Explore More of Maine - Carrabassett Valley

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Located in Maine's beautiful western mountains, Carrabassett Valley is home to Sugarloaf mountain, and is known for its year round outdoor recreation community. Whether your vacation plans include fishing, hiking, leaf-peeping, or skiing, this area offers a wealth of beauty and endless opportunity for adventuring.

Explore More Ambassador Kathryn Gatewood, of Boxford, MA, shares a variety of activities to do while visiting the area, including hiking, biking, swimming and more during the summer months.

LOCATIONS VISITED: Carrabassett Valley, Maine (2.5 hours north of Portland, 1.5 hours north of Waterville)

TIME OF YEAR VISITED: Mid August

DURATION OF STAY: Weekend

WHERE TO EAT NEARBY:

THINGS TO DO WHILE VISITING:

1. West Mountain Falls 

A local’s favorite place to go to cool off on the hot August days. This is a very convenient riverside hike that has a great swimming hole just a few miles in! If you aren’t hot enough before this hike, the winding trails that follow the up and down geography of the land will make you want to jump in the river as soon as you get there. Many smaller paths branch off of the main trail that are perfect for picnicking, relaxing, swimming, or just dipping your toes. This is a great hike to end your adventure-filled day; accessible to all members of the family, including pets! Roughly a half mile hike.

2. Burnt Mountain Trail

This hike is more on the challenging side, as it takes from three and a half to four hours to complete. It is over five and a half miles with 1,899 feet of elevation gain. A spectacular 360 degree view of Sugarloaf, Spaulding and Crocker Mountains, Mount Abram, the Bigelow Range, and the rest of the Valley from the top. If it is an overcast day you can expect it to be windy and a bit chilly at the summit. Do remember that there is wildlife, even on the top of a mountain, and they love the blueberry bushes dispersed through the forest. You will feel you are approaching the summit when the trees get shorter and alpine zone grass emerges.

3. Sugarloaf Mountain Hike-a-bike

Instead of hiking this one, we e-biked to the top so we could ride down on some of their new downhill mountain bike trails made by mountain-biking Olympian Adam Craig and the Sugarloaf trail crew. The downhill trails hosted the Eastern States Cup earlier in the summer and will host the Enduro World Series in late August. If mountain biking is your thing, check out these trails as well as the ones at the bottom of the mountain at the Outdoor Center!

4. Quill Hill

A must-see tourist attraction, Quill Hill is off Route 16 between Rangeley and Stratton. There is a well-maintained dirt road that will take you to the top of the peak. There are picnic benches and a parking area for you to enjoy your dinner as you watch the sunset! Quill Hill is open all day/night from late May through mid October to cars, motorcycles, ATVs, and RVs. 

5. Flagstaff Lake

If you’re looking to take a little break from all of the hiking, you can bring a canoe or kayak out onto Flagstaff Lake. You can see many of the mountains from the lake, including Sugarloaf. The lake can be beautiful, but take caution on a windy day as you might accidentally end up getting swept away by the breeze!

Flagstaff lake, with water in the foreground and mountains in the backround

TRAVEL TIPS AND WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE VISITING:

The weather was so nice during this time of year - warm days and cool nights. The bugs were nonexistent during the day. However, if you hike to the top of a peak you should know that the bugs are definitely waiting for you, since it is cooler up there. After a rainstorm, some trails that have been packed down during the week might have some loose rocks that will add to the level of difficulty. The swimming hole on West Mountain Falls is a great place to cool off after your adventures! Not many people venture up to ski areas in the summer, so there were not many people other than the locals.

WHY KATHRYN CHOSE THIS LOCATION:

I’ve enjoyed Sugarloaf as a ski mountain the past few years and decided that I wanted to see what Carrabassett Valley had to offer in the summer! Ski resorts often have lots of activities lined up in the summer and we just happened to be there during the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) festival!

What were your thoughts while visiting this area?

As you venture into northern Maine, there is usually a small town and then miles of logging land until you reach the next town. Carrabassett Valley is near Kingfield, Stratton, and Sugarloaf - all within good vicinity of each other so you never feel too much out in the boonies. Although a small area, there is something new to do every time I visit.

explore more sticker on a water bottle in front of a river

 Reclaimed Maine Co. was founded on a deep love for nature with hopes of inspiring others to give back to the environment and explore as often as they can. Whether you've recently reclaimed your love for the outdoors or you've been a nature-lover your whole life, we want to hear about your adventures. We're looking for like-minded people who are looking to explore new places and share their experiences. Learn more here or shop our Explore More Collection.  


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