Mountain Biking Central Maine - Baxter Area Biking

Greenville Junction to Shirley Mills Rail Trail
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Map of the Greenville Junction-to-Shirley Mills Rail Trail
At a Glance
Length/Configuration : 1 3-mile out-and-back (6. 5 miles each way)
Aerobic Difficulty : Level railroad bed; suitable for novice riders
Technical Difficulty : Little or no technical skill required
Scenery : A series of bogs and wetlands is often teeming with waterfowl and unusual plants
Special Comments : Excellent ride for families and large groups

Just west of Greenville's town center, an abandoned railbed extends south from Greenville Junction to Shirley Mills and beyond. This family or beginning-level ride is a scenic introduction to fat-tire touring. The trail is wide enough for vehicles to travel along, and the hard-packed gravel surface is easy to ride on. Riders can choose to ride the trail as an out-and-back affair for a total of 13 miles or, leaving a car at either end, as a point-to-point excursion of 6.5 miles.The first few miles of this ride pass through an area of Maine public reserve land that has been designated for special protection. Wiggins Brook Bog, which covers roughly 283 acres of raised peatland, is classified as a"domed" or "convex raised" bog. Because this area harbors the potential for containing certain rare plants, and provides habitat diversity within the context of the reserve, it has received considerable attention from the Department of Conservation and is being maintained for wildlife and research purposes. The latter half of the ride parallels the east branch of the Piscataquis River and terminates at Shirley Pond, where benches overlooking the pond provide a scenic resting place.

General Location: Greenville.
Elevation Change: You will be following an abandoned railroad bed that sees very little change in elevation along its entire length.
Season: This ride is feasible year-round, with the best riding conditions most likely to occur from July through September.
Services: All services are available in Greenville.
Hazards: Apart from possible vehicular traffic, there are a few sections of the trail that may be wet, and there is an occasional washout.
Rescue Index: The best sources of assistance are in the area of the trailhead, where traffic along ME 15/6 is regular and access to Greenville town center is quick and easy.
Land Status: International Paper Company owns the right-of-way along this abandoned railroad bed.
Maps: This route is adequately represented in the DeLorme Mapping Company's Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (map 41, sections D-2 and D-3).

Finding the Trail: From Greenville town center, drive west on ME 15/6 toward Greenville Junction. Immediately after passing under the railroad trestle, turn left and begin driving south. Parking is available off the side of the road.

Source of Additional Information:
North Woods Outfitters
Main Street
Greenville, ME 04441
(207) 695-3288

North Woods Outfitters not only offers bicycle sales and service, but a staff of knowledgeable riders who can provide you with trail information and a coffee shop that serves java in all its delectable forms. Kayaks, canoes, and camping equipment are also available at this excellent resource for outdoor explorers.

Notes on the Trail: The rail bed runs in a southerly direction all the way to a T intersection with Upper Shirley Corner Road. The route is easy to follow and runs in almost a straight, north-south line between Greenville Junction and Shirley Mills.

© Article copyright Menasha Ridge Press. All rights reserved.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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