Autumn in New England is a vibrant, breathtaking and spectacular time of year — but have you ever experienced it on the lake? There are seemingly endless ways to soak up Maine’s most colorful season in the Moosehead region. Here are a few of our top recommendations:
The leaves are the star of the show around here, and for good reason! The lake will get lit up with brilliant red (black, red, scarlet and white oak; more maple species and sumac), purple (white ash and witch hazel) and yellow (ash, basswood, beech, birches, butternut, elm, multiple maple species, mountain ash, and poplar) foliage that appears to burst into view almost overnight. Remember, weather has a lot to do with how and when colors develop, so the best days to go leaf peeping are after crisp days and even chillier nights. If you’re planning a drive to soak up the scenery, be sure to schedule the best views for around sunset — the afternoon light will showcase the fall colors while letting the evergreen tones fade away.
If you’d like to take home a souvenir from your fall foliage adventure, consider selecting one or two leaves then pressing them between waxed paper or preserving them in a solution of 1:2 glycerine and water overnight.
Do you have a hunting license or a passion for hunting? The Moosehead Lake region abounds with ruffed grouse, rabbit, wild turkeys, deer, bear, and moose. There’s plenty of land to share, and with the assistance of a Registered Maine Guide, you can learn all the local hotspots for finding the best and biggest game! Registered Maine Guides are outdoor professionals who are licensed and permitted to assist any person in the fields, forests, or waters within the jurisdiction of the State while hunting, fishing, trapping, etc. In short: They know the area and they know how to find what you’re looking for!
Be sure to have your license or permit in order before visiting so that you can step right into your camo and/or your hunter orange without further ado — you can even apply for a license or permit online! Make sure you brush up on all hunting laws before heading out, by visiting The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Hunting is a great opportunity to spend quality time in the woods, either in silence on a solo hunt or while teaching the next generation the ropes. It can be an incredibly important bonding experience and teaches important life skills like patience, deliberation, proper firearm safety and use, and the importance of appreciating our natural resources.
Cool air, still water, and a tug on your line — what could be better? Plan an autumn fishing excursion to experience our famed waterways and soak in some exceptional views. In the fall, fish move away from larger bodies of water and into smaller rivers and streams to spawn. Be prepared as fall fishing can be feast or famine. Availability of guided trips is limited, so if you want to book a guide for fall fishing now is the time, don’t wait! The dates for the end of the fall fishing season greatly depend on what river or body of water you are fishing on. It’s essential that you check the current 2021 fishing laws by visiting The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
PRO TIP: It’s a great time of year to break out your streamers! These wet flies are the best bet in attracting fish as their bright colors are most appealing in the fall.
Let’s get some boots on the ground! Fall is perhaps the best time to hit the trails around the Lake, as the scenery is particularly spectacular and the summer visitors have left for the season. Enjoy crisp air, stunning foliage, quiet trails and glimpses of local wildlife as they prepare for the onset of winter.
It’s a great time of year to tackle the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit Challenge! By allotting one day per mountain, you can tackle all the peaks in less than a week with plenty of time to enjoy the hikes and really take in the scenery. We recommend starting with Mount Kineo, then moving on to Number Four Mountain, Whitecap Mountain, and Eagle Rock, then finishing strong on days five and six with Big Moose Mountain and Borestone Mountain!
The weather can get chilly this time of year, so be sure to wear wool socks (a must-have for hiking any day!) and light, insulating layers so that you’ll stay warm on the trail. Be sure to check the forecast before striking off, and pack plenty of water and trail snacks for each day!
Imagine this: You wake up early in the morning when the fall air is extra crisp and the birds are still singing. The sunlight is pouring through the fabric of your tent, diffusing into a warm glow that just promises a beautiful day ahead. You make yourself a pot of strong, hot coffee over an open flame, then lean back in your camp chair, absorbing the view of the dynamic fall colors for miles around.
When you camp near the lake, you can choose to fill every day just as you choose: quiet, reflective solitude, active adventure, or passive meandering through the region’s treasure trove of natural attractions. Fall camping brings its own set of specific joys and promises to be an unforgettable experience. All you need to bring is your tent, a warm sleeping bag and blankets, food, and cooking utensils to craft a north woods getaway worthy of an annual tradition.
Not ready to “rough it”? Our region offers a substantial variety of camp, cottage and cabin rentals, most within close proximity of the water. Keep the views and the privacy, while upgrading to a thick mattress, a roof over your head and perhaps a cozy reading nook!
See the Lake from the Katahdin Steamship
Ready to sit back and really soak it all in? Plan a guided historic lake tour aboard the Kate! This unique experience offers a glimpse of scenic landmarks on the water along with a narration of the area’s history and sights. Freshly-prepared meals, local brews, and other special treats are available on board, and there are multiple cruise packages to choose from so you can craft an experience that’s just right for your party or family. As a reminder, the last cruise of the 2021 season is Monday, October 11th. After your cruise, tour the Moosehead Marine Museum to browse local artifacts and learn more about the history and agricultural development of our region. It’s a rare and mesmerizing peek into the region’s past!
Fall is a great time of year to look for Moose! September, October, November and December are some of the best months to spot a moose. You may be able to spot a fully antlered Bull Moose if you’re lucky! We have many resources on our website if you’d like to take a self-guided tour. We also have a number of Registered Maine Guides in our region that offer guided Moose Watching tips.
GETTING TO KNOW MOOSEHEAD’S FORESTS
Moosehead Lake forests were once home to Native American tribes, who thrived on the area’s abundance of food, water, and shelter. Mt. Kineo was prized for a rare rock type called rhyolite that indigenous peoples found ideal for flintknapping tools. The region was later settled by lumbermen who saw the value in bringing great wood to important markets. By the mid-1800s, steamboats were introduced, which fueled large-scale logging efforts. For example, steamboats towed thousands of logs corralled by boom chains to the East Outlet, which were then released down the Kennebec River to southerly markets.
Mt. Kineo also became a destination for well-to-do tourists who valued the stunning forest, mountain vistas, hunting, and fishing. The Kineo House, a grand hotel, fueled tourism beginning in the 1850s. Some remnants of the hotel are still visible, including the nine-hole golf course and some antique items that have been restored. Today, the Moosehead Lake area’s forestland continues to be a driving economic force for the region.
TODAY’S CONSERVATION METHODS
Tourism and timber remain the primary economic drivers of the Moosehead Lake region. Preservation is a strong focus in the region, with emphasis on protecting the area’s natural resources through conservation. . This means that some conserved land is held by the state, some by conservation groups, and some by private owners and/or corporations.
Lily Bay State Park, Mt. Kineo State Park, and nearly 1,000 acres of Farm Island (north of Kineo) are owned by Maine citizens but protected by deed restrictions that limit development, safeguard public access and, in some instances, make provisions for timber harvesting. Other parcels — adding up to hundreds of thousands of acres — are held by The Nature Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Forest Society of Maine, Weyerhaeuser,(a private timberland corporation), and The National Park Service.
There are some conservation guidelines in place that limit the use of forestlands around the Moosehead region. The restricted forestland might be an ecological reserve, designated deer yards, or just an area where cutting timber is forbidden. Some lake shores and rivers are off-limits to building as well.
This has not always been the case. In modern times, the land began to change ownership more frequently, often according to changing markets and investment opportunities. This created a sense of uncertainty locally, which eventually led to an increased focus on conserving the area’s assets in unique ways.
HOW ORGANIZATIONS ARE SHAPING MOOSEHEAD’S FORESTS
Today, the Forest Society of Maine, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and other select organizations have become instrumental in the conservation of Moosehead’s forests. Local landowners look to these organizations to help protect forestland. For example, one resident recently donated an 80-acre woodlot to the Forest Society in hopes that visitors will view it as a resource for learning about the area’s forests.
The Appalachian Mountain Club helped preserve the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, then shifted its focus to Maine, with the intention to become a partner in private ownership. Since its original acquisition of Little Lyford Pond and Camps, it expanded to include the conservation of large tracts of land on the east side of Moosehead region. Today, the operations include recreational lodges, cabins, and a forestry program, all of which offer area employment opportunities. AMC has also provided access to miles of hiking trails and new recreation opportunities.
Weyerhaeuser, the largest private forestland owner in the region, has been closely involved in both preservation and economic development efforts. . Its work is focused on creating a sustainable forest-based economy.
BUILDING A PREDICTABLE FUTURE
With all of these efforts, locals and visitors alike can rest assured that the views and natural resources they have come to know and love will be here for years to come. Those who come to the forest for a sense of peace, stillness, and familiarity will continue to find a sanctuary from the chaos of everyday life. Conservation of Moosehead’s forestland is leading to a more stable, healthy, and predictable future for the people who choose to live and recreate among its stately trees.
Special thanks to Suzanne from the Moosehead Historical Society!
Happy summer on the lake! It’s a great time of year to dive in and cool off. There are so many things to do on and in the water at Moosehead. Whether you want to be on, in or just near the water while visiting Moosehead, there is water fun for everyone!
Please be sure to plan in advance for your trip, as water activities on the lake are very popular and lodging and water equipment rentals tend to be booked early.
The Best Ways to Get on the Water in Moosehead Lake
Lily Bay State Park
This 925-acre gem of the region offers multiple points of access and activities to enjoy quality time on the lake! The park allows boating, swimming, and fishing. Here’s how to best take advantage of Lily Bay:
- Boating – The park has two boat launches with slips at each end of the park (located at Dunn Point and Rowell Cove). Motorized and non-motorized watercraft are allowed, but the area can get windy so it’s best for smaller vessels to stay close to shore for safety.
- Swimming – Lily Bay is the ideal spot for diving into Moosehead Lake! Beaver Cove features a sand beach that is great for families with children of all ages. The park also offers designated swimming areas with fine pebble beaches, stunning beach views, and even wheelchair access areas so that everyone can be included in the fun.
- Fishing – Fishing is a great summer sport for individuals of all ages and experience levels. The warmer months bring open-water fishing opportunities to hook landlocked salmon, brook trout, and lake trout (usually early to mid-May). As of early June, smallmouth bass have become prolific. According to guests, it’s common to catch 3-to 5-pound smallmouths!
Take a Boat Tour
Local history meets scenic vistas and the peace of drifting on deep waters when you step aboard the steamship Katahdin. Take a tour of the lake, munch a homemade lunch or special dinner, and learn about the history of the region while discovering hidden coves and noteworthy landmarks. Through mid-October, choose from cruise options like the Sunset Dance Cruise, Moosehead Lake Brunch Cruise, Sugar Island Cruise, and Moosehead Lake Fireworks Cruise.
The Katahdin is one of Moosehead’s most prominent pieces of history, having once carried everything from livestock and equipment, to supplies and log booms. Now considered a “living museum,” her galley stocks beverages, sandwiches and snacks, with a corresponding gift shop and more museum attractions to explore on land. For more information call, 207-695-2716 or visit www.katahdincruises.com
Looking for a private boat tour? Take a sunset cruise, picnic cruise, or sunset cruise on a 31 foot Ranger Tug with Moosehead Tugboat Tours! Or – head to The Birches Resort and check out the “Birches Dreamer” Charter Boat for cruises and charters!
Enjoy Food and Drinks Lakeside
What day on the water is complete without waterfront cocktails?
Stop by Dockside Inn and Tavern in downtown Greenville to sip local specialties like a Kineopolitan Cosmo, The Birchman-Moscow Mule, Sugar Island Coconut, Pear Spritzah, and Liquored Up Lemonade while soaking up sun and beautiful views of the water. Dockside is famous for its crab stuffed haddock, bacon-wrapped scallops and other tidbits alongside a full menu of locally-sourced fare. They also feature Gluten-Free options for those with sensitivities/allergies to gluten.
Kelly’s Landing is a long time staple in the Moosehead Lake area! The Birches is another great place to enjoy a meal along the water if Rockwood! In Monson, you can eat and drink along the shores of Lake Hebron at the Lakeshore House.
Or, pick up some wine from Indian Hill Trading Post and a picnic basket from Northwoods Gourmet Girl and enjoy the public beach in Greenville, or take a lakeside picnic in any of the surrounding areas!
Jump Into Moosehead Lake!
There are plenty of places to take a dip in Moosehead Lake. Here’s how to get to some of our favorite spots:
- Sneak around behind Mt. Kineo to visit the secret pebble beach (which features a rope swing in addition to the swimming area!)
- Take a trip to downtown Greenville then cut through the woods to Red Cross Beach. This great swimming beach is great for families and even has a summer lifeguard on duty.
- Looking for more kid-friendly swimming options? The Greenville Junction Wharf includes a lakeside playground for littles to enjoy while visiting the beach.
- Spin down Blanchard Road to Monson Public Beach for a sandy stretch of shore with large floats for swimming and jumping off of.
- Take the adventure up a notch by visiting Little Wilson Falls in Monson. This hike is part of the Appalachian Trail and includes small pools perfect for a summertime dip — just be careful as the rocks can be very slick! This spot is better for an adults-only swim.
Rent Jet Skis, Boats and SUP This Summer – or bring your own!
Moosehead Lake is rife with watercraft options! We recommend taking some time to explore the water via standup paddleboard, jet ski, kayak, canoe and/or boat. Many of the local businesses on the lake offer equipment and watercraft rentals so you can explore for the day without carting around your own gear.
- Rent a SUP from Wilson Pond Cabins or The Birches Resort.
- Find a Jet ski at The Birches Resort.
- Pick out the perfect boat from The Birches Resort, or Wilson Pond Cabins.
There are also additional boat and watercraft rental opportunities in Rockwood available, but be sure to book them well in advance as boating Moosehead is extremely popular.
Scope Out Shipwrecks on Moosehead Lake
Being the largest mountain lake in the eastern United States, Moosehead holds some intriguing secrets! Believe it or not, these cold, deep waters hold around a dozen shipwrecks, many of which are decades-old steamships that were burned to the waterline then sunk. Some, however, are nearly fully-preserved vessels that retain architectural features that speak to the history of the lake.
Make it a solo adventure to explore these sites, or create a fun family treasure hunt to spot as many wrecks as are visible from the surface!
Whitewater rafting is a bucket list item for many people! Moosehead Lake is at the heart of whitewater rafting in Maine, located between world-class whitewater on the Kennebec River (family fun rafting experience) and the Penobscot River (more adventurous whitewater trip), with daily rafting trips, transportation offered by Moxie Outdoors and Northeast Whitewater from May – September. Learn more about Whitewater Rafting on our website!
When you visit the Moosehead Lake region, you will be presented with unlimited opportunities to enjoy the water. Whatever you decide, you are sure to have a blast! Make sure to share your photos with us on social media using #DestinationMooseheadLake so we can see all of your water FUN!
Maine is a “bucket list” hike for many outdoor adventurers! People fall in love with Maine because of its beauty and hiking and the Moosehead Lake region is no different! Our region has some of the best views in the state. Take a trek near the lake to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Here are a few of the reasons why our region’s trails are really special:
1) You will find solitude
When you hit the trail around Moosehead Lake, you’re guaranteed plenty of peace and quiet to do some introspective unpacking. With the vast amount of land — and trails — in the area, it’s unlikely you’ll see another person, so you can enjoy the time to yourself and focus on why you decided to unplug. With no one else around, it becomes easier to center yourself, meditate on the sound of your own breathing, notice the movement of the leaves, hear the lapping of the water, and observe the wildlife that will likely wander across your path. It’s time to focus on the little things, not that endless “to do” list!
Many trails are overly crowded right now with people embracing the outdoors after COVID. Not the case in Moosehead! We love that the general populous is returning to a more nature-loving lifestyle; however, we’re pleased to report that there’s plenty of North Woods to share. If you’re finding yourself craving open air, solitude and winding trails, head our way!
2) You will find hikes for all levels of adventurers
Do you like setting your own pace, or do you have little ones in tow? Are you a seasoned backpacker, or just starting to break in those hiking boots? Looking to meander a bit and soak up views, or challenge yourself to a section of the Appalachian Trail? No matter your experience (or energy!) level, there are trails for you. Here are a few places to start, based on your level of experience and confidence:
Hikes for Kids near Moosehead Lake
Some of the easily traveled and flatter hikes in the Moosehead Lake region are the trails at Lily Bay State Park, the B-52 Memorial, the trail to Big Moose Pond, Moxie Falls, and the first portion of the hike out to Little Wilson Falls! These trails are good for adventurers of all ages and all levels of patience. Each of these trails offer great viewpoints with little effort! If your kids are older and they are ok with climbing a bit of elevation, you can add Little Kineo and Burnt Jacket Mountain to your list! Both of those hikes are approximately 2 miles or less! For experienced families, Mount Kineo and Borestone are also great hikes! Both of these hikes are approximately 3.5 miles round trip.
Off of the Katahdin Ironworks Road, you can hike into Rum Pond, where there are some trails to explore that go up onto Blue Ridge which are great for families!
Backpacking Hikes near Moosehead Lake
Our region includes sections of the Appalachian Trail including the 100 Mile Wilderness, so there are many opportunities to backpack! According to Registered Maine Guide and author of the Maine Mountain Guide Carey Kish, Little Moose Public Land has a trail network and a handful of backcountry campsites. You can backpack the Appalachian Trail on the Barren-Chairback Range, which features five peaks traversed by the AT. There are three shelters and several tent sites. You can also backpack the White Cap Range. Four peaks traversed by the AT. Two shelters and several tent sites.
Solo Hikes near Moosehead Lake
Many people enjoy hiking solo, and the trails surrounding Moosehead Lake are perfect for finding that solitude. With any hike, it’s important to come prepared with the ten essentials, but when you hike solo, it’s even more important to pack well. Be sure to have all your bases covered, including assets for navigation, a headlamp, sun protection, first aid, a knife, your preferred fire lighters, some form of shelter, extra food, extra water, and some additional clothing options. It’s important to note that many areas in our region do not offer cell service, so it’s a great opportunity to get away from daily responsibilities and mindless scrolling — just be sure to let someone know about your plans and timeline for the day!
3) You will experience unique views
Waterfalls, fire towers, lakes, ponds, mountains, rocky cliffs… the list goes on! When you hike in the Moosehead Lake region, you’ll be treated to views beyond trees and skies. Maine’s landscape and the scenery is incredibly diverse, and our region does an excellent job of sampling nearly all of it. From many vantage points, the views unfold for miles around, revealing what feels like almost all of the state!
REGIONAL SECRET: One of the best-kept secrets of hiking near Moosehead is that from the top of Eagle Rock, you can see 360 degree views of the surrounding areas, which feature Mount Katahdin, Sugarloaf Mountain, and the 100 Mile Wilderness section of the Appalachian Trail! It’s an amazing place to pause, soak in the scenery, bask in the sunlight and reflect on the progress of your hike for the day.
Hikes with Fire Towers near Moosehead Lake
For those of you that love fire towers, we have a fire tower hike in our region that has arguably one of the best views in the state of Maine! The view from the top of the Mount Kineo fire tower is stunning. You can really take in the vastness of Moosehead Lake. Other hikes that include fire towers in our region are Big Spencer Mountain and Number 4 Mountain, although Number 4 Mountain is just the structure.
Hikes to Waterfalls near Moosehead Lake
We have some beautiful waterfall hikes in our region! Some of the most popular waterfall hikes include Gulf Hagas, Moxie Falls, Little Wilson Falls, and the falls at Goodell Brook in Monson! Gulf Hagas is probably the most well known waterfall hike in Maine. This approximately 8 mile hike has excellent views along the way that include Screw Auger Falls, Jaws, Buttermilk Falls, and Billings Falls. This trail is definitely the most difficult waterfall hike, but you don’t have to do the whole trail in order to see the falls! Many people stop at Screw Auger Falls and enjoy lunch before turning around. Moxie Falls and Little Wilson Falls are much shorter waterfall hikes that you can complete in just a few hours. The falls at Goodell Brook is a very quick trip off the Appalachian Trail in Monson! You could easily visit all of these waterfall hikes in just a few days during your trip to Moosehead Lake!
4) You can have an immersive outdoor experience
Ready to make the most of your hiking experience? The shores and forests of the Moosehead Lake region are dotted with rustic cabins, quaint cottages and welcoming B&Bs offering a memorable and comfortable place to crash between treks (as well as some pretty phenomenal food!). Be sure to check our list of places to stay in the area if you decide to make your exploration of the area a multi-day experience! Most of the local lodging offers quick, convenient access to trails and is likely nestled in the woods or perched lakeside to help you stay enveloped in the outdoors for your entire visit.
Prefer something a little closer to nature? There are nearly endless options for camping in the North Maine woods! Bring your tent, van, or travel trailer to stay trailside or tucked into the deep woods. It’s a great way to extend the silence and serenity of your experience, offers ample stargazing opportunities, and maintains the comfort of a familiar home base.
Stay by the lake, and you can cool off in style at the end of the day! Nothing beats the feeling of running down the dock and diving into the cool water after a day of trekking in the hot sun. When you’ve finished hiking, dive in to cool off and clean up, or rent a boat to watch the sunset from the surface of the lake. There are multiple local businesses offering water crafts and equipment to help you take advantage of every moment of your adventure on the lake.
Want to enjoy a camping and hiking remote experience? AMC has free/first come first serve paddle to sites on Second/Third/Fourth Roach! Hike around the Spencer Mountain region and camp & paddle! AMC also owns and maintains a handful of primitive campsites are located on a chain of ponds along the Roach River east of Moosehead Lake. Each equipped with a fire ring, privy, tent pad and picnic table, these sites are a perfect getaway for campers looking for a secluded, peaceful camping experience. Learn more in this article by Aislinn Sarnacki.
5) You will experience nature and wildlife
Have you even been to Moosehead if you don’t see a moose — or at least some moose sign? The area is packed with the lake’s majestic namesake, though they can be stealthy and discreet. While on the trail, keep an eye out for moose (and their poops!), as well as deer, coyotes, porcupine, fox, raccoons, lynx, and the occasional bear. The wildlife in the region tends to be visible yet unbothered, leading to great photo ops from a respectful distance.
Birdwatching is a year-round activity in Maine, and a day on the trails is the perfect time to take count of the area’s feathered friends! Ducks, hawk, osprey, loons, grouse, woodpeckers, chickadees and jays are frequent fliers in the region, but many more species can be seen and heard throughout the woods and near the water. If you’re lucky, you may spot a bald eagle! The Maine Audubon Society offers regional birding guides including best places to look for birds, seasonal high points, and which species to expect. There is so much to do on your adventures through the Maine woods!
Learn more about the region and its extensive trails in our Official Moosehead Lake Hiking Guide! It’s packed full of tips, trips, directions and other invaluable information to help you plan your Moosehead Lake hiking expedition. Sign up for our Email Newsletter today and have the Official Moosehead Lake Hiking Guide sent straight to your inbox!
Every spring, Maine begins to awaken and blossom into lush foliage, lively wildlife, and fresh, beautiful air. It’s a great time to explore the region and discover new sights or different perspectives on some of your favorite spots.
Not sure where to start? Here are our top 5 favorite ways to explore the Moosehead Lake region in the Spring!
ATV Trips at Moosehead
Breathe in the fresh mountain air and take in the panoramic trailside views just before you duck into the tree-lined paths. Splash through the biggest mud puddles, then dry out with a picnic lunch along the way. You may even have a moose watching you from the brush!
The Moosehead Lake region offers nearly endless ATV trails and resources, providing excellent opportunities to explore nearly every corner of the lake. The ATV trails are set to open on May 22nd. (Please note that these maps are not produced or maintained by Destination Moosehead Lake.)
Helpful Links & ATV Trail Maps:
Want to hit the trails but don’t have a ride of your own? Rent an ATV from one of these local businesses:
The Maine Birding Trail
The Maine Birding Trail offers a peek into early-season migration for a wide range of bird species, beginning as early as March with the arrival of mixed sparrow flocks and the distinctive display-flight sounds of American Woodcock, then will file in Blue-headed Vireos, Hermit Thrushes, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and other songbirds. Later in the season come the hawks, then finally, the shorebirds.
Follow the Maine Birding Trail by downloading a copy of the trail guide. Find specific viewing areas and information about our local species at The Maine Highlands: Bangor, Moosehead, Katahdin. You can also get statewide birding information at Maine Birding Trail.
Moosehead Lake is nearly forty miles long and twenty miles wide with breathtaking scenery of undeveloped shoreline and mountains. Spring fishing on Moosehead Lake — from ice out to before Memorial Day Weekend– can produce catches that inspire legendary stories.
There are endless opportunities to reel in dinner. You could hook landlocked salmon, brook trout, and in the Lily Bay and Spencer Bay areas, Smallmouth bass.
Don’t forget that there are more than forty ponds and lakes — in addition to Moosehead Lake’s nearly 118 square miles – that provide even more opportunities for fishermen to explore. Many of them are roadside providing easy access by canoe, kayak or you may choose to hike into the many backcountry ponds where your only visitor may be one of the many moose and deer that call this region home.
- The Moose River, found on the western shore of Moosehead in Rockwood, is a tributary to Moosehead Lake offering the very best early season fishing in the Region. It can be accessed by canoe, from the shore, or by wading.
- The East Outlet of the Kennebec River, the largest river in the Moosehead Region, offers cold, clean water from Moosehead well into the summer. It is fly fishing only and parts are open year round. Voted “1 of 100 places in America you need to fly fish before you die”, this amazing fishery produces Brook Trout and Salmon all year long.
- The Roach River, on the eastern side of Moosehead, is also a tributary to Moosehead Lake. Don’t let its small size fool you! This fly fishing only, catch and release, rather remote fishery, produces amazing fish from a streamlike long River. Be sure to catch the smelt run/sucker spawn in the spring!
Reminder: Be sure that you have a fishing license and an up-to-date fishing regulation book from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. Our local bait shops have you covered if you lose or forget your favorite flies.
Spring in Maine means fiddleheads! Fiddleheads are a Maine delicacy. Only available in Maine from late April to early June, Fiddleheads are the coiled tips of young ostrich ferns that grow near brooks, rivers and lakes. Because they are the furled fronds of a young fern, the window for harvesting them is small. Left on the plant, each fiddlehead would unroll into a fern.
Never been able to sample the seasonal sprouts? These regional delicacies can be described as having a woodsy taste like asparagus, spinach and mushrooms combined. They are high in vitamins A and C, rich with assorted minerals and low in calories. Fiddleheads have antioxidant activity, are high in iron and fiber and are a source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids!
What’s All the Fuss About Fiddleheads? Find the best places to pick up fresh fiddleheads, how to cook them, and why Mainers love them so much!
Best Spring Hikes at Moosehead
Spring is a wonderful time to explore the Moosehead Lake region on foot! Be sure to check out Moxie Falls during the spring runoff, as the gushing water makes for stunning photos. The trail is extremely easy to walk, winding slowly through some of the most beautiful forests in Maine — but keep an eye out for the signs, as they can be easy to miss. There’s no fee to access the trails, and there are even geocaches in the area! The trail to Moxie Falls is approximately 0.9 miles long, and is a round trip hike.
Another seasonal must-see is the Northernmost section of the Appalachian Trail, dotted with waterfalls that perform their absolute best during the spring. This list includes Little Wilson Falls, a favorite of locals and visitors alike for it’s easy to medium level trails and impressive natural presence. You can bring your four-legged friends, but be sure to watch your footing in the early part of the year, as the rocks can be slippery!
Number Four Mountain offers a four-mile round-trip trek, providing access to the beach area on the Lake and showcasing stellar views of Baker and Lily Bay mountains. In the spring, it’s dotted with stunning wildflowers, making for an almost whimsical hike or birdwatching venture. The trail is well-maintained, and leashed dogs are welcome! The tower at the top offers a great vantage point for overlooking the lake.
Up for a hiking challenge this spring? Be sure to check out the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit Challenge which offers 6 amazing summits with views that are worth every step you take!Read More
The Mount Kineo Shuttle
May 28, 2021 through October 11, 2021
Months of May and June
From the Rockwood Public Landing to Kineo: 9:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm
From Kineo to Rockwood: 10:45am, 12:45pm, 2:45pm with a final trip back at 4:45pm
Months of July and August
From the Rockwood Public Landing to Kineo: On the hour, every hour from 8:00am until 6:00pm
From Kineo to Rockwood: 9:45am, 10:45am, 11:45am, 12:45pm, 1:45pm, 2:45pm, 3:45pm, 4:45pm, 5:45pm with a final trip back at 6:45pm
Months of September and October
From the Rockwood Public Landing to Kineo: On the hour, every hour from 9:00am until 4:00pm
From Kineo to Rockwood: 9:45am, 10:45am, 11:45am, 12:45pm, 1:45pm, 2:45pm, 3:45pm, with a final trip back at 4:45pm
Round-Trip Shuttle Fares:
Ages 5 and older: $13.00 per person Cash only
Under age 5: FREE
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Mount Kineo Shuttle:
- The crossing from Rockwood to Kineo takes approximately 10 minutes.
- The Kineo Shuttle does not have a ticket booth; you will be paying the captain in cash as you board.
- In good weather the shuttle will accommodate 10 passengers; the captain may elect to carry fewer passengers in rough weather. If for any reason there are more passengers waiting to board than can be safely ferried across on a scheduled trip, the shuttle will return immediately for those left behind.
- When you step off the docks on Kineo you are at the trailhead for the Mt. Kineo State Park hiking trails. To hike to the observation tower at the top of Mt. Kineo and back to the docks via the Bridle Trail and Indian Trails takes approximately 2 – 2.5 hours. If you choose to go down the North trail from the tower, it becomes a 4-5 hour hike.
- The golf course does not rent golf carts for sightseeing. They are only rented to golfers, per the request of the Kineo Community Owners Association, and they cannot leave the course.
- The golf course and cart paths are not hiking trails.
Where to Find a Moose in the Moosehead Lake Region
In the Moosehead Lake region, one of the most commonly asked questions that we are asked is “where can I see a moose?” Moose are not only our namesake, they are our pride & joy. Spring brings endless new ways to enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of our region, most notably, it marks the time when moose are most prolific and most visible. Besides being the namesake of our favorite lake, moose are incredibly unique and interesting creatures that become even more fascinating once you catch a glimpse! Have you seen a moose in the Moosehead Lake region? Post about it on your social media channels and tag us! @destinationmooseheadlake or #destinationmooseheadlake
What is the Average Moose Size?
The Maine state mammal’s size is both impressive and intimidating by any measure. A fully grown male moose, called a bull, can reach 6 ft. in height at the shoulder and can weigh upwards of 1400 lbs.
What Do Moose Eat?
They enjoy dining on aquatic plants in the summer months and tree bark, leaves and balsam fir in the cooler seasons. Moose must consume 9770 calories per day to maintain their body weight.
How Fast Are Moose?
While clumsy in appearance, moose are actually able to run at speeds of 35 mph and can swim over 10 miles at a time.
Do all Moose Have Antlers?
Only male moose grow antlers, which they shed in early winter and re-grow during the year. The main function of antlers is for display during the mating season. Shed hunting (searching for antlers that have been shed by their owners) is a popular activity.
How Big Are Moose Antlers?
Moose antlers can grow as big as six feet in length! (Imagine carrying that around on your head!) They can weigh up to 40 lbs.
What Time of Day Are Moose Most Active?
Moose are crepuscular animals, meaning that they are most active at dawn and dusk.
What Do Moose Tracks Look Like?
Moose have hooves! Moose hoof prints will measure about 5-7 inches long. Use your hand or foot for comparison!
Are Moose Dangerous?
Moose are not generally aggressive creatures, but you should always use caution around them. Please keep your distance from these incredible creatures. There are certain times when moose can be more aggressive than others. For example, If you encounter a Momma Moose (called a cow), with a baby moose (called a calf), you might experience her protective behaviors. If a moose feels in danger, it will not tolerate the threat. It will charge and begin stomping with its hooves.
How Can I Tell if a Moose Has Been Here?
Keep a look out for rubbed trees, moose tracks, or moose droppings!
- Bull moose will rub their antlers against trees and other hard objects before they drop their antlers each year. If you see rubbed trees, you can be sure a moose has been there!
- Moose tracks measure 5-7” long, about the size of your hand.
- Moose droppings, or scat, look like round pellets and they are usually in piles. You will very often see them on trails.
Interesting Moose Facts
- The flap of skin under a moose’s throat is called a bell.
- Moose have no top front teeth.
- The first law to protect moose was passed in 1930.
- After their first calf, moose quite often have twins.
- Moose can only see about 25 feet.
- Moose can swim and will often submerge themselves in water.
Places to Look for Moose Around Moosehead Lake
In the Moosehead Lake Region, moose outnumber people 3 to 1. If you’re lucky, you might spot one on the side of the road as you head into town for lunch or on your way to rent a canoe. If not, there are a few local hotspots that are almost guaranteed to offer a sighting!
- Take a scenic drive to Kokadjo, a small community north of Greenville. Stay on Lily Bay Road for approximately 20 miles and keep your eyes open for moose along the way!
- Head to Lazy Tom Bog, just past Kokadjo. This bog is a very popular hangout for local moose!
- Make a day of your moose watching by driving to Rockwood, a town north of Greenville on Route 15, where you can ride over to Mt. Kineo aboard a boat shuttle for some hiking or exploring.
- Turn left on Depot Street from Greenville Junction to Shirley. Go right in Shirley, through town onto the dirt road toward The Forks. Beware this road may not be passable during winter and spring.
Moose Spotting Tips
The best times of day to see moose are early in the morning or at dusk, while the best time of year is from mid-spring through late June.
Moose prefer shady, wet areas such as bogs and marshes.
After dark, moose are very hard to spot standing on the road high above vehicle headlights. Always remain alert when driving at night. A moose encounter can result in great damage to vehicles and passengers.
Moose prefer solitude and deep woods cover in their habitat. Professional guide services offer unsurpassed access to the deepest woods territory to give you the best chance of spotting a moose!
Winter Activities in the Moosehead Lake Region
In contrast to most getaway destinations, the Moosehead Lake Region is as magical in the winter as it is in warmer seasons. Whether you bring the whole family or set off on a solo expedition, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the weather and endless areas to explore! Here is a list of our favorite things to do during the winter in Moosehead Lake!
Enjoy breakfast around Moosehead Lake
Cold-weather activities will kickstart your metabolism, so it’s important to fuel up before your adventure. We recommend Birch Bark Bakery & Breakfast, Moosehead Meat & Deli, or Northwoods Gourmet Girl – and a few mugs of coffee, wherever you go – before hitting the snow.
2. Go ice fishing on Moosehead Lake
Soak in the scenery AND stock your cooler by spending some time ice fishing. Moosehead Lake and the surrounding ponds and smaller lakes are teeming with trout, cusk, salmon and togue all winter long! Salmon love to lurk right under the ice, and cusk are often caught after dark (who wants to make it an “all-nighter”?). One of the best spots to set up on the ice is behind Mt. Kineo, as it offers some of the deepest water on Moosehead Lake as well as offering some protections from the sometimes harsh winter winds. Be sure to bring along smelt and cut bait — these are the best options for ice fishing!
3. Hike, snowshoe or ski the trails
The best way to explore the land around you is to hike it! Insert yourself into picturesque views and stunning snow-dusted settings, no special equipment required. Just be sure to bundle up and bring your best boots! The region offers trails fit for family outings (read: little legs) as well as challenging winter trails that will test your stamina and reward you with phenomenal views. The Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit Challenge offers a prestigious badge and panoramic views from each corner of the Moosehead Lake Region for those who summit all six peaks. For an even bigger challenge, complete them in a certain time frame or time of year and earn more badges! Find the best fit for your group or mood with the All Trails or Maine Trail Finder apps!
Ready to pick up the speed just a little? Strap on some snowshoes or rent some cross-country skis and strike off on an adventure. If you’re new to exploring on foot this way, it’s a great idea to work with a Registered Maine Guide for tips and tricks to navigating with gear as well as the best places to start your expedition.
5. Snowmobile endless wooded trails
For fast-paced adventurers, the mechanically inclined, or those that just want to cover as much ground as possible, exploring Moosehead from a snowmobile is a great way to take in the winter sights. The Moosehead Trail offers 160 miles of spectacular and scenic riding, with stops for coffee, lunch, and gas along the way. The local trails join the Maine ITS for those avid riders who want to branch out to other parts of Maine and into New Hampshire. Be sure to check conditions first – including lake ice – via the Maine Snowmobile Association, even during the most reliable sledding season (mid-January through mid-March). Not sure where to stop? Stop into a local business (many offer sled rentals!) and ask for tips on trailheads, riding advice and the best places to branch off the beaten path.
6. Book a lakeside cabin with a view
If you’re more of an observer of winter wonderlands than a knee-deep adventurer, we highly recommend a cozy cottage stay during the snowy season. There are plenty of places to snuggle up, sit by the fire and sip a steaming mug of tea or hot chocolate while soaking up the winter peace and quiet. A quaint cabin with a lake view is a wonderful respite from the demands and bustle of everyday life — you’ll sleep better than you have in years! Be sure to check out our lodging options!
7. Stargaze at night
No matter where you wind down after your day by the lake, the appeal of the region doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Maine’s night sky can’t be beat! With miles of wide-open sky, little interruption and zero light pollution, it’s the perfect place to pause, look up, and remember the feeling of absolute awe. The winter sky in particular offers rare treats such as meteor showers and the Aurora Borealis. Enjoy these stellar sights from a pile of blankets on the snow, on the frozen lake, beside a roaring campfire or through the lens of a telescope at your cozy remote cabin.
Decorated homes & businesses will be lit up until Christmas, so make sure to check out all of the entries this season. Take a festive drive around Moosehead Lake and enjoy the holiday lights from now until Christmas. We can’t wait to welcome you to our Winter Wonderland this holiday season!