Maine Winter Hikes for Dogs

Cabin fever setting in?  Here are a few of our favorite trails in Maine that we enjoy Dog Friendly Winter Hikes!  Just click on the highlighted name for more information including directions and current weather conditions.  Also be sure to visit our Dog Friendly Places page for more suggestions of trails in Maine to visit as well as in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to let off some puppy energy.  We’ll be reviewing more winter dog friendly hikes in the weeks ahead!

Fort Foster, Kittery:  A great summer destination, this park becomes a must go to destination in the winter to cure cabin fever with open spaces to romp, trails to explore, and fellow dogs to meet and greet.  A popular destination for cross country skiers and snowshoers, Fort Foster offers miles of packed snow paths making it easy for paws to traverse.  Also Fort Foster is an unofficial dog park for Kittery, where dogs can socialize.  Although in the winter months the leash law is not as strictly enforced, please be respectful of other visitors.  Also we cannot stress this enough – always pick up the poop so that we all can continue to enjoy this great park!  During the winter the park is officially closed.  The main gate is locked, the parking lot is not accessible, and the restrooms are closed.  On street parking is available on the road outside the gate, and unlike in the summer, there is no entrance fee.

Kennebunk Plains, Kennebunk: The Kennebunk Plains offers wide open landscape for dog friendly winter hiking.  A popular location for snowmobilers, cross country skiers and snowshoers, the miles of gently rolling trails offer easy winter hiking for you and your dog.  Best yet, during the winter dogs do not need to be on leash, but rather can run off leash under voice control.  The Kennebunk Plains is home to many animals though, so please be respectful of the wildlife, and always pick up the poop.  Limited parking is available on both sides of Route 99.  Please note that the lots are not plowed, so park at your own risk.

Marginal Way, Ogunquit: Marginal Way is a scenic place to walk your dog during the off season.  From October 1 through March 31, dogs are allowed on leash to enjoy this 1.25 miles stretch along the rugged coastline.  The paved walkway has spectacular views of the quintessential Maine coastline.  However, be aware that the walkway is narrow and can be crowded even during the winter months.  There are two municipal parking lots near Marginal Way.  One lot is at Perkins Cove, at the south end of Marginal Way.  Obed’s Lot is at the north end, and can be entered from Cottage Street.  Two hour parking is free during the off season.  Dogs must be on leash.

Eastern Trail, Kennebunk to Biddeford:  The Kennebunk to Arundel stretch of the Eastern Trail is a great place for a winter hike with your dog.  Round trip the Kennebunk to Arundel stretch of the Eastern Trail is approximately six miles of flat easy walking.  Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can walk 12 miles from Kennebunk to Biddeford and back!  Following the former route of Eastern Railroad, this trail is popular with dog walkers, snowshoers, and cross country skiers.  Please be aware though that the trail does parallel Interstate 95 in some areas.  We noticed that in the winter without the foliage to block the noise, our dogs were more concerned by the sound of the traffic than they are on summer visits.  Also the trail does take you over the Maine Turnpike on a footbridge.  So if your dog is skittish this may not be the tranquil walk you envisioned.  But that is just one small stretch of what is overall an enjoyable hiking trail surrounded by dense woods and over rivers and wetlands.  Parking is available at Kennebunk Elementary School at one end and the Maine Medical Center at the other.  Dogs are required to be on leash.

Eastern Trail, Scarborough: The Scarborough section of the Eastern Trail is a popular dog friendly winter hike, especially for snowshoers and cross country skiers.  It is a flat easy walk, with bird watching opportunities and lots of dogs to meet.  Although our dogs would have loved to hike the entire 16 miles round trip from Scarborough to Saco, we limited our winter hike to just the Scarborough Marsh portion of the trail, which is 2.5 miles.  Dogs must remain on-leash, which is especially important if your dogs are like ours and can’t resist the frigid water on either side of the trail. Please stay on the marked trail to prevent erosion and damage to plants, be respectful of the wildlife, and as always pick up after your dog. Parking is available in a small lot on Pine Point Road.  However, based on the unusually mild recent weather conditions when we visited, we do not know if it is normally plowed after snowstorms.

Alewive Woods Preserve: Kennebunk:  Alewive Woods Preserve offers a 2.5 mile trail that is mostly flat which makes for easy walking, and can be used for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.  The well marked trail loops around to Alewife Pond, a popular spot for ice fishing.  We recommend leashing your dog as you near the pond, to avoid your dog getting injured running on ice, and especially if your dog can’t resist a dip in frigid water.  Let’s face it, our Goldens love the water no matter what the season!  But if your dog has good recall, and can resist the temptation, the full loop makes for a great off leash hike.  The parking lot is usually plowed, which is another reason why we enjoy Alewive Woods Preserve, and the trail is very popular with other dog walkers.  Dogs are allowed off leash under voice control.

Highland Farm Preserve: York: Consisting of 151 acres, Highland Preserve’s trails are clearly marked and of varied terrain that take you past wetlands, through forest, and up to scenic outcroppings.  The Barred Owl Trail (white) and Ridge Trail (red) are steep and can be difficult for a leisurely winter hike.  We recommend following the New England Cottontail Trail (yellow) which is a 1 mile loop.  The Junkins Loop Trail (light blue) and Kingsbury Trail (dark blue) are also good to extend your hike.  Please note that the large parking lot is not plowed during the winter.  Dogs must remain on leash.

Orris Falls Conservation Area, South Berwick: Following an abandoned colonial road, the Orris Falls network of trails offers a variety of hiking options.  During the winter we prefer to hike the Big Bump trail which leads away from the falls and wetlands area, so as not to tempt our Goldens with an icy dip in the water.  If you continue past Big Bump you will reach Lachance Point, which has limited views of Mount Agamenticus in the winter, when the trees are bare.  Another point of interest is Balancing Rock, which can be found if you follow the main trail past the falls.  The trails are marked with signs, and are good for snowshoes and cross-country skiing.  But be aware, the trails do get very steep in some areas, especially around the falls.  There is a small parking area for two or three cars by the trailhead, and it is not plowed.  Dogs are required to be on-leash.

Mount Agamenticus, York: With over 40 miles of trails, Mount Agamenticus offers a variety of options for dog friendly winter hikes.  On our most recent visit, we hiked to the top of Second Hill.  To get to Second Hill begin at the base of the mountain on Ring Trail, follow the signs to Rocky Road Trail, and keep going straight to Porcupine Trail, and finally to Second Hill Trail.  At the top, in winter when the trees are bare, there are very limited obstructed views of the ocean.  This is a moderate to difficult winter hike, and the trails are marked.  If you’re looking for an easier dog friendly winter hike, with less obstructed views, we recommend taking the Big A Trail that circles the summit.  Dogs must remain on-leash.  Parking lots are located near the base of the mountain, as well as along the road leading to the summit.  These lots are plowed, but please do not park until after the snow is removed.

For additional dog friendly hikes in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, please visit our Dog Friendly Places page.  Also be sure to check back with Living with a Golden throughout the winter as we add more winter hiking reviews!


About the author

Joy is the personal secretary, executive chef and entertainment coordinator for Chuck Billy and his entourage.

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