Maine Hiking, Nature January 27, 2022
After A Hike On Maine’s Belfast Rail Trail, Board The Historic Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad For A Memorable Adventure
The rugged coastal scenery and colorful, tree-lined landscapes of Maine make our state’s diverse scenery idyllic from every angle. Whether it’s an iconic road trip along the coast, a remote adventure in the north woods, or a quiet hike to one Maine’s most beautiful hidden waterfalls, our slice of New England is blessed with a plethora of places to escape and indulge in New England’s beauty! But to truly enjoy your day trip, sometimes it helps to leave the GPS planning, traffic, and detours behind in favor of a simpler mode of exploration. That’s where Maine’s historic train rides come in! Fortunately, Vacationland has plenty of them to choose from. Get a dose of history and adventure with this unique two-part “hike and ride” journey along Maine’s historic Belfast and Moosehead Railroad! Check it out:
The Belfast Rail Trail is a unique converted railbed that runs along the Passagassawaukeag (Passy) River. At just over two miles one way, the trail is a short and sweet, but worthwhile, adventure!
The trail was opened to visitors in 2016 and follows an old section of the southern Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad. While still relatively new, there’s a lot to love about this leisurely jaunt!
Many of the old tracks are still visible. You’ll also find a vintage train car or two along the way with some history nuggets to prepare you for the rest of your journey.
But the scenery is fantastic as well. The sights and sounds of the water (and its seal inhabitants!), the trees, the wildlife, the photogenic bridges… you can imagine what it would have been like to explore this beautiful stretch by rail.
Your journey starts at the northern trailhead on Oak Hill Road, right by the City Point Central Railroad Museum, and will take you by some incredibly diverse scenery - both natural and manmade.
The southern trailhead is a starting option too. You can find a trail map
Every season offers pretty views and solitude. The main trail is clear and easy to follow, but if you’re feeling adventurous, a number of optional loop trails can be seen branching off into the woods.
Along the way, you'll also see the eight-acre Stephenson Preserve in the distance, which makes a worthwhile add-on for bird-watchers and photographers. At the end of the trail, you can also connect to the Harbor Walk on the other side of the river, which allows for dining and shopping.
Once you’ve made your way back to the start of the trail at the north end of the line, it’s time for part two of your journey! Having explored the old B&ML railroad by foot; it’s time to experience these rails firsthand.
After a quick commute, you can climb aboard and immerse yourself in the history of Maine’s rail system, drink in the sights, and relax your muscles to the sounds of the restored car chugging along the tracks. It’s a fantastic way to unwind after your hike!
The historic Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad ran from Belfast to Burnham from 1971 to 2007. Nostalgic and scenic due to its causeway along Belfast Bay, the legacy of the B&ML as both a freight and passenger line is one that is still treasured to this day.
Depending on when you decide to tackle this two-part adventure, you can choose from a variety of themed and scenic excursions, as well as seasonal rides for fall foliage and more. Or even opt for a journey via railcycle instead! You’ll rumble along mazes of historic track with plenty of open opportunities to relish the vibrant vistas, some visible only by train.
Rides last around one hour, and are prime photo opportunities to document the piney scenery, distant bay life, and vibrant expansive views of Unity Pond.
As your scenic train excursion and historic B&ML rail adventure draws to a close, take some time to marvel at the timeless workmanship of the massive train cars, and capture the moment. It’s the perfect way to step back in time!
When nature, history, and adventure combine, it’s hard to beat! Have you ever taken a ride on the historic B&ML Railroad? We’d love to hear about it.
Looking for more family-friendly adventures in Maine? You can learn more about Maine’s most scenic train rides here. Or, check out the Seashore Trolley Museum, one of our favorite rail destinations! Address: Belfast Rail Trail, 13 Oak Hill Rd, Belfast, ME 04915, USA