Stroudwater Trail, part of Portland Trails’ extensive network, is a 3.3 mile one-way (6.6 mile out-and-back) path beginning at Rivers’ Edge Drive, off outer Congress Street, that primarily follows the slow, muddy, meandering Stroudwater River where Portland meets Westbrook, crosses Spring Street, and ends at Smiling Hill Farm. This trail is popular with trail runners and dog walkers. The full trail (see Portland Trails’ page) is unavailable from November 1 to April 1, as the area west from Portland’s Blueberry Road to Westbrook’s Cardinal Street is closed in the winter as a deeryard to provide a winter habitat for these animals.
Stroudwater Trail is an island of green in a fairly developed area of Maine, and the sounds and smells of industry and transit permeate much of the walk. The trail crosses underneath I-95, and is flown over by Jetport air traffic, but still maintains intervals of peace and quiet. On a late June day, we saw a U.S. Marine Corps Osprey vertical takeoff/landing plane doing test flights overhead.
The Rivers’ Edge Drive lot is very small, and parking in the surrounding neighborhood is unauthorized. Parking abounds on Hutchins Drive, but so do shifty characters waiting in idling cars, as this remote Portland spot is apparently a place frequented by men seeking brief, anonymous interludes with other men. Thankfully, this pursuit is likely harmless to other hikers and walkers. The trail itself is relatively easy and shaded, with switchbacks, stairs, and hills in spots, traveling through varied forest terrain, boardwalk bridges, and the grassy open areas created by power lines.
A sign along the river marks the future location of a pedestrian bridge across the Stroudwater. Birds and seasonal wildflowers abound, particularly by the banks of the river. Unfortunately, insects also flourish in the late spring, so wear appropriate clothing or repellent. While Stroudwater Trail is not sufficiently remote to separate oneself from the bustle of modern life, for those working nearby or stranded at the Jetport, this easy trail presents a good way to get outside for a lunch break or a flight delay.