Monday March 18, 2013 | 08:51 AM
Posted by In the City

Portland is full of surprises.

I've lived here for a dozen years and this past weekend I encountered yet another item in the realm of the unexpected for Maine's largest city: Jewell Falls.

Yes, it's a legitimate waterfall, even though it's just 30 feet high. Yes, it's located just a short hike from the business areas on outer Congress or Brighton Avenue. Yes, it's worth the trip, even on a frigid, windy Sunday when navigating the lingering patches of ice makes the trail through Fore River Sanctuary a bit treacherous.

The falls got their named from Portland Trails co-founder Tom Jewell, who donated the land. Find them from four different entrances to the Fore River Sanctuary: the parking lot at Maine Orthopedics on Frost Street puts you just moments from the southernmost trailhead; parking lots at the ends of Rowe Avenue and Starbird Lane, which access both the western and eastern entrances; a trailhead, at the end of Hillcrest Avenue.

The Hillcrest entrance allows for the shortest walk but entering from Frost Street gives the best views of the sanctuary, its many wooden bridges and the marshland that's currently crusted with ice.

Portland Trails has also done its part in making the anctuary accessible with man-made bridges and steps created from both stone and wood.

Your choice of trail won't change the great view of the falls once you arrive at your destination - or the appreciation for this little gem of nature just minutes from the hustle and bustle.


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Karen Beaudoin is an online editor for Maine Today Media and contributes two blogs to the company's websites.

In the City tells readers what to know if they want to know Portland. Pedal On offers info, events and advice for people who love their bikes more than, well ... almost anything.

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