Saint John Valley Heritage Trail

Trailhead

The trail can be accessed from either end, in Fort Kent or Saint Francis. In Fort Kent, the trail begins on the west side of Market Street, across the road from John’s One-Stop and CITGO gas station, and immediately crosses the Fish River over a pedestrian bridge. In Saint Francis, the trail begins at an intersection with Sunset Drive, just south of Route 161.

Description

Beginning in Fort Kent and ending in Saint Francis, the 17-mile-long trail runs through sections of thick woods and, at times, along the south bank of the Saint John River. The trail is shared by pedestrians and recreational motorists alike, as snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles are allowed on the trail, with speed limitations. The trail is surfaced with hard-packed gravel in the warmer months, and groomed snow in the winter.

The Saint John Valley Heritage Trail is a rail-to-trail system of the former Fish River Railroad corridor, which was later taken over by the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad, a rail line that transported goods and passengers across northern Maine in old times. Skirting the Saint John River, the well-maintained trail offers views of the forests, farmlands, and wetlands along the River.

As the trail continues through downtown Fort Kent, watch for road crossings and spurs that lead to restaurants, service stations, and other businesses. Beyond town, the trail passes through forests and wetlands along the Saint John River. About 5 miles west from Fort Kent trailhead is a lean-to that can be used as a shelter or picnic site. Although the trail parallels State Route 161 for several miles, the mixed forest remains quiet and serene. Nearing the trail's end in Saint Francis is the B & A Turntable. It is a historic railroad turntable preserved by Saint Francis Historic Society. At one time, Saint Francis was the “end of the line” for the Bangor and Aroostook railroad. The turntable was made in 1904 and was used until the 1980’s. It was used to turn the entire locomotive around.

Maine

Photos

Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Overview to St. John River from the trail
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Fort Kent trailhead
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Plaque at Fort Kent trailhead
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
The trail in woods
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
B & A Turbtable
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
A pedestrian bridge over Fish River
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
A lean-to (5 miles from Fort Kent trailhead)
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Saint Francis terminus (trailhead)
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
American Dream (Shop)
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
A bench
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
A bench
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Fort Kent Golf Club
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Lonesome Pine Ski
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Sign for a nearby store
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
The Store on Sugar Shack Rd
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors
A trash bin
Photo courtesy: Aroostook Outdoors