The counting of stars. The chatter of loons. The wash of waves on granite. The whisper of breezes on canvas. These are the joys of backcountry camping. In Maine, there are plenty of places to experience them.
Once of the easiest ways to enjoy backcountry camping along Maine’s coast is to join the Maine Island Trail Association. Members can journey up the 375-mile water trail in kayaks, sailboats and small motor boats. The Trail connects more than 200 islands, on which Trail members can hike, picnic and, in many instances, camp. Many of the Trail’s islands have no population. Staying on them is wild, remote and unlike anything else on the East Coast.
From the coast to the mountains of the west, backcountry campers can find plenty of space in Maine’s Public Reserved Lands. Although Public Reserved Lands are state-owned, they’re wilder and less developed than State Parks. Some well-known and accessible Public Reserved Lands include: Bigelow Preserve, in the Maine Lakes and Mountains region, which includes the Bigelow Range, popular for hiking and climbing; Cutler Coast, in the DownEast and Acadia region, which features superb cliff views and hikes; Eagle Lake, in the Aroostook County region, which is popular for fishing and boating; Holeb, in the Kennebec Valley region, which hosts a well-known canoeing trail; and Moosehead Lake, in the Maine Highlands region, on the shores of the state’s largest lake.
Among canoeists and kayakers, running the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in northern Maine is considered a life goal. The 92-mile route follows linked sections of river and lake through some of the state’s most remote areas. Eighty-one authorized campsites include outhouses and specified places for fires and tents.
How about a night – or five – beside the Appalachian Trail? The East Coast’s longest walk has 282 miles in Maine, including some of the ruggedest on the route. Camping along the trail is pretty rustic, with a combination of designated tent sites and lean-to shelters. Check with Baxter State Parkfor information about reserving camping space if you want to stay at campgrounds near AT segments within the park.