From downtown Saco, go north for approximately 4 miles on Main Street (becoming US Route 1). Just past the ME Route 98/Cascade Road turnoff, turn left onto Flag Pond Road. Go 0.7 miles and immediately before the turnpike bridge, turn right into the parking area for the trail (approximately 150 Flag Pond Road).
This property was once owned by Merritt Gay, a farmer who named the Sylvan Trail. The word “sylvan” is derived from the Latin word for woodland. Following the trail the first third of a mile runs parallel to the turnpike and the whining of tires on the speeding automobiles may interfere with the sounds of orioles, tanagers, other birds or voices in the area.
At approximately 0.3 miles, the trail turns right toward the southeast and then again left to the north east along a logging road. In another hundred feet, the trail reaches a fork where the outbound and return paths split. While the trail can be followed in either direction, it is described here assuming the user turns left along the logging road. The logging road is easy to follow but unmarked because the nearby pine trees have no exposed bark.
The user will continue through a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees (characteristic of so much of Maine’s woodland) until reaching Mr. Gay’s field at about 0.9 miles. Looking east across the field, cars on US Route 1, the Gay farm, and the back of Aquaboggan recreational facility are clearly visible. The trail turns right, traveling southwest, to follow the edge of the field. Before the Sylvan Trail re-enters the woods at 1.2 miles, the observant hiker may discover some old apple trees which “resident deer” enjoy feeding on. Shortly after turn right onto another of several logging roads that crisscross the area, there is a giant old pine that was split by lightning and currently houses a family of porcupines. The height of the manure pile is an indicator of how long the porcupine family has occupied he tree.
Five to six hundred feet beyond the porcupine home, the trail takes a sharp right turn, and a switch back makes for easier going up a slight elevation gain. Shortly after the trail rejoins the trail leading back to the trailhead at Flag Pond Road.
The trails are built and maintained by volunteers and members of Saco Bay Trails. If you do see any problems on the trail, please visit our website below and click on Trail Condition Report to notify us. In spring, summer, and fall, ticks and other biting insects may be plentiful. Visitors should take precautions to avoid these, especially ticks and possible exposure to Lyme disease. Estimated walking time for the trail is 1 hour.
The Sylvan trail is partly on privately owned property. Please respect the owners and their property by following "leave no trace" principles, keeping your dog on a lead, and using poop bags for pet waste.
Visit Saco Bay Trails online for more information or contact:
Saco Bay Trails
PO Box 720
Saco, ME 04072
Check for nearby geocaches to Sylvan Trail.
Leave No Trace Principle
Minimize Campfire Impacts
Follow the Maine Forest Service fire regulations and check the current fire danger level before you go camping.