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Reported: September 2019

Down East Sunrise Trail...

Part of the East Coast Greenway

The Down East Sunrise Trail (DEST) is built on the railbed of the old Calais Branch of the Maine Central Railroad. It stretches 96 miles in the Downeast Coastal Region of Maine from Ellsworth to Perry. It's also the longest off-road section of the East Coast Greenway (Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida) - only a short section at Ellsworth is paved, this is fat-tire biking. The multi-use trail is heavily used by ATV-ers (be watchful), but also bikers, hikers, snowmobiles, cross-country skiers, and horseback riders. Its varied and scenic landscape includes forest, mountain views, and marsh with a wide variety of wildlife. 28 bridges cross salmon-filled rivers and streams. (Detailed map and photos below.)

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Biking Map...
Down East Sunrise Trail

View Larger Map external

Location: Hancock and Washington Counties, ME (See map)
Distance: 96 miles
Surface: Crushed stone, gravel, short paved section

Sunrise Trail Coalition external

Bike Shops/Rentals:
The Activity Shop external (Blue Hill; rentals)

Biking on the Down East Sunrise Trail

The original trail is usually described in 3 sections: Western (28 miles, Washington Junction to Cherryfield), Central (29 miles, Cherryfield to Machias), and Eastern (28 miles, Machias to Ayers Junction). Extensions now run 2 miles to Ellsworth at the west and 9 miles to Perry at the east where it meets the Sipayik Trail

Trail at Ellsworth

We visited a short section at Ellsworth - the only paved section, it quickly turned to gravel. Parking is in a lot behind the LL Bean store. The main trailhead is at Washington Junction, 2 miles north.

More Information and Resources

More Biking:
Bike-Maine - More bike trails and information about biking in Maine

Related Resources:
Sunrise Trail Coalition - Down East Sunrise Trail external
Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands - DEST Trail Guide external

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