Saco Bay Trails volunteers install a new bridge on the Atlantic Trail. Courtesy photo

SACO — Just a few hundred yards from Saco’s popular Bayview Beach and Kinney Shores neighborhood lies a peaceful pathway that seems a world away. The trail is known as the Atlantic Trail, extending a little over a mile from Seaside Avenue (Route 9) to Atlantic Way in the Wildwood neighborhood. Here, virtually in the backyard of all Saco and Old Orchard Beach residents, is a straight, flat, well-maintained trail that traverses the edge of an alluring salt marsh that lies within the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. The trail beckons hikers and joggers, bird-watchers and nature lovers, active families and serenity-seeking individuals.

The trail is clearly marked and accessible year-round. A parking area and information kiosk mark the Seaside Avenue trailhead, while a kiosk and cul-de-sac parking are also available at the Atlantic Way trailhead.

The Seaside Avenue trailhead, parking, and kiosk is 2/10 mile north of its intersection with Bayview Road at the Bayview Beach parking area, on the west side of the road. The Atlantic Trail passes over a RCNWR marsh via a straight causeway, overlooking boggy land that at one time was drained and farmed. After crossing a scenic wooden bridge that passes over a tidal tributary of Goosefare Brook, the trail enters a pleasant woodland of young growth birch and softwoods. Approximately 3/10 mile west of the Seaside trailhead, two well-marked side trails diverge from the Atlantic Trail. These two spurs — the half-mile Plymouth Trail and the 1/3 mile Vines Trail — provide access to and from two different sections of the nearby Plymouth Settlement subdivision. The Atlantic Trail continues straight ahead through the woods. Approximately 7/10 mile from Seaside Avenue, the trail passes beneath a verdant hemlock and balsam canopy before emerging at the Atlantic Way kiosk and cul-de-sac (accessible via Ferry Road and Wildwood Drive). Estimated round-trip walking time for the Atlantic Trail is 40 minutes.

The Atlantic Trail is maintained by Saco Bay Trails, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that works cooperatively with private landowners, community and commercial organizations, and government agencies. Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to explore the nearly 12 miles of the SBT trail network, and to join and support SBT. For maps and further information about the Atlantic Trail and Saco Bay Trails organization, visit: and “Saco Bay Trails” on Facebook,

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