The Riverside Trail is a one-mile, one-way trail connecting the Oxford Hills High School and Middle School, that follows the Little Androscoggin River. It is used year round for a variety of outdoor activities and programming. The trail is suitable for many with mobility challenges, and much of it is wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly, however there are some sections in the middle that are likely barriers for those in wheelchairs making and out-and-back trip to the bridge (from either direction) more appropriate for some users.
Most of the trail is about six feet wide with a surface of crushed stone, descending at a slight grade from the high school parking lot, then soon leveling out until it reaches a wooden boardwalk. There are a couple places through this section where there are cement tubes with manhole covers that can be navigated around, but that narrow the trail in those spots.
Upon reaching the boardwalk, there is a short set of stairs up to a ramp (with wooden strips for providing traction) leading up at a moderate to steep grade. This would be problematic for those in wheelchairs without strong assistance. At the top of the ramp the boardwalk flattens out and passes under a railroad bridge, then continues about 350 feet while offering views of the Little Androscoggin River.
Past the boardwalk and back on the crushed stone surface the trail continues at a flat grade, with a slight decline leading down to the playing fields by the middle school. There is a guy-wire anchored in the middle of the trail in this section effectivly cutting the width of the trail in half at that particular spot. At the middle school, one may continue around a paved, quarter-mile loop that circles the playing fields.
The Viking Trail, beginning at same trailhead at the high school as the Riverside trail, is managed by the school disctrict. The Viking Trail can be used in combination with a section of the Riverside Trail to create a 1.2-mile loop that starts and ends at the High School, and takes hikers through a pleasant wooded area away from the river. The Viking Trail, unlike the Riverside Trail, is a natural surface trail and as such is not an accessible trail.
The trail was made possible through funding from The New balance Foundation and the efforts of local partners including Western Maine Health, Healthy Oxford Hills, SAD #17 and the Paris and Norway recreation departments. The trail took four years to complete and opened in 2011.
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The Riverside trail can be accessed from either end via the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School or the Oxford Hills Middle School. The Viking Trail utilizes the Riverside Trail to create a loop starting and ending at the high school.
Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School is located off ME-26/ME-27 (Main Street) between Downtown Norway and South Paris. Coming from South Paris it is 1.1 miles from the junction of ME-117/ME-26, and from Norway it is a little less than a half mile from the terminus of ME-118. The trail leaves across from the school's main entrance and bus drop off.
The Oxford Hills Middle School is located off Pine Street in South Paris. Pines Street leaves from ME-117/ME-26 at their intersection in South Paris or, from the west end, less than 200 yards west of the railroad crossing. The Riverside Trail leaves from the backside of the athletic fields.
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