Winter in Maine

Great Maine Destinations for Cross-Country Skiing

Maine is truly magical year-round, and there are so many winter activities to enjoy the great outdoors (as long as you have the right gear and base layers). Cross-country skiing, also known as Nordic skiing, is a fun recreation suitable for all ages and ability levels with countless trails across the state to explore. The list of cross-country skiing destinations below just scratches the surface of places in Maine offering this fun activity. For those who are just starting out, many offer lessons, guided tours and equipment rentals.

Down East Region

Carriage Roads, Acadia National Park

From the Friends of Acadia website:

“The crushed-stone surfaces of Acadia’s carriage roads make them ideal for cross country skiing in the wintertime. Add the park’s spectacular scenery and trail grooming by the volunteers of the Acadia Winter Trails Association, and it is no wonder that skiing is a highlight of the season for many area residents and winter visitors.”

 

Down East Sunrise Trail

From the sunrise.org website:

“The 87.9-mile Downeast Sunrise Trail passes through the woods, marshlands, and coastal villages of Hancock and Washington counties. Many users experience the trail by exploring one of its three segments: the Eastern, Central or Western trail segments. These segments are described on three individual maps available for download. There are many points of interest in each of the three segments of the Down East Sunrise Trail. We recommend reviewing and printing the segment maps to see the points of interest and locations for parking.”

 

Southern Maine Region

Pineland Farms, New Gloucester

From the Pineland Farms website:

“Pineland has over 5,000 acres of beautiful woodlands and fields that are open to the public for year-round outdoor activities. Enjoy 30 kilometers of professionally designed, well-kept trails for biking, walking, trail running, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. We also offer orienteering, dry-land Nordic ski training, sledding, ice skating, tennis and disc golf.”

 

Western Mountains Region

Narrow Gauge Pathway, Carrabassett Valley

This trail follows the Carrabassett River, offering a scenic and mostly flat trail that’s ideal for beginners.  From the Town of Carrabassett Valley website:

“Choose to start at one of the approved parking trailheads, Campbell Field, the Anti-Gravity Center, or the Carrabassett Valley Town Park. The trail is approximately (6 miles) with a gradual increase in grade from the southernmost trailhead, the Carrabassett Town Office. Both Campbell Field & the Anti-Gravity Center trailheads provide a relaxing downhill ride, with a more challenging return ride. Picnic areas are located along the trail for your convenience.”

 

Sugarloaf Outdoor Center, Carrabassett Valley

From the Sugarloaf website:

“Sugarloaf may be best known as an alpine skiing resort, but tucked away in the woods just minutes from the base area is Maine’s largest Nordic center. The lodge is home to a full Nordic retail shop, rental center, and cafe- all surrounded by some of the most picturesque trails in New England.

The Sugarloaf Outdoor Center trails are maintained for both classic and skate skiing, and offer some of the most unique and spectacular views of Sugarloaf. Enjoy the solitude of the Maine woods in the winter and explore the pristine landscape.” Offers 90 km of groomed trails.


Maine Huts & Trails
, Carrabassett Valley

The Maine Huts & Trails system is accessible via the Narrow Gauge, and some sections are not recommended for beginners, traversing the remote wilderness with some ascents and descents. From the Maine Huts & Trails website:

“With more than 50 miles of linear, groomed cross-country ski trails, Maine Huts & Trails offers one of the most unforgettable Nordic and backcountry skiing experiences in the northeast. In fact, the original vision of the founders was based on skiing hut to hut. The huts are the perfect destination for a day trip, or for an ambitious multi-hut expedition. While the trails are groomed regularly, you should be prepared for true backcountry conditions.”

 

Rangeley Lakes Trails Center, Dallas Plantation

From the Rangeley Lakes Trails Center website:

“Over 55 km of secluded, scenic recreational trails for walking, running, biking, nordic skiing, and snowshoeing; trail access to Saddleback Mountain and Saddleback Lake; Nordic groomed tracked winter trails and single track for back country skiing, nordic skiing, fat tire biking, and snowshoeing.”

 

Carter’s XC Ski Center, Bethel

From Carter’s XC Ski Center website:

“55 kilometers of beginner to expert Cross Country Skiing in Bethel, Maine which affords tremendous views of Sunday River Resort across the valley, and the Mahoosuc and Presidential Ranges. Great snowshoeing and fat bike riding, too!”

 

Katahdin Region

Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument

From the National Park Service website:

“The North End/Matagamon entrance of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument offers nearly 25 miles of packed and groomed trails perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The trails meander along the East Branch of the Penobscot River and through rolling forested terrain.

Grooming begins in the North End of the monument in early January. The trails offer a variety of routes for all ages and abilities. Trails are groomed for classic and, conditions permitting, skate skiing. Snowshoers and leashed pets must walk outside of the ski tracks.”

Penobscot River Trails

From the Penobscot River Trails website:

“Penobscot River Trails offers 16 miles of groomed trails along the East Branch of the Penobscot River in pristine, untouched wilderness. Our trail system is groomed for classic skiing, however skate skiing and backcountry skiing are permitted in designated areas. Skate skiing is permitted on our Tote Road as well as any of our link trails. We offer classic and backcountry rentals with boots and poles – by donation only, at our Visitor’s Center.”