlooking the bay is open to visitors June 15 - Labor Day for a small fee. The island's 1.4 mile trail system passes near critical nesting areas and all trails are closed until July 15th. Please check with the staff prior to hiking on the trails. Day-use guest moorings are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Jewell Island's rich history includes farming, mining, fish processing and military occupation. Remnants of the old military installation include towers which offer excellent views of the bay. Please be careful when hiking near the crumbling structural ruins. There is a full-time, seasonal caretaker on the island who maintains the trails and campsites, serves as an educational resource, and promotes a sustainable recreational ethic. Poison ivy is present in places - staying on trails and away from beach vegetation will limit exposure.
Little Chebeague Island is known for its broad sand and gravel beaches. Interior trails weave through the abandoned remains of military facilities and a former summer cottage colony. Most of the structures have collapsed and are unsafe for exploring. Please be careful and remember to leave what you find for future visitors. Please be wary of ticks, poison ivy, and browntail moth caterpillars and avoid trampling fragile dune grasses.
The Maine Island Trail is America’s oldest recreational water trail, connecting over 200 island and mainland sites open for day visits or overnight camping while traversing a variety of natural settings from sandy beaches and quiet bays to saltwater rivers and bold shores. Trail properties are owned by an assortment of private landowners, conservation organizations, and federal, state and municipal agencies, all of whom generously make their land available to visitors in exchange for the promise of respectful use and careful stewardship.
To learn more about boating in the Casco Bay region and plan your trip, visit the Maine Island Trail Association website. There you can:
- Become a member, to gain access to annually-updated paper and online guides
- Learn about the trail and its unique history
- Support ongoing stewardship and education efforts through donations
- Learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities
- Find boats for sale
- And much, much more!
The Maine Island Trail is a dynamic water trail. There is no official route, and the experience is influenced by the weather, the seasons and by regional variations in the character of the Maine coast. The Trail itself is constantly changing. Sites are frequently added and removed, usage guidelines are revised based on owner preferences, and stewardship strategies are adjusted to meet changing environmental conditions. To ensure that Trail sites remain well cared for and to fulfill our pledge of responsible use to site owners, it is important for all visitors to plan their trip using current information about the Trail.
Visit Maine Island Trail Association online for more information or contact:
Maine Island Trail Association
100 Kensington St, 2nd Floor
Portland, ME 04103
Phone: (207) 761-8225
Check for nearby geocaches to Maine Island Trail: Casco Bay.
Leave No Trace Principle
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Consider using a cooking stove and alternative light source (flashlight, candle, lantern) instead of building a campfire.