This fall, we’re going to be doing some ATV riding up in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. As you may already know, we’ve done a lot of hiking up in that area and personally, I find it lovely. There aren’t many people in Carrabassett, yet they have one of the best trail systems around. And that’s just for people who plan on using only their feet. When it comes to riding ATVs, the trails are just as good.
Western and northern Maine offer extensive ATV trail systems. I think many of them are built upon old logging roads, but a good percentage have been created and maintained by local town ATV clubs. I keep meaning to join one of these things to show my support (financial and moral), but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. The cost is only about $30 per year and the money goes towards equipment, fuel and a lot of other things that help keep the trails clear and in good condition. I recently read on one of the club’s Facebook pages that eight new bridges were built over this past summer. Yeah, I’d say that’s kind of important. Especially for people like me who don’t like to get their ATVs dirty. I know, I know. It’s just that it’s so nice and clean right now and I don’t want to ruin that. It’s a beautiful machine.
Okay, to the point of this post. Since I’ve never ridden up in Carrabassett Valley before, I had no idea where to park my truck. When I lived back in New York and wanted to go riding, we’d have to sneak to some dirt road somewhere and unload there. Of course, blowing your nose is illegal in New York, so we had to be very careful when it came to where we rode and who saw us. In Maine, things are quite different. Each town encourages their ATV clubs and one town that I know of actually created their club themselves. It’s legal to ride on the roads in some areas and from what I’m told by the Game Wardens, you don’t even need to have your ATV insured. I find that strange, but who am I to argue?
There’s an airport in Carrabassett Valley. It’s called the Sugarloaf Regional Airport and it’s located just south of Sugarloaf Mountain. Directly north of the airport is a parking lot. It’s accessed by Rt.27.
This parking lot is used by hikers who want to walk along the rail trail, ATV riders who want to ride on the trails in the area as well as snowmobile riders who want to also ride on the local trails. It’s a fairly large lot, so I don’t think there is any problem with overcrowding. Although, I’ve never been there during the height of the season, whenever that is. A snowmobile club is actually right next door, as is the SugarBowl bowling alley. They serve food, which can be handy.
Laura and I drove up to this parking lot last week to check it out. We found it perfect for our needs. We also went up to the area to purchase a trail map, which we were lucky to get. These maps are sold in Ayotte’s Country Store and apparently they’re very rare. For $1, I bought the last one. Here it is.
All the trails from one area connect to the trails of another, so it’s a good idea to get the maps of a few different systems. In Carrabassett Valley, I’m most excited about climbing a few mountains to see some views of the Bigelow Preserve. From what the map says, there are some different lookout points. We’re just waiting for the leaves to start changing color to get out there.
Here’s a photo of the Bigelow Preserve, from the south.
While we were up there, we walked snapped a few photos of the airport runway and the surrounding landscape. This is a photo of the runway.
And here’s a shot of a small cabin that’s situated on the airport property. I’m not sure if someone lives in it or not.
Since we were in the area, we thought we should also take a stroll over to the Carrabassett River to see the bridge they put up. We’ve seen it before, but it’s always nice to check it out if we’re nearby. This time, we were lucky enough to have a few ATVs pass us by.
And finally, I took these shots from under the bridge because I thought they were from some neat angles. I like them.
Oh yeah, last but not least, here are a few photos of riders (or their machines) who stopped to eat some lunch at the SugarBowl bowling alley. See what I’m saying? You can drive ATVs in this area like cars. Well, almost.
Have a great day!