Back Cove Trail is one of Portland’s most popular spots for walking, running, biking, dog walking (on a leash), and in the winter, cross-country skiing.
The official start line is located across from the Shop N Save located on Prebble Street extension, however, most of the trail is easily accessible from almost any spot along the extension and Baxter Boulevard; The exception would be the stretch across Tukey’s Bridge and along I-295.
Once on the stone dust surfaced path the going is easy. The path is flat and wide enough in most spots for four adults to walk side by side for easy flow of traffic in two directions. The exception is the same stretch mentioned earlier along I-295. The path is slightly narrower. Bikers might find this part of the trail a challenge to share with others.
Along the 3.5 miles, there are plenty of benches set at intervals for the weary to rest or for the appreciative to step off the path to look at waterfowl or out over the cove at the view of the city. Another added benefit is the two water fountains located along the path. There are porta-potties located in the parking lot at the starting point. Half way around the trail is Payson Park and this public park has porta-potties located on the Back Cove end so this can be a handy stop as well. Portland Trails has provided mini-work out stations along the path as well. These stations consist of equipment such as chin-up bars, sit-up boards, rings, etc. Each section has a sign explaining the equipment and how to use it. The stations are being updated as needed. The trail is most popular in the Spring, Summer and Fall but is also maintained and plowed during the Winter months. Recent renovations and the addition of more lights along the path have been great improvements for those who use the path at night.
From the South: Follow I-295 into Portland and take exit 6b, which is Forest Avenue. Turn right at the first light onto Baxter Boulevard, (also Route 1). Take a right at the first light onto Preble Street Extension. The parking lot will be on your left overlooking the cove.
From the North: Take the Baxter Boulevard exit off of I-295, (exit 9). Follow the road around Back Cove. At the light, turn left onto Preble Street Extension and the parking lot will be on the left.