You can find solitude for days or even weeks by hiking along the hundreds of miles of well-maintained trails that reach into Maine's woods and backcountry. You can watch for moose, deer, eagles and loons as you hike, stop for lunch near a remote lake or pond, and camp overnight at a campsite or shelter. Many of these trails are open year-round to quench your hiking craving in all seasons.
Grafton Trail Loop
As part of a 39-mile hike through the Mahoosuc Mountains along the Grafton Loop Trail, you can traverse the rugged Grafton Notch and climb 4,180-foot Old Speck, Maine’s fourth-highest mountain. You can plan an overnight or weekend hike, or a four-to-five-day trip to travel the entire distance. You'll find campsites and shelters en route, complete with fire rings and water sources.
Baxter State Park
If you want to get far away from civilization, you can explore the backcountry of Baxter State Park. You can hike along a 215-mile trail system that leads deep into the park to Davis Pond, Russell Pond and Wassataquoik Lake. East of South Branch Pond, you'll find a network of trails to access the Fowler Ponds area. At the north end of the park, you can hike the Freezeout Trail, which traces an old logging road along a 35-mile route past ponds, streams and waterfalls. If you need shelter from the elements, look for the three sided lean-tos along the way.
The Appalachian Trail and International Appalachian Trail
You can hike part of the Appalachian Trail—which runs from Georgia to Maine—by walking along the 281-mile portion that extends from the Mahoosuc Mountains to Mt. Katahdin's summit. You can hike the rugged Barren-Chairback and Whitecap Ranges or explore easier and less-traveled stretches near the Carry Ponds, Sabbathday Pond and the Piscataquis River in Horseshoe Canyon. The Bigelow Mountains and Saddleback's peaks are also popular spots. You'll find log shelters and tent sites along the way. You can also backpack along the 130 miles of the Maine section of the International Appalachian Trail, which extends 1,900 miles from Baxter State Park to the northern tip of Newfoundland in Canada. You can get a great view of Mt. Katahdin and the international border by climbing Mars Hill.
White Mountain National Forest
In the White Mountain National Forest, you can backpack along 25 miles of trails in the 12,000-acre Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness—the only federally designated wilderness area in Maine. You can enjoy the views on ridge trails such as Red Rock and Blueberry Ridge and watch waterfalls cascade along several brooks such as the Bickford, Great and Mud Brooks.
Maine Public Reserved Lands
You can camp in secluded areas of the more than half million acres of public lands that Maine owns—just be sure to plan your trip carefully as these areas are not staffed like state parks are. If you're hoping to spot a moose in the wilderness, you can try the Debsconeag Backcountry or Turtle Ridge Trails near Nahmakanta Lake. At Cutler Coast, you can tackle the Bold Coast Trail, which wends along the ocean for four miles and offers three primitive cliff-top campsites where you can spend the night.