Maine is one of the most rural states in the country, so it’s no surprise that many of our best camping spots require a bit of a hike before you can pitch your tent. To truly immerse yourself in the ruggedness of a natural space, pack your backpack and hit the trail to find these five hidden gems. Here are our favorite backpack camping spots in Maine!
Chimney Pond Campground in Baxter State Park is one of the most sought-after backcountry campgrounds. First established in 1938, Chimney Pond is one of the most popular campsites in the park so you’ll want to book early as it sells out fast. The campground offers one of the best hiking accesses to all the Katahdin peaks and to Russell Pond Campground. The small campground is a 3.3-mile hike from the Roaring Brook Campground and is home to nine lean-tos, and a 10-person bunkhouse. Since the campground is backcountry camping, the amenities are primitive.
Established in 1966 to preserve and protect the 92-mile-long ribbon of lakes, ponds, and rivers in remote Northern Maine, “the Allagash” has been explored by thousands of people over the years. Even Henry David Thoreau enjoyed its beauty. The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is home to 81 authorized campsites throughout. All campsites are equipped with picnic tables, fire pits, an outhouse, and tarp poles. Most campsites can only be accessed from the water via canoe or kayak. It’s a unique Maine experience.
Nahmakanta Public Lands encompass over 43,000 acres of sprawling pine forests and mountains. Maine’s largest ecological reserve, an area of 11,802 acres, is located within the Public Lands. A large portion of the land is road-less and can only be explored by foot, snowmobile, or ATV. Nahmakanta Public Lands has 11 authorized campsites with three that are walk-to. The best backcountry campsites are located at Tumbledown Dick and Leavitt Ponds.
Maine is famous for its rocky coastline and what better way to explore it than by camping in the 12,234-acre Cutler Coast Public Lands. Filled with acres and acres of blueberry barrens, woodlands, and 4.5 miles of granite seaside cliffs, the Public Lands extend from Cutler to Lubec. Backcountry campsites are available at Fairy Heads. You’ll have to hike the 9.2-mile roundtrip loop trail to get there, but you’ll wake up to the sounds of the waves crashing into the rocks in the morning and the seagulls crying for their breakfast.
Encompassing a large portion of Western Maine, the Bigelow Preserve Public Reserved Land just north of Stratton contains over 36,000 acres of pine forests, freshwater lakes, and the seven summits of the Bigelow Range. The Appalachian Trail and its associated side trails run right through the Public Lands offering many backcountry campsites for the toughest hikers willing to rough it for incredible panoramic views of Maine’s western mountains. Popular backcountry campsites situated in the Bigelow Range include Moose Falls, Avery Col, and Cranberry Stream. If you prefer lakeside views, pitch your tent at Ferry Farm or Parson’s Brook.