Low-cost Hiking and Paddling Getaways in Maine’s Lakes and Mountains
Maine’s forest and mountain wilderness are close to most of New England and yet is often overlooked by those looking for a bargain outdoor getaway.
Moosehead Lake Region
In the Moosehead Lake region of western Maine, the Appalachian Mountain Club has adventure trips into the 100-Mile Wilderness that feature tours of the lake on the historic steamship Katahdin and all lodging and meals. Guests have a private cabin at Little Lyford Lodge and Camps or at Medawisla Lodge, a traditional Maine hunting cabin.
Days are spent hiking forested trails, paddling a canoe or kayak or dropping a line in the water. The region offers stunning scenery and in Greenville, the Greenville Museum explores the logging and another history. The cost of the adventure trip is only $366 for a three-day package ( the price is for non-AMC guests, members pay less), 603-466-2727. The deals are for Sunday through Friday and do not include Saturdays.
Flagstaff Lake Wilderness
In southwestern Maine, route 27 leads from the university town of Farmington to the Canadian border passing Flagstaff Lake, an immense man-made body of water. Maine Huts and Trails has a three-day, two-night package that includes lodging, a boat tour of the lake with a viewing of the sunken town of Flagstaff, meals and hiking, paddling and fishing.
The camp is focused on energy efficiency and this is a chance to see hydro, wind and solar power at work. Lodging is in bunkhouses, and guests must supply their own sleeping bag. The cost of the package is $265 per person with all meals. Trails guides, canoes, etc, are provided and fly-fishing lessons can be arranged for guests. (877) 634-8824
Hike and Bike the Carrabassett
In the nearby Carrabassett Valley, also on route 27, Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel offers a one-day package for only $75 per person. Along with a night’s lodging, the package includes a box lunch, trail maps, activity suggestions and access to hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as resort activities. Extensions are available, or the offer can be combined with another option, such as the Maine Huts.
Mineral Hunting in Bethel
Bethel is one of the state’s prettiest towns and home of Sunday River Resort, where a package includes mining minerals and semi-precious stones. The package ($75 per person) includes one night at the resort’s Jordan Grand or Grand Summit hotels, a full breakfast, and the mining tour. Additional nights are $79 per person, and add an adventure tour on the Androscoggin River. Oxford County is known for its mines and the package includes a tour of a mine, instruction on identification and location of minerals and a chance to try mining.