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Gorham area hikes

by Jeffrey Ryan. 

Just over a 5-minute drive from Gorham Center, you’ll find one of the gems of the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust’s trail system. The Little River Preserve features a nice woodland loop that includes nice stretches along the sandy banks of its namesake water body.

Enjoying the outdoors while retaining social distancing measures has become challenging in some popular venues. Some parks in Greater Portland have been closed to vehicle access to discourage crowds from gathering. Fortunately, the Little River Preserve trailhead is still open. On one recent weekday, parking wasn’t a problem and the other two visitors had a decent head start down the trail, leaving me plenty of room to explore with camera in hand.

The trailhead is located just over two-miles from the intersection of routes 25 and 201 (on the left as you are headed out of town—look for the small “hiker” sign). There is room for three or four vehicles.      

The trail passes through a skirt of trees, enters a field (where you may be serenaded by red winged blackbirds), passes a few homes on Aspen Lane, then enters the woods for good. After a brief hike downhill through mixed forest you come to a trail junction. I chose the blue trail to the right, which makes for a marvelous loop. This portion of trail leads down to the bank of the Little River, complete with a very relaxing bench. This time of year, you can sit for long spells without having to swat away a single bug—a rare treat indeed!

Leaving the bench, the trail follows the river upstream toward a small set of riffles, turns inland, then junctions with a more difficult stretch of white-blazed trail. Proceeding on the blue trail takes you up through the woods toward the parking lot. The white trail adds a ½-mile more challenging loop to your hike. It also offers a few more views of the faster moving water of the Little River below before turning uphill and eventually back to a reunion with the blue trail.   

The walk back to the trailhead features large eastern hemlocks, a nice, wide path and the opportunity to see and hear chickadees above and chipmunks scurrying through the leaf litter below. Even with plenty of photo time factored in, I completed both loops in under an hour.  

Kudos to the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust for providing this wonderful resource for all of us to enjoy. 

Little River Preserve Trail is .75 to 1.25 miles long,with a trail rating of easy to dfficult. It is managed by Presumpscot Regional Land Trust. For more information, visit www.PRLT.org/.

Jeffrey Ryan is a Maine-based hiker, photographer, public speaker and author of several books about the outdoors. Learn more at www.JeffRyanAuthor.com. 

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