With nearly 100 trails spread throughout the region, there is no limit to places go can go and things you can do once the snow hits the region. Immerse yourself in a region transformed by winter, where snow on the mountains and ice on the lakes means endless hours of outdoor recreation and where communities offer their best cultural and dining experiences. This is a place to indulge the senses. We invite you to explore the trails of the Kennebec Valley this winter
Head Out on the Snow
Snowshoeing is one of those winter activities that are wide open to almost anyone. All you really need is some snow, a decent pair of snowshoes, and a trail. After that, the adventure is yours to be had.
This classic winter favorite tops many winter visitors’ list of favorite things to do. The frigid air is cleansing and there are even events that take you out under the light of a mid-winter full moon. What is more fun (and a little spooky) than that? Plus, the health benefit of snowshoeing is in some cases even better than walking or running. So while you’re visiting Maine’s Kennebec Valley, rent or borrow a pair of snowshoes and head out for a couple of hours on the packed trails that are sure to surround your lodging.
On a sparkling winter day, one of the most magical ways to take in Maine’s landscape is to venture out on cross-country skis, gliding quietly through our balsam-scented forests, feeling the sun’s warmth reflecting off the snow and listening for black-capped chickadees chirping in the clean, crisp air.
As you travel through the snowy fields and forests, look for tracks of the bountiful wildlife that inhabits the Maine woods, like rabbits, fox, and deer. Listen among the trees for the chirping of hardy year-round resident birds like chickadees, jays, and juncos. When it’s time for a break, head to the lodge and warm up with a bowl of homemade chili, chowder, or soup next to the roaring fireplace.
Winter guide services offer gear and personalized access to miles of trails where you can discover the majesty of a snow-blanketed forest or meadow, the awesome beauty of a vast frozen lake, and the breathtaking sight of high mountain peaks.
Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
Downhill skiing is returning to Maine’s Kennebec Valley. Quarry Road Trails in Waterville has installed a TowPro portable rope tow on the hill for winter 2021-22. The lift will serve the lower portion — about 75′ vertical — of the historical slope most recently used for sledding. In addition to downhill, snowboarders can hit the hill or enjoy their terrain park.
While the operating schedule may be limited to start, they offer a safe, fun, and affordable downhill ski experience for the greater Waterville community. In this first year of this offering, they plan to make snow, install a small terrain park, and offer a limited learn-to-ski program.
The tow is expected to run weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., starting mid-January through February vacation, and possibly some after-school daylight hours, depending on demand.
Looking forward, Quarry Road and its devoted volunteers are planning for a full reopening of the historic downhill ski area — including a new lift, a permanent base lodge / outdoor center, and other improvements to the base area in the next 3-5 years. When completed, the site will serve as a year-round hub for downhill and cross-country skiing, mountain biking, trail running, and other outdoor activities.
Nordic Skiing (NS) and Snowshoe (SS) Trails
|Kennebec River Rail Trail||Augusta/Gardiner||6.5 Miles||Easy||SS|
|Viles Arboretum||Augusta||6 Miles||Easy||NS/SS|
|Rotary Centennial Trail||Benton/Winslow||3 Miles||Easy||NS/SS|
|Lake George Regional Park||Canaan/Skowhegan||10 Miles||Easy||NS/SS|
|Weston Woods & Waters Trail||Madison||1.2 Miles||Easy/Moderate||NS/SS|
|Moxie Falls||Moxie Gore (The Forks Area)||1 Mile||Easy||SS|
|Messalonskee Stream Trail||Oakland||2.6 Miles||Moderate||SS|
|Robbins Hill-Wes Baker Trails||Solon||1.4 Miles||Accessible||SS|
|Quarry Road Trails||Waterville||6.5 Miles||Easy/Moderate/Advanced||NS/SS|
|Kennebec Messalonskee Trail System||Great Waterville Area||Various||Various||NS/SS|
Know Before You Go
- Before setting out on any hike, in any season, check with Maine Trail Finder or guidebooks about a hike’s difficulty ratings, descriptions, and uses.
- Observe the seasons. Trail conditions vary with each season.
- Never hike alone; always tell your friends and family where you are going and when you plan to return and keep them updated on your location if possible.
- Each person should carry one liter of water for every two hours of hiking time. Keep hydrated, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
- Bring plenty of high-energy snacks that will help keep your energy up back to your car.
- Practice Leave No Trace principles on the trails and respect nature and private lands and Look Out for ME.
Other Visitor Resources: Central Maine New England Mountain Bike Association | Lake George Regional Park | Maine Trail Finder | Quarry Road Trails | Kennebec Messalonskee Trails | 7 Lakes Alliance Trail System | ATV Maine