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Guest column: Sebago to the Sea Trail

By Jeffrey Ryan

Since I started my hiking column in Gorham Weekly, I’ve mainly focused on the many short loop hikes found in parks and preserves within a short drive of Gorham Center. But the combination of longer daylight, warmer weather and the fact that I’m finally getting back into “trail shape” got me yearning for a longer hike. If you’re feeling that way, too, I suggest spending a few hours on the Sebago to the Sea Trail (STTST).

For those unfamiliar, the STTST runs 28 miles from the shore of Sebago Lake to the shore of Casco Bay in Portland. Along the way, it passes through parts of six towns and offers an impressive variety of scenery including majestic pine forests, woodland ponds and long stretches along the Presumpscot River.

I decided to take the trail on in three trips, starting at the Sebago Lake end. On the weekday I headed out there was one other car at the trailhead on Route 35. The trailhead also features a kiosk, owned by Portland Water District, where you can sign a day use permit to cross their property. After signing in, it was short walk through the woods to reach the Sebago to the Sea Trail at the shore of Sebago (where I could still make out snow on Mount Washington). Turning right on the trail will take you to the northern terminus, also on the shore of the lake. I took a nice break under the trees, knowing that I was only 28 miles from finishing the trail.

In the first few miles, the trail emerges from the woods and onto the aptly named Pond Road before heading back into the woods for a while (the exception being the crossing of paved Route 237). From here, it’s just over a mile until the trail intersects with the Mountain Division Trail, where a paved path becomes your footbed for the next 4.5 miles to Route 202 (parking at Windham Fire Station — please see Sebago to the Sea website for details).

I found that the first 8.5 miles of the trail were just what I needed to shake off the Covid-19 doldrums and enjoy a fine late spring day and a nice mix of woodland and paved trail walking as well. At a leisurely pace, I did the section in just over four hours (breaks included). Next up, South Windham to Westbrook — 10.8 miles. 

The trail is 28 miles total, sections one, two and three are 8.5 miles. The trail rating is easy to moderate and is managed by Sebago to the Sea Coalition. For more information, visit www.SebagototheSea.org.

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