5 of the Best Things about Hiking in the Moosehead Lake Region
June 16, 2021 by Destination Moosehead
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!
Additional family friendly hikes maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club are Shaw Mountain and Indian Mountain.
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.
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!