Whether you’re looking to spend a nice afternoon alone with nature or a fun, free family activity, bike tours are a perfect way to explore the wonders of the Kennebec Valley. Whatever your experience level or schedule, there’s a perfect trail waiting for you.
Here are three of our favorites bike tours found right here in the Kennebec Valley:
Kennebec River Valley Trail
The quiet Kennebec Valley Trail (AKA the Anson to Bingham Trail) boasts several surprising claims to fame: the 14.6-mile trail traces the river and Indian path taken in 1775 by Benedict Arnold, on orders of General George Washington, to capture Quebec from the British. It also follows a former narrow-gauge logging railroad, which used to haul freight and passengers up around Moosehead Lake, the largest lake in Maine.
The trail is even bisected by the 45th parallel (the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole), although you won’t know where unless you bring your trusty GPS!
This trail’s surface is largely packed dirt and crushed stone, making it very family and beginner biker-friendly. Much of the trail winds through the vibrant hardwood forests that dot the countryside of our Kennebec Valley, so the spring is a particularly lovely time to take this ride, as you’ll get to experience the trees awakening from their winter slumber. Isn’t it funny how green seems to be so much more green in spring after a winter of white and brown?
Each of this trail’s branches start from the municipal parking lot in Skowhegan, so be sure to check out this list of things to do in Skowhegan at the beginning and end of each ride. For more information about the trail, please click here.
A Tour of Waterville and China Lake
This tour has three loops of various lengths, all starting from Waterville, home of Colby College and the famous Waterville Opera House. In fact, there are so many fun things to do in Waterville
(listed here), that you’ll probably want to make a weekend of it, dedicating one day to tour and another one or two to exploring the town.
The 21-mile loop is a tour of farms and fields, the 38-mile loop takes you all the way around the stunning China Lake, and while filled with challenging hills, the excellent views make the 47-mile loop a pleasure in spring, summer, or fall.
The 47-mile loop has some steep hills that less-experienced riders might want to walk their bikes up instead, but the views from the tops of these hills is unparalleled, making it well worth the effort. The area also offers endless places to picnic with friends and family, so be sure to pack a lunch to enjoy along the way.
For more information about road conditions and parking once you get there, click here.
A Ride through the Capital
Once you’ve had your fill of Maine’s history at the State Capitol, why not spend the rest of your day enjoying the nearby Maine scenery? This 12-mile trail is as good as it gets: it follows the flow of the Kennebec River from Augusta through Hallowell and Farmingdale to Gardiner
In scenic and historic Hallowell, you can bike on Water Street or walk your bike along the brick sidewalks. You can also connect to the “Rail Trail” on either side of town.
The Kennebec River Rail Trail is part of the East Coast Greenway; a 30-mile loop which includes the “Rail Trail,” followed by an on-road route that guides riders from the city to the country. You’ll visit Hallowell, Cobbosseecontee Lake, and Jamie's Pond. Should you plan a bike tour during the warmer months, there is a swimming hole at the outlet of Cobbosseecontee Stream
If you’re up for a longer trek, the 42-mile ride takes you from the trailhead of the Kennebec River Rail Trail opposite Capitol Park (from which you can see Maine's Capitol) to the scenic lakes region west of Augusta that includes Hallowell, Gardiner, Litchfield, Monmouth, Winthrop, and Manchester. This region provides excellent views of Cobbosseecontee Lake (Cobbossee to locals), rolling farmland, apple orchards, and the Kennebec River.
For more information about these routes, click here.