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Snowshoeing is one of the easiest ways to experience Maine’s wildlands, at least once they’re covered in snow. And Maine offers more types of snowshoe adventures than you can imagine, from easy rambles to summit climbs.
It’s no surprise that Maine is snowshoe-central. It was once the capital of wooden snowshoe manufacture in the country. Today, local makers such as Theriault's Snowshoes and Maine Guide Snow Shoes still craft ash-framed snowshoes.
Whether you use traditional snowshoes or those made of aluminum or plastic, consider taking them out for a spin at one of Maine’s many land trusts. These offer large preserves and individual trails, many perfect for time on snowshoes. Consider the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, in the Maine Lakes and Mountains region; the Georges River Land Trust in the MidCoast and Islands region, the Androscoggin Land Trust in the Maine Lakes and Mountains region and the Hidden Valley Nature Center in the MidCoast and Islands region.
Acadia National Park and many of Maine’s state parks offer easily accessible snowshoeing spots. Popular state parks for snowshoeing include Aroostook State Park in Aroostook County; Mount Blue State Park in the Maine Lakes and Mountains region; and Bradbury Mountain State Park in the Greater Portland and Casco Bay region.
Maine has plenty of combined cross-country skiing and snowshoeing centers with trails open to both sports. These include Quarry Road Trails in Waterville in the Kennebec Valley region; the Rangeley Lakes Trails Center in Dallas Plantation in the Maine Lakes and Mountains region; and The Nordic Heritage Center and the Fort Kent Outdoor Center, both in the Aroostook County region.
Established snowshoeing trails are found near established Alpine ski centers, especially In Maine’s western mountains. Most offer nice lodges as well as equipment rentals. The Sugarloaf Ski Resort, in Carrabassett Valley, has the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center. Bethel, a favorite ski town, has the Sunday River and Mt. Abram ski resorts in its back yard. For snowshoeing, the town has the Bethel Village Trails and Carter’s XC Ski Center. Black Mountain in Rumford and Bigrock Mountain in Mars Hill are lively, local downhill-skiing locations with companion cross-country trails.
Maine farms offer pleasant and often gentle places to snowshoe, with trails that loop across pastures, woods and fields. Check out Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, which has snowshoe rentals and a popular farm market and deli. Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook is an agricultural oasis inside Greater Portland. It has trails, snowshoe rentals and even on-site cheese making. Harris Farm, a large dairy and vegetable farm in the southern Maine town of Dayton, offers loads of winter fun. They have showshoe, ski and fat-bike rentals and a sledding hill. The farm even allows you to bring your dog on certain days (weather dependent - call ahead). Five Fields Farm in South Bridgton has snowshoe trails, including one that runs up nearby Bald Pate Mountain. The farm offers snowshoe rentals as well.