Maine is one of the most rural states in the country, meaning that much of the state is untouched pine forest, granite mountain peaks, and potato fields. During the winter months, snowmobiling is a favorite pastime of many Mainers, but once the snow melts, the snowmobiles go in the shed and the ATVs come out. Here are five cool spots to off-road in the state!
Balsam Woods is perfectly positioned on a network of over 1,000 miles of ATV trails. Open from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend, Balsam Woods is located about 20 miles south of Moosehead Lake in the small town of Abbot. From the campground parking lot, you can hop on a trail and ride all the way to Greenville, Jackman, Bingham, Cambridge, and back again. The campground even has coin-operated pressure washing stations to wash the mud off your ATV after a day of roughing it in the dirt.
The Jackman-Moose River Region, home to the small town of Jackman, boasts some of the best ATV trails in northern New England. ATV off-roading has become very popular in the recent years and you’ll find over 300 miles of trails that will take you through Maine’s unspoiled wilderness and up on scenic vistas overlooking the Canadian border into Quebec. Pick up a trail map from the local Chamber of Commerce Booth or online at the Border Riders Club, the local ATV club in Jackman.
The Houlton to Phair Junction Trail is a 37-mile-long gravel, multiuse trail that extends from Houlton through the towns of Monticello, Bridgewater, Mars Hills, and Presque Isle. This spot is popular with ATV riders in northern Maine. The trail winds through forestland and pastureland, giving a glimpse of real Maine. There are several picnic areas along the trail so pack a lunch and go for an all-day adventure. Just remember that the trail is open to everyone, including cyclists, walkers, and horseback riders.
Mount Blue State Park in Weld is nestled in the western mountains near Farmington. The state park has 25 miles of designated ATV trails that wind through deep forest vegetation where you can see an abundance of native Maine wildlife like deer, moose, and black bear. You can even camp onsite in the state park at their campground near Webb Lake.
The Down East Sunrise Trail extends 87 miles from Ellsworth to Ayers Junction. This multiuse trail is designed for ATVs, horses, snowmobiles, and hikers. The route parallels the coast with many ocean views along the former Maine Central Railroad. When you’re not seeing views of the ocean, you’ll enjoy views of Schoodic Mountain, salmon streams, and dense pine and birch forests. Just remember that the trail is open to others and be considerate.
*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.