The Maine Highlands Guidebook Maine Highlands Guidebook 2019-2021 - Page 19
at all Ages
"Rail trails" are abandoned railroad beds
that have been converted to multi-use
recreational paths. They tend to be
smooth and flat, making them great for
biking, walking, snowshoeing, and cross
country skiing. Some trails also allow ATVs
and snowmobiles—always be cautious
and look out for other trail users!
The glacier-formed landscape around Katahdin is rich with
spots for families to explore together, from swimming holes
and waterfalls to ice caves and ice cream!
ON THE WAY Start your weekend early with a trip to the Maine Discovery
Museum in Bangor. Kids will love the hands-on activities and exhibits.
Enjoy dinner al fresco at one of downtown Bangor’s local eateries.
DAY 1 Pack up and head into the wilderness of the Great North
Woods. Pitch your tent under the trees at one of the many local family
campgrounds or rent a lakeside cabin (or “camp” as Mainers call these
rustic cottages). Some campgrounds and resorts will even cook you dinner.
DAY 2 The Ice Caves Trail is a great hike for families. Take a left off of the
Golden Road just after Abol Bridge, keep left at the fork, and after four
miles, look for a blue-blazed trail. The hike is easy: just 1-mile through tall
pines, moss, and ferns to the Debsconeag ice caves. Feel the air get colder
as you climb down through the glacial boulders! Younger kids will need
some help on the ladders and ice. Explore the large and small caverns,
which are frosty and covered in icicles even in the middle of summer.
After lunch, splash your way into the Penobscot River. Rent tubes and life
jackets from Abol Bridge Campground and take a shuttle upstream to the
start of a leisurely 3-hour float down the river. This river is home to some
of the country’s most technical white water rapids, but for this stretch, kick
back and relax as you float along with spectacular views of Katahdin.
DAY 3 Pack a picnic and your bathing suit for a day trip to Shin
Brook Falls, about an hour north of Millinocket. This is a short
but steep hike; younger kids will need help descending to the
falls. The cascading falls and swimming holes are worth the effort
and all ages will enjoy splashing and swimming for hours.
WANT MORE EXCITEMENT?
Several whitewater rafting companies in the Millinocket
area offer trips for families with children as young as 8,
usually including lunch and time to play and swim as well
as an exciting—but safe—trip over Class I–III rapids.
SHERMAN TO PATTEN TRAIL: An offshoot
of the main Bangor and Aroostook Railroad
4.5 mile trail covered in crushed stone and
gravel. Open for hiking, biking, ATVs, horseback
riding, snowmobiling, cross country skiing,
and snowshoeing. Snowmobile and ATV riders
will enjoy exploring a number of side trails.
The wetlands adjacent to the trail make for an
excellent place to see wildlife, especially birds.
MICHAEL MICHAUD WALKING AND BIKING
TRAIL: Runs along the Millinocket extension
of the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad
A 1.65 mile loop trail that follows Millinocket
Stream. Paved with asphalt and open to hiking,
biking, in-line skating, cross country skiing,
and snowshoeing. Wheelchair accessible.
LAGRANGE RAIL-TRAIL: Runs between
Lagrange and Medford along the Bangor
& Aroostook Railway
11.5 miles of crushed stone and dirt. Ponds
and bogs along the way are attractions
for wildlife. Open to hiking, biking, ATVs,
horseback riding, snowmobiling, cross
country skiing, and snowshoeing.
WALDEN-PARKE TRAIL: Part of the
Walden-Parke Preserve in Bangor
Network of 5.2 miles of wide trail offers gentle
ups and downs. It passes through areas
of ongoing beaver activity and includes
parts of the old Veazie Railroad bed.
FOUR SEASONS ADVENTURE TRAIL:
Also known as the Newport/
26 miles that runs between Newport and
Dover-Foxcroft and links two rivers and
three lakes. Surfaced with crushed stone,
dirt, and sand. Open to hikers, bikers, ATVs,
horseback riding, snowmobiling, dogsledding,
cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.
For more information on rail trails in our
region and beyond, visit railstotrails.org.
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