Ten Kinds of Outdoor Adventure in Maine

first person view of a trail on top of a mountain
Mount Katahdin, the tallest peak in Maine, is the terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Photo © fredlyfish4/123rf. Photo © fredlyfish4/123rf.

Map of Maine
Maine
Maine is a vast outdoor playground. While you can work one or perhaps more of these adventures into a vacation, completing all 10 will require either moving here or returning again and again. Many aren’t for the faint of heart or weak of muscle; almost all require planning well ahead.

  • Hiking: Mile-high Katahdin, terminus of the Appalachian Trail, is Maine’s tallest peak. Although it tops out on Baxter Peak, it also comprises several neighboring ones. The infamous Knife Edge provides the 1.1-mile connection between Baxter Peak and Pamola Peak.
  • Mountain Biking: Pedal between Carrabassett Valley and The Forks via the Maine Huts and Trails system, a 12-foot-wide corridor through the wilderness. Connecting the points are four full-service huts, each roughly 12 miles apart.
  • Rafting: Maine is blessed with three dam-controlled white-water roller coasters: the Kennebec River, the Penobscot River, and the Dead River.
  • Canoeing: The Allagash Wilderness Waterway stretches 92 miles from Telos Lake to East Twin Brook through pristine lakes, rapids, and a portage around Allagash Falls. The biggest challenges are the distance and the weather.
  • Sea Kayaking: Paddle along Maine’s coast from Kittery to Machias Bay on the Maine Island Trail, a 375-mile-long waterway past more than 180 island and mainland sites available for backcountry camping.
  • Sailing: No exercise or experience is required to sail aboard a Maine windjammer. All-inclusive sails on vessels both historic and new range from two days to a week.
  • Dogsledding: Mush a team of huskies across the frozen Lake Umbagog wilderness north of Bethel. Sample the sport with a day trip, or immerse yourself in winter with a multiple-day trek.
  • Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding: Crowning the summit of Sugarloaf are the Snowfields, the only lift-serviced skiing in the East above the tree line. This is backcountry, experts-only, out-of-bounds terrain, but when the gate’s open these fields are worth braving the natural obstacles.
  • Cross-Country Skiing: Ski a groomed trail through the forested wilderness between three trail-linked sporting camps in the land edging the Appalachian Trail’s famed 100-Mile Wilderness.


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