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Kayak Tour to Fort Gorges

  • Portland Paddle Cutter Street Portland, ME, 04101 United States (map)

Photo Courtesy of Portland Paddle

Paddle to one of Greater Portland Landmarks' Places in Peril!

All skill levels from novice to expert
 are welcome on this tour!

Portland Paddle has designed a special tour of Fort Gorges for the Greater Portland Landmarks Community! Learn the latest about the preservation of this landmark while exploring the elegant granite halls, dark passageways and towering ramparts of Fort Gorges. This tour will be lead by a Portland Paddle guide who is an expert in both kayaking and Fort Gorges history. Landmarks staff will update tour attendees on why preserving the Fort matters and what preservation is being done.

We'll start off with a paddle into Portland harbor and then make the crossing out to Hog Island, where we'll land on a beach and walk around the Island. This three-hour trip is the best way to combine the experience of sea kayaking on the Maine coast with exploring one of the region's most exciting historic landmarks only accessible by small boat. 

Fort Gorges, Named after Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Fort Gorges was built 1858-1864 by Ruben Smart and is modeled after Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Fort Gorges was planned and constructed as one of three forts in Portland Harbor in reaction to the threat of foreign naval powers, initially provoked by the War of 1812. It is a D-shaped, two-story, enclosed fortress, constructed entirely with local granite, and hosted 56 gun emplacements on the south, east, and west facades. When completed in 1864, Fort Gorges was already deemed obsolete due to technological advancements in rifled artillery and high-explosive ammunition developed during the Civil War. Fort Gorges hosted a live-in caretaker after the Civil War, and acted as a storage facility in both World War I and World War II. Declared surplus property in 1960, the United States government conveyed Fort Gorges to the city of Portland, which continues to own the property today.

 Kayaks provided, most people will be in tandem kayaks.
Space is limited to 18.


  • Starting off your trip with a brief lesson on the basics of sea kayaking taught by an expert kayak guide. Novices are welcome on this tour. 
  • Roughly two hours of slow to moderate-paced sea kayaking; appropriate for novices
  • A visit to historic Fort Gorges, where you'll spend 30-45 minutes exploring the site
  • Possible sightings of seals, eider ducks, guillemots, osprey, eagles and all sorts of seabirds
  • Possible splashing and dripping during the paddle -- you may get slightly damp or wet. 

This tour is sponsored by: