Snowmobiling in Maine has been a staple of winter life for the majority of residents since the inception of the winter-centered vehicles for recreational use in the 1950s. People come from all over North America to visit Maine for snowmobiling adventures as well as sight seeing. The state isn’t short on places to visit or activities to participate in, but what are some standout experiences to witness?
The B-52 crash site
On January 24th, 1963 a B-52 aircraft was performing a training mission above the Maine wilderness when the vertical stabilizer malfunctioned. The craft experienced some rough turbulence near Moosehead Lake causing the tail to be ripped off from the rest of the aircraft. As a result, the plane crashed near Elephant Mountain and only two crew members survived out of the nine on board. Since this crash, the site has been a popular expedition for snowmobilers. By taking Maine’s Interconnected Trail System (ITS) 85 towards Greenville, the crash site is just 15 miles north of Greenville. The crash site still has lots of fuselage and debris remaining as well as a monument to those who lost their lives that day.
Who doesn’t want to see Maine’s tallest waterfall in the middle of winter? Moxie Falls is a near 90-foot drop. It can be quite the view, either frozen or thawed. The trail can be found off of ITS 86 west/ITS 87 north towards The Forks. Once you’re on the trail, it’s a three mile ride to where you can park your sled and walk just a hair over a quarter mile to the Falls. The trip is only about ten miles from Kennebec River Brewery as well which could make for a nice refreshment following a quick trip.
Ghost Trains of the Allagash
At the beginning of the 20th century, the paper mills of the Millinocket region were running constantly and in need of large amounts of raw materials. A contract was made with King Ed LaCroix with Great Northern Paper in 1926 to transport these materials by train through the region in Northern Maine called the Allagash. The railroad moved 6500 cords of wood each week for the mills for years. But in 1933, the Great Depression caused a decrease in demand for newsprint which lead to an abandonment of the railroad and its locomotives. The trains sat for years untouched and have become a popular tourist attraction. To access the trains via snowmobile, you’ll want to travel to Chesuncook Lake House. You can fill up your gas tank there and check in to see the best route to the trains. Due to the logging industry in the area, the best route to the trains changes.
Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park is a huge attraction for the entire state all year around. The views of Mount Katahdin are absolutely breathtaking from various trails in the area. Trails stemming from the 5 Lakes Lodge Bed and Breakfast offer some beautiful views from lakes in the area and if you want to go further into the park offer a great access point through the Katahdin Loop trail. The Katahdin Loop weaves through the lakes of the area and offers the best views of the mountain. 5 Lakes Lodge can be found on South Twin Lake and also host a snowmobile club, the JoMary Riders.
Coburn Mountain is the highest altitude groomed snowmobile trail in Maine at the height of 3,717 feet. The trail may be difficult for sledding beginners. It’s a two-mile-long climb of 2,500 feet to the summit of the mountain. The final mile stretch from a radio tower to the peak is narrow and steep. It can only be groomed when there are proper weather conditions. While challenging, this ride will not disappoint. Once at the top, there is a tower that is safe to climb offering amazing view of Maine’s mountains in the distance on a clear day. The trail up Coburn Mountain can be found off of ITS 89, north of West Forks.
These are just a few examples of the large snowmobile trail system that Maine has to offer. If you’re looking for adventure, there’s no better place to start. When out on the trails, it’s not just the destination but the journey as well. Talk with other riders along the way and you’ll almost certainly come home with more destinations in mind for your next adventure into the Maine woods.