There are 2.5 miles of trail at Gilsland Farm made up of three loops: the West Meadow Trail (.7 miles), the Pond Meadow Trail (.6 miles), and the North Meadow Trail (1.2 miles).
Destination Distance From Downtown
1 of 5 diamonds
The trails are well-maintained and easy to follow.
Time To Complete
You can hike just one of the loops making this a quick visit, or hike all three. The trails at Gilsland Farm contain wide varieties of wildlife. Taking your time here is worth it.
Spring, Summer, and Fall
Hiking is only available during the non-winter months. Each season brings new varieties of birds and wildlife. For wildflowers, June is the time to go.
In the winter the trails are used for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Because it is a nature preserve, dogs are not permitted here.
Gilsland Farm Audubon Center is a 65-acre nature sanctuary located just five minutes from Portland. The sanctuary, located along the Presumpscot River estuary, contains 2.5 miles of trails that wind through various ecosystems making it a great destination and educational visit for families looking for a quick trip into nature.
The three primary trails are: the West Meadow Trail (.7 miles), which provides views of the Portland skyline in the distance, but is better suited for spotting different types of birds throughout the year; the Pond Meadow Trail (.6 miles) that wanders past hundred-year-old trees to a pond; and the North Meadow Trail (1.2 miles), which as it name suggests, ambles along the meadow that was once used as farmland and now provides valuable nesting grounds for many species of birds.
What Makes It Great
The Gilsland Farm Audubon Center is the headquarters of Maine’s Audubon society. As such, it contains a nature store, discovery room for children, and a teacher’s resource center. The trails here are well-maintained and easy to follow. They provide access to a wide range of wildlife seen in a natural and protected environment. Visitors may see animals such as weasels, red fox, or deer as well as abundant varieties of birds. Gilsland Farms is also known for having black woodchucks.
The sanctuary is open year-round, making it a great destination anytime in the year. In late June hundreds of species of peonies spring to life. In the winter, visitors can rent snowshoes ($3 member/ $5 nonmember) to explore the winter wildlife within the sanctuary. The trails can also be used for cross-country skiing. Flocks or migrating birds can also be found during different times of the year.
Who is Going to Love It
Anyone can appreciate this wildlife sanctuary, but the relatively short and maintained trails paired with the educational resources make it a wonderful place for families to explore. Take the time to wander along the trails as well as exploring the discovery room for a great educational experience for everyone. Cap the day off with a picnic in the sanctuary’s butterfly garden for a memorable family experience.
Bird lovers will also love the variety of birds found at Gilsland Farm. Waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds are present throughout the year. Birds of prey, including red-tailed hawks, patrol the skies while bobolinks, meadowlarks, and Canada geese take advantage of the farm’s meadows.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The Gilsland Farm Audubon Center is located just five minutes north of Portland along Route 1 in Falmouth. Take Route 1 North and turn left onto Gilsland Farm Road not far after crossing the Martin Point Bridge. All the trails can be accessed from the main parking area.
The trails are open from dawn to dusk. Because this is a nature sanctuary, it is important to stay on the trails and carry out any litter. Another reason to stay on the trails is to avoid picking up ticks, which are a problem throughout the northeastern United States. Dogs and pets are not allowed. Bicycles, alcoholic beverages, camping, and off-road vehicles are also prohibited.