Maine is one of my favorite states. It has sweeping green mountains, numerous lakes and streams, cute seaside towns bustling with tourists. But the biggest reason that I love Maine is the feeling of extreme peace I feel when I am there. For that reason, at least once a year I visit Maine’s western mountains. This area has fewer tourists, so more unspoiled wilderness to explore. But aside from chilling on the coast of a lake, there are also many great outdoor activities to partake in. Here are some of my favorites:
- 1 Eastman Park on the Sandy River, Phillips, Maine
- 2 Small Falls
- 3 AlpacaVille
- 4 Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad
- 5 A few of my favorite hiking trails:
- 6 Daggett Rock
- 7 ATV Riding and Snowmobiling
- 8 Fox Carlton Pond Sporting Camp
- 9 The Peace
This is a very easy river to get to with kids for rock climbing, swimming in the river, hiking, picnicking and fishing. I also like to chill and build cairns here.
I am a lover of multicolored gorges, easy-to-access swimming holes and waterfalls which makes this set of four falls located just north of Phillips ideal for me and my family. Here, and at the many lakes around the area, you can fish for Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout and Small Mouth Bass.
You can tell that the animals at this small roadside farm overlooking the Saddleback Mountains are well-taken care of. As soon as they got used to us, the goats and alpacas were happy to be petted, but the baby bull stole my heart. Truth be told, I think he had a little crush on me! The family uses the alpaca fur to make all sorts of products that they sell at the farm, which is in the town of Phillips, Maine.
My great-grandfather Dick was an engineer on railroads, so we have an affinity for visiting historic railroads. Be sure to take a ride through the mountains on a steam-driven train.
A few of my favorite hiking trails:
If you followed the whole 45 miles of this trail you would meander through the town of Phillips, walk along old railroad tracks in mixed hardwood forests and along tumbling streams. You will find swimming and fishing holes. Some of route is part of the Appalachian Trail..
282 miles of the longest hiking-trail in the world are in Maine and it serves as one of its termini. It contains the hardest mile, some of the most remote parts of the trail and interesting wildlife, such as moose and loons.
A full day hike with some steep and tricky areas, this hike affords beautiful views over the surrounding valleys.
A shorter and less crowded, but steep hike providing views of the Weld area and Webb Pond.
My kids love Daggett Rock for the short, easy hike with a big reward- a huge rock to climb on! The rock is actually a glacial erratic, which is a rock which is not native to the place in which it is found. This huge rock was carried by a glacier a couple of miles to its present resting spot, where it has cracked into a few gigantic pieces providing fun rock climbing possibilities for adventurous kids.
ATV Riding and Snowmobiling
Trails for snowmobiles and ATVs are ubiquitous in this area, so if you feel the need for speed, you have come to the right place. The Narrow Gauge Riders ATV Club can help you find trails or rentals.
I have known the Pound family for years and they are how I was originally introduced to this area. I spent many years coming to their private camp. Side note, most people in Maine have a “camp”, a place to escape from their own homes and get into the wilderness. A camp can run the gamut from a camping spot on ones own property to a lake house.
A while back they opened up a sporting camp for the public to enjoy some time away from home in the Maine wilderness. They have rooms in the main lake house, cabins, RV and tent sites for rent. They are even opening up a spot for sleeping in the clouds (hammock camping) soon. Their rates include boat use and fly fishing in their private trout pond. The property is gorgeous and peaceful, a wonderful retreat! If you would like more information about staying on their beautiful property, be sure to visit their website. Which brings me to reiterate the biggest reason that I love Maine’s western mountains-
This area of the country is ideal for getting away from the craziness of life. My family puts away our electronics and we spend time completely surrounded by nature- chasing frogs, watching a beaver build a dam and the fluttering on fireflies at night, cooking s’mores on the lake at Fox Carlton Pond or just relaxing by the lake. Perfection.
Where do you feel your zen best? Let me know in the comments.
Read more about my adventures in New England here.