Nearby trails provide running paths
Students looking to explore nature’s scenic solitude need not plan a trip as far away as Acadia or Baxter State Park. Just minutes from campus there is a collection of trails built to facilitate outdoor exploration in Waterville and the surrounding communities.
Kennebec and Messalonskee Trails (KMTrails) is an organization that is devoted to the building and maintenance of these trails. KMTrails was formed in 2002. Construction of the trails began in 2004.
The mission of KMTrails is centered on promoting interest in the Kennebec River and Messalonskee Stream, in an effort to “improve the health of our community, embrace our historic river heritage…and attract attention to the aesthetic and economic values represented by our clean and reborn rivers,” as stated on the KMTrails website.
The Messalonskee Stream Trail (MST), completed in 2007, is three miles in length. It starts in Oakland and ends within walking distance of the College, making it a favorite of some students who don’t want to run on busy roads. “I use the beloved MST for trail running…the wooden bridges, especially in the fall, give a Lord of the Rings feel to sprinting through the woods,” said Nick Cunkelman ’11.
The MST is also a go-to for the Colby Outing Club (COC). “We do trail runs with the COC every week or so and often use this loop,” said Hannah Lafleur ’11, COC co-president. “I love the terrain, the views out over the water and, at least for now, the incredible fall foliage [along the MST],” she said.
Additionally, just down the hill from campus is the Quarry Road Trail. Completed last winter, it is a hilly three-mile loop along the opposite bank of the Messalonskee. “The trail [leads] to a 100-acre parcel that Colby College generously [donated] to the City as part of a land swap,” the KMTrails website explains. This parcel is now the Quarry Road Recreation Area, which has been revitalized as a skiing spot for cross-country and is accessible by the trails.
Other KMTrails include the Benton-Winslow Rotary Trail, North Street Recreational Area Trail, South End Island Trail and Mill Island Park, and all of the trails are suitable for walking, running, biking and adventuring.