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Wildwood & Branch Brook Loop

These trails connect two Saco neighborhoods and lead walkers into the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. This area is a diverse habitat boasting over 300 acres. Explore salt marshes, white pine forests, and birch and maple woodlands, all culminating in spectacular views of Goosefare Brook Marsh. 

Saco Bay Trails has been dedicated to improving the trail network in recent years. Our efforts began in 2020 with the transformation of an old woods road into the scenic Wildwood Trail. To enhance the walking experience, two truss bridges were constructed, completed in phases between 2020 and 2021.  


 In 2021, a trailhead kiosk was added at Wildwood Drive to provide information and orientation for visitors. Most recently, in 2022, Saco Bay Trails continued our work by upgrading and incorporating the Branch Brook Loop, a previously informal trail, into the network. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Saco Bay Trails cooperatively manage the trails that traverse the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Goosefare Brook Division. The trails are built and maintained by volunteers and members of Saco Bay Trails. 

Trail Rules

  • Trails are open from dawn until dusk.

  • Stay on marked trails and respect private property.

  • Follow all posted warnings and signs.

  • Keep your dog leashed and clean up all pet waste.

  • Leave No Trace & pack out all your trash.

  • No alcohol or tobacco.

  • No camping or campfires.

  • No motorized vehicles.

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Trail Descriptions

Trail Map
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Explore the full map!

Click to enlarge or download.

Wildwood Trail (0.75 miles)

Upon leaving Wildwood Drive, the trail immediately crosses the first of two truss bridges built by Saco Bay Trails. Ascending briefly from the bridge, the trail levels out as you walk through a diverse forest of hemlocks, pines, and birch trees.
Soon, you'll encounter the second truss bridge, marking roughly 0.25 miles into your walk. Shortly after the bridge, at 0.30 miles the Branch Brook Loop leaves to the right, offering an optional exploration (The Branch Brook Loop is a 0.5-mile loop that leaves and returns to the Wildwood Trail).
The Wildwood Trail continues north and at 0.35 miles the trail meets the second Branch Brook Loop trailhead on the right. The Wildwood Trail curves westward and offers a scenic view with a bench beside Goosefare Brook at the 0.5-mile mark.
The trail continues westward up a gentle slope for another quarter-mile until it reaches the boundary of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. (0.75 miles) near Ocean Greens Drive.

(Please note, that there is no public trailhead at Ocean Greens Drive. Please respect private property.)

Estimated walking time: 25 minutes (one way)

Branch Brook Loop (0.50 miles) 

This description follows the Branch Brook Loop in a counter-clockwise direction as it leaves the Wildwood Trail.

Marked by yellow blazes, the Branch Brook Loop detours from the Wildwood Trail and heads southeast. The trail passes through an old-growth pine forest and offers glimpses of the marsh area along Branch Brook through the trees.

At about 0.15 miles, the trail takes a more easterly turn, following the edge of the marsh for a while. Around the 0.25-mile mark, it shifts north, offering a change in perspective as Branch Brook intersects with Goosefare Brook.

As you approach the 0.3-mile mark, the path will be enhanced by a series of short bog bridges, helping you navigate seasonally damp areas.

Rest and take in the scenery at the conveniently placed bench on the left side of the trail around 0.34 miles. Here, you'll be rewarded with captivating views of the Goosefare Brook Marsh.

Shortly after the bench, you'll encounter the longest series of bog bridges, culminating in the most breathtaking panorama of the marsh (0.36 miles). Gaze eastward down Goosefare Brook towards Saco's Seaside Avenue and the bridge leading to Ocean Park.

The trail then begins its curve to the northwest. After roughly 0.16 miles, you'll reconnect with the Wildwood Trail, completing your exploration of the Branch Brook Loop.

Estimated walking time: 15 minutes.

Trailhead Information

From downtown Saco go north a few blocks to the traffic light at Beach Street. Turn right on Beach Street/ME-9 and travel 2.4 miles. Turn left onto Wildwood Drive and continue until you reach a dead end. Parking is along the road shoulder. The trailhead kiosk is on the left.

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