5 Snowmobile Rides to Remember
While Maine’s Interconnected Trail System (ITS) has trails that seem to go to the end of the earth and back, they also cover quite a bit of the Maine's Kennebec Valley. In between these snow superhighways, are local trails that simply defy description. By putting trips along this system together with some local favorites, we have assembled our top 5 Kennebec Valley Snowmobile rides (plus a pretty cool bonus ride too).
Riverside Rides and Windmill Hills The Kennebec Valley Trail (about 15 mi.) offers unmatched views on the quick riverside ride north from Embden. This route follows a section of the historic "Arnold Trail" along the Kennebec River, so look for some historic markers. Also, look for birds of prey like osprey and soaring bald eagles. Once you hit Bingham, jump onto ITS 87 (this part will add about 45-50 mi) then look for the right onto the Wind Mill Trail to take in the vast and uninhibited panoramic views of Maine's western mountains. At the next T go left to see Austin Stream Falls (and get back to ITS 87) or go right for the longer extent of the Bald Mountain Trail which heads north to ITS 86, Moxie Pond and into The Forks.
Put a Fork in ME The confluence of the Dead and Kennebec River may be called The Forks, but for snowmobilers, they are Maine’s central hub for superb snowmobile riding giving access to Solon, Bingham and points south; Jackman, Moosehead Lake, and Greenville to the north and east and Eustis and Rangeley to the west. But it's the the warren of local trails (adding up to about 150 miles of superb riding) primarily serviced by ITS 86 & ITS 87, with a connection to ITS 89 in West Forks that people come for; the BEST STUFF is always local! From the heart of town take the River Trail south with the Kennebec on your right connecting up with the ITS 87. The trail heads south past Pleasant Pond. Then either jump on the 201 trail and a great ride along the river to Bingham via a quick short cut or follow the ITS 87 to the Austin Stream Falls. To get back to the forks, go right and down to Bingham (then north on the 201 trail) or go left along the Bald Mountain Trail which takes you back to The Forks by way of ITS 86 and ITS 87.
Grand Falls Run In addition to the rides along the river above, a trip out to Grand Falls (or even Eustis for the long-haul riders) following the Dead River (ITS 86) is one of the of the most scenic trail sections in Maine. It also offers some of the highest and longest lasting snowfall levels in the eastern USA, so there is guaranteed to be great riding there well into the early parts of spring. The prize on this ride is the massive icy Grand Falls (the full span of the river, rising to 35-feet) that makes for a beautiful photo opportunity.
Top of the Mountain At 3700+ feet, Coburn Mountain has set the record for being the loftiest groomed snowmobile trail in the east thanks to the Coburn Summit Riders. To the northeast is the peak of Maine’s Katahdin. On a clear day, you can see up to 75 miles away. The trail is not for beginners and is only cleared when weather permits.
The Pittston Farm Trail The beautiful vistas you encounter as you make your way to Pittston Farm (about a 60-mile ride from Rockwood or Jackman) are too frequent to recall, but you will never forget the warm and welcoming company at the destination. Lucky riders may even spot deer and even a moose, and for those with the skills, there is also great off-trail riding in the area.
Bonus Ride: The B-52 Crash Site In early 1963 a USAF Boeing B-52C Stratofortress was tossed about in turbulent crosswinds ripping off the tail of the massive aircraft which sent it plunging into Elephant Mountain just outside of Greenville. The site, still riddled with large pieces of debris from the crash offers a memorial with some details of the event. To get there, find a map and make your way to the ITS 110 utilizing the ITS 86, then look for the yellow diamond signs that will mark the way to the site.
Snowmobiling Advice Always remember when you decide to spend time traversing the Maine Woods: much of the land you are traveling on is not state or public land, but belongs to private landowners who have agreed to allow recreational use of their property as they manage timber, resources, and wildlife.
- Please tread lightly
- Ride to the right of the trail
- Ride at a reasonable and safe speed and ride within your experience and ability
- Stay alert! Be on the lookout for obstructions or wildlife in the trail
- Carry a map and stay on marked trails
- Use extreme caution when crossing water
- NEVER drink and ride