Maine's Kennebec Valley

The Upper Kennebec Valley

The vast unspoiled Upper Kennebec Valley may be small population-wise, but it is mighty for outdoor recreation.

Jackman

Set on the northern reach of Route 201, at the edge of Wood Pond, Jackman is a jumping-off point to 60 lakes, ponds, and streams, as well as an extensive system of interconnected snowmobile and ATV trails. It is a four-season sporting paradise on earth. Many visitors to this small town choose to stay at a traditional sporting camp.

Just south of town, stop at the Attean Overlook rest area with unparalleled vistas. During a visit, make the hike to the top of Sally Mountain for a spectacular view or embark by canoe on the historic Moose River Bow Trip.

Taking in the view across the Upper Kennebec Valley.
Mount Kineo, Rockwood on Mossehead

Rockwood and Mount Kineo

On the western side of Moosehead Lake is the lakeside village of Rockwood. This little town is an entry to the North Woods and the outdoor activities that have made the region famous. Camps, lodges, and cottages are all within easy reach of trails for use year-round.

Seasonally reached by the Kineo Shuttle boat from Rockwood, Mount Kineo climbs over 700 feet from the waters of Moosehead Lake to its summit. Shaped by glacial ice over 10,000 years ago, it shares its rugged shape with many other famous Maine peaks. For hikers, Mount Kineo State Park is encircled by well-marked trails that lead to spectacular views. 

The Forks and Moxie Falls

Over the last half-century, The Forks area has earned a reputation as an excellent outdoor recreation and whitewater rafting destination. With adventure sports growing in popularity each year, the area has easily kept pace with demand, adding services and trails at every step of the way.

Visitors will find rafting, paddling, fishing, hunting, ATV and snowmobile riding, hiking, biking, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, trail running, and even long-distance backpacking. A legion of local Registered Maine Guides provides gear, meals, and lodging for adventurers in all four seasons.

When you visit The Forks, one absolute “Don’t Miss” on your checklist should be Moxie Falls. It is Maine’s highest, and many would say the most beautiful waterfall. Follow Lake Moxie Road about two miles to the trailhead. The wide path to the falls meanders through the forest for about half a mile. 

If you visit during the summer, bring your towel so you can hit the swimming hole below the falls. If you aren’t up for rafting, this is a great place to cool down on a summer’s day.

Whitewater Rafting on the Kennebec and Dead Rivers in The Forks.
Courtesy of VisitMaine.com
Viewing platform above Moxie Falls.
Courtesy of VisitMaine.com
Kennebec River crossing along the AT.
Kennebec River crossing along the AT.

Caratunk

Located on Route 201 along the Kennebec River just south of The Forks, about 40 miles north of Skowhegan, is the village of Caratunk. Pleasant Pond and Moxie Mountain are popular spots nearby. The Appalachian Trail passes through Caratunk, following Pleasant Pond Stream and the northwest shore of Pleasant Pond, before climbing Pleasant Pond Mountain. The only manned crossing along the trail, the Kennebec River Crossing, is a welcome landmark for northbound AT hikers as they near the end of their 2,000-plus-mile journey.

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Moscow and Bingham

The small town of Moscow, which sits between Caratunk and Bingham, is home to the Wyman Hydroelectric Dam, which slows the Kennebec River and creates a man-made widening in the river known as Wyman Lake.

Along the lake, on the eastern side of the Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway, dozens of delightfully colored birdhouses are fastened to several hundred yards of retaining wall. No one knows how this unique environmental art exhibit started or who made the houses.

First settled in 1785, the tiny town of Bingham, set on the 45th parallel, precisely halfway between the North Pole and the Equator, is known as the gateway to the Upper Kennebec Valley.

Fly-fishing enthusiasts are especially fond of the Kennebec River here, calling the beautiful stretch of river Rainbow Alley as it is one of the only “Wild” Rainbow Trout fisheries found in Maine. Bingham is also home to the region’s lesser-known waterfall, Houston Brook Falls. Accessed by an easy, short hike, the 32-foot waterfall sits where Houston Brook empties into Wyman Lake.

The top end of Wyman Lake.
Courtesy of VisitMaine.com
world class fishing for native trout, bass, and landlocked salmon
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