The top Maine snowmobile trails for 2023 include popular routes like ITS 115 Greenville to Millinocket, ITS 88 through the Rangeley Lakes, and ITS 84 around Moosehead Lake, as well as scenic trails like West Branch Trail, Downeast Sunrise Trail, and Maine Highlands.
Maine is a premier snowmobiling destination, with over 14,000 miles of beautifully groomed trails winding through pine forests, over frozen lakes, and past charming towns. As an avid Maine snowmobiler, I’ve explored many of the state’s top trails. In this detailed guide, I’ll share my picks for the 15 best snowmobile trails in Maine to experience this winter.
From northern Aroostook county down through Moosehead Lake and west towards the White Mountains, this guide covers must-ride snowmobile trails across the state. I’ll outline what to expect on each trail, recommended stops, trail services, and tips to plan your own Maine snowmobile adventure. Whether you’re a beginner looking for cruising trails or an expert seeking challenging climbs, you’ll discover amazing routes to explore this winter.
Let’s get started! Here’s what I’ll cover in this guide to Maine’s best snowmobile trails for 2023:
- Overview of popular snowmobile trail systems in Maine
- Detailed descriptions of the 15 top-rated trails across the state
- What to expect on Maine’s well-groomed snowmobile trails
- Safety tips for snowmobiling in Maine
- How to plan your perfect Maine snowmobile adventure
- Recommended trails for different snowmobiling skill levels and interests
- Trailside services and amenities to enhance your ride
- Tips to prepare your sled and gear for Maine riding
- The best towns and scenery accessible from Maine snowmobile trails
Table of Contents
Introduction to Snowmobiling in Maine
With thousands of miles of trails crossing pristine wilderness, Maine is a premier snowmobiling destination in the Northeast and across the entire US. The state’s fresh powder combined with an extensive network of scenic trails groomed for cruising makes Maine a must-visit region for snowmobile enthusiasts.
The Maine snowmobile trail system is made up of over 14,000 miles of Interconnected Trail System (ITS) trails, club trails, and ungroomed backcountry routes winding through magical winter landscapes. Trails are very well-marked and mapped, making it easy to navigate and find your way.
The ITS trails are groomed and maintained by local snowmobile clubs with funding from snowmobile registrations. The clubs do an excellent job grooming the wide trails for smooth cruising and providing trailside services like warming huts.
Riding along an ITS trail, you’ll weave through pine forests frosted in snow, cruise across frozen lakes and rivers, climb over mountain vistas, and stop in charming towns along the route. The ITS connects to club trails that access more remote areas and backcountry terrain.
With riding opportunities for all abilities, Maine’s snowmobile trails allow you to customize your ideal winter escape. Beginners can enjoy cruising scenic lakeside trails while experts seek thrills on steep mountain climbs. Remote lodges along the trails allow you to extend your adventure with overnight stays.
To experience the best of Maine snowmobiling, I put together this guide to the top 15 trails across this breathtaking winter wonderland. From Northern Maine’s wilderness to the foothills of the Appalachians, these trails highlight must-see destinations and landscapes.
1. ITS 115 – Greenville to Millinocket
One of Maine’s most popular and scenic snowmobile trails is ITS 115, running 114 miles from Greenville up to Millinocket. This intermediate trail follows the west branch of the Penobscot River through remote wilderness with opportunities to see moose and bald eagles.
The southern start in Greenville allows easy access to the trails and has several restaurants and services in town. Stop for lunch at Blair Hill Restaurant, consistently ranked one of the best trailside dining spots in the Northeast.
As you ride north, highlights include the historic Pittston Farm crossing, the north woods town of Rockwood near Moosehead Lake, and views of Mount Kineo. For an overnight stop, check into one of the remote sporting camps along the trail.
Continuing towards Millinocket, the trail passes by trailside services in Kokadjo before leading through Baxter State Park and ending in Millinocket. With its proximity to Baxter and views of Mount Katahdin, this is one of my favorite Maine snowmobiling trails.
- Location: From Greenville to Millinocket, Maine
- Length: 114 miles
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Groomed ITS trail with services
- Access to Baxter State Park and views of Mount Katahdin
2. ITS 88 – Rangeley Lakes Trail
The Rangeley Lakes region in Western Maine is a top snowmobiling destination, with ITS 88 winding past picturesque lakes, rivers, and mountain vistas.
This 132 mile intermediate loop trail circles the Rangeley lakes, passing through the mountain town of Rangeley and connecting a network of club trails. Riding ITS 88 gives you access to panoramic views over Rangeley Lake and remote backcountry.
Ride through groomed wilderness forests, cruise across frozen lakes, and stop for a warm meal in a trailside restaurant or inn. Popular stops include the Country Club Inn in Rangeley, Lakeside Landing, and Height of Land overlook.
With many trailside lodging options, it’s easy to turn this trail into a multi-day adventure. The connected club trail network provides access to more challenging terrain like Saddleback Mountain. The Rangeley area has outstanding snowmobiling and spectacular scenery.
- Location: Rangeley Lakes Region, Western Maine
- Length: 132 miles
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Groomed ITS loop trail with trailside services
- Access to lake views, backcountry, and mountain trails
3. ITS 84 – Moosehead Lake Trail
For breathtaking views across Maine’s largest lake, ride ITS 84 looping around the perimeter of massive Moosehead Lake.
This intermediate 109 mile trail provides easy lake access from multiple towns including Greenville, Rockwood, Kokadjo, and Lily Bay. The trail is very scenic as it winds through forests and skirts the rocky shores of Moosehead.
Popular stops are Kokadjo Trading Post, Frost Pond public reserved land, and Lily Bay State Park. You can even ride across parts of the frozen lake if conditions allow. The Moosehead region has an extensive network of ITS and club trails to explore.
With the endless wilderness around Moosehead and potential for wildlife sightings, this is one of my favorite snowmobiling areas in Maine. Base yourself in Greenville or Rockwood for excellent trail access.
- Location: Around Moosehead Lake, North Central Maine
- Length: 109 miles
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Scenic lake views and access to Moosehead’s trails
- Groomed ITS loop trail with services
4. ITS 81 – Katahdin Trail
For breathtaking views of Baxter State Park and access to Mount Katahdin, ride ITS 81 on a northerly loop from Millinocket towards Shin Pond.
This 115 mile intermediate trail starts in downtown Millinocket, heads north over forests and the East Branch of the Penobscot River before looping back south towards Mt. Katahdin. The trails ends in Patten, but many riders will complete an out-and-back from Millinocket.
Popular stops are the trailhead to Baxter State Park and the viewpoint of Mt. Katahdin at the halfway point near Shin Pond. Trail services and warming huts are available in key locations like Millinocket, Patten, and Shin Pond.
Riding this trail in winter provides stunning views of Mt. Katahdin framed by snowy pines. It’s one of the best ways to experience the majestic beauty of Baxter State Park and the Katahdin region while snowmobiling.
- Location: Millinocket to Patten, Maine
- Length: 115 miles
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Access to views of Mt. Katahdin and Baxter State Park
- Groomed ITS loop trail
5. ITS 110 – County Line Trail
For remote snowmobiling through Maine’s sparsely populated Aroostook County, head north to ride ITS 110, known as the County Line Trail. This point-to-point trail spans 125 miles between Presque Isle and Caribou.
The trail follows the Aroostook Scenic Highway and passes through tiny towns and vast wilderness. Free camping is permitted along the length of the trail. Highlights include scenic overlooks of the Aroostook River valley from Haystack Mountain and Mars Hill.
With few trailside services, this is best-suited for more experienced riders who are comfortable in the remote backcountry of northern Maine. The town of Presque Isle has lodging and dining options.
While remote, this trail provides access to incredible scenery and rugged terrain. The northern section near Caribou connects to other trails like ITS 105 and 89. Riding here rewards you with an authentic off-the-grid Maine snowmobiling experience.
- Location: Between Presque Isle and Caribou
- Length: 125 miles
- Difficulty: Advanced
- Very remote but scenic point-to-point ITS trail
- Connects to trails near Caribou
6. ITS 83 – Skowhegan to Jackman Trail
Traverse Maine’s western mountains on ITS 83, stretching 78 miles between Skowhegan and Jackman near the Quebec border. This difficult trail climbs over remote peaks and descents through winding valleys.
Challenging inclines, narrow switchbacks, and potential for extreme weather make this trail best suited for intermediate and expert riders. Popular stops include the mountain towns of Kingfield, Stratton, and Eustis.
Snowmobilers can access food and fuel in these towns or utilize backcountry camping. Parts of the trail run through protected wilderness areas with potential for wildlife sightings.
The western mountains around Sugarloaf and the Canadian border have outstanding snowmobiling for adventurous riders. ITS 83 provides access to this more extreme terrain while still offering groomed trail sections.
- Location: Between Skowhegan and Jackman, Maine
- Length: 78 miles
- Difficulty: Advanced
- Remote mountain ITS trail with challenging terrain
- Connects central Maine to Quebec border
7. ITS 82 – Peaks Kenny Loop
Located in Maine’s western mountains, the Peaks Kenny Loop on ITS 82 is another top pick for advanced snowmobilers looking for slopes, switchbacks, and backcountry. This strenuous 50 mile loop hits elevations over 2,500 feet.
Popular trailside stops on ITS 82 include the Height of Land scenic overlook and the small town of Kingfield. The trail passes through mountains like Crocker, Squirtgun, and Redington. You’ll need advanced riding skills to handle the steep grades.
The Peaks Kenny Loop connects to other trails around Sugarloaf Mountain that access additional challenging terrain. Riders looking for an expert-level adventure in the Maine mountains will love exploring ITS 82 and its surrounding offshoot trails.
- Location: Western Maine Mountains
- Length: 50 miles
- Difficulty: Expert
- Challenging mountain loop trail with steep grades
- Connects to other Sugarloaf region trails
8. ITS 89 – Bald Mountain Trail
In northern Maine, ITS 89 provides access to incredible views from one of the state’s highest peaks – Bald Mountain near Oquossoc. This moderate 46 mile trail departs from Rangeley and loops northwest to the summit overlook.
A steep 1.5 mile spur trail brings riders up above the tree line to the exposed 4,040 foot summit. On a clear day, the Bald Mountain vista provides unmatched panoramic views over nearby Mooselookmeguntic Lake and the surrounding Oxford Hills.
This scenic ITS trail winds through remote wilderness with potential to see moose. Parts of the trail are sandy which adds an additional riding challenge. Popular stops include the Bemis trailhead parking area and a warming hut in Oquossoc village.
Riding to the top of Bald Mountain is a quintessential Maine snowmobiling experience. The summit climb rewards you with breathtaking vistas across Western Maine’s mountains and lakes region.
- Location: Western Maine near Oquossoc
- Length: 46 miles
- Difficulty: Moderate, Advanced for mountain spur
- Access to Bald Mountain summit vista
- Groomed ITS loop trail
9. ITS 105 – Caribou Connector
Up in the northeast corner of Maine lies ITS 105, known as the Caribou Connector. This popular snowmobile highway runs 52 miles directly from Limestone to Caribou.
ITS 105 serves as a thoroughfare to reach top destinations near the Canadian border. It connects trails like ITS 83, 88, and 110 for access across Aroostook County. The trail also links to New Brunswick’s province-wide snowmobile trail system.
This wide, groomed ITS highway has trailside services in Caribou and Limestone and allows high-speed cruising across the remote landscape. Linking with other trails provides opportunities for long distance touring.
Riding the Caribou Connector northeast towards Canada’s wilds gives you an opportunity to experience the remote beauty of this lesser-visited region. Heading southwest leads to trail networks deeper in Maine’s North Woods.
- Location: Between Limestone and Caribou
- Length: 52 miles
- Difficulty: Beginner
- Groomed snowmobile highway and connector trail
- Provides access to trails near Canadian border
10. ITS 87 – Bingham Loop Trail
Located northwest of Moosehead Lake, the Bingham Loop on ITS 87 offers 81 miles of scenic snowmobiling in Maine’s backcountry. This intermediate trail loops through remote wilderness from the village of Bingham.
Popular stops include the trails midpoint in Mayfield at the historic Herbert Hotel, built in the 1920s as a luxury retreat for urban sportsmen. Stop for a meal or spend the night at this unique backcountry lodge.
The Bingham Loop provides plowed parking areas and trailside services but still has a remote feel as you ride through acres of pristine forests. The trail crosses several rivers and streams via well-maintained bridges.
Surrounded by miles of wilderness, the Bingham Loop gives riders a peaceful snowmobiling experience away from crowds yet still close to services. It’s a nice gateway to explore Maine’s Great North Woods.
- Location: Northwest of Moosehead Lake
- Length: 81 miles
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Remote loop trail with backcountry lodge access
- Connects to Moosehead and Boundary Mountains trail networks
11. West Branch Trail
Managed by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, the West Branch Trail offers incredible views as it parallels its namesake river northeast of Greenville. This scenic but challenging 80 mile point-to-point trail follows the river’s Middle and South Branches.
The combination of remoteness, difficult stream crossings, and lack of services make this trail best suited for advanced riders. No grooming allows for an authentic backcountry experience. Popular stops include Big Wilson Cliffs and Little Wilson Falls.
Following the West Branch leads you through Piscataquis County’s unspoiled wilderness. The Technical Trail System around Greenville connects to the West Branch Trail for more riding options. Spectacular scenery and solitude await on this rugged, ungroomed path.
- Location: Northeast of Greenville, Maine
- Length: 80 miles point-to-point
- Difficulty: Expert, ungroomed
- Incredible scenery of the West Branch River valley
- Access to remote backcountry
12. Greenville Trail System
Surrounding one of Maine’s top snowmobiling towns at the foot of Moosehead Lake is an extensive network of trails known as the Greenville Trail System. These club-managed trails provide access to challenging riding and backcountry terrain.
Trails like the Tick Ridge Run and the Lake View Loop climb over hills while others like the Shanty Mountain Trail lead out to remote camps on Moosehead Lake. Many trails intersect, allowing you to customize loops.
Popular trailheads are Henderson Brook, Squaw Brook, and Four Seasons Lodge. Trails are regularly groomed but some are narrow and winding. Services like fuel and food are available right in downtown Greenville.
With over 250 miles of maintained club trails, the Greenville Trail System is ideal for intermediate and advanced riders seeking beautiful views and backcountry adventure just outside of town.
- Location: Greenville, Maine area
- Length: 250+ miles of intersecting loops
- Difficulty: Intermediate to Expert
- Access to Moosehead Lake and challenging terrain
- Regular trail grooming and maintenance
13. Shin Pond Trail System
Providing easy access to Mt. Katahdin and Baxter State Park is the Shin Pond Trail System just north of Millinocket. With 200+ miles of club trails, it offers pristine wilderness riding and backcountry access.
Trails like the Katahdin Mountain Trail and the Baxter Park Trail depart right from Shin Pond village and lead towards the mountain. Explore this region on a loop ride passing Mt. Katahdin, Penobscot Lake, and the East Branch of the Penobscot River.
Shin Pond village has lodging, dining, and services to support your ride. While not groomed, these club trails are in excellent shape and signed thanks to diligent maintenance. Ride here for gorgeous views and wilderness immersion.
- Location: Mt. Katahdin/Shin Pond Region
- Length: 200+ miles of intersecting loops
- Difficulty: Intermediate to Expert
- Access to Mt. Katahdin and Baxter State Park
- Lodging and services in Shin Pond village
- Remote, ungroomed club trails
14. Downeast Sunrise Trail
For an easy, scenic snowmobile adventure, ride the 85 mile Downeast Sunrise Trail stretching between Ellsworth and Pembroke. Sharing an old railroad bed, this wide groomed multi-use trail is beginner-friendly.
Winding past remote lakes, wetlands, and forests, the Downeast Sunrise Trail has a peaceful, wilderness vibe with few road crossings. Several parking areas and warming huts provide access along the route.
Popular stops include the township of Franklin, Washington Junction, and Trail’s End rest area. With its well-packed surface and lack of steep grades, this trail is ideal for casual riding and wildlife viewing.
Stay in Ellsworth or Machias for trailside accommodations. The Downeast Sunrise Trail allows you to experience the tranquil beauty of Maine’s remote eastern region from an easy, scenic path.
- Location: Between Ellsworth and Pembroke
- Length: 85 miles point-to-point
- Difficulty: Beginner
- Flat, groomed multi-use trail on old railroad bed
- Scenic views of Downeast Maine region
15. Maine Highlands Trail System
Located in Maine’s western mountain foothills, the Maine Highlands trail system has over 300 miles of interconnected loops perfect for long distance touring. Trails wind through remote forests and access scenic vistas.
Ride along the Androscoggin River, through Grafton Notch State Park, and to the Height of Land overlook for breathtaking views. The trails connect villages like Bethel, Newry, and Hanover for lodging and dining options.
Popular local trail systems include the 110 mile Bear River System near Bethel and the 90 mile trail network around the Sunday River Resort. Trail difficulty ranges from beginner to expert.
With its mix of groomed ITS trails and mountain club trails, Maine Highlands provides something for all abilities. Ride for hours through pristine wilderness in this beautiful region of western Maine.
- Location: Western Maine mountains and foothills
- Length: 300+ miles of interconnected loops
- Difficulty: Beginner to Expert
- Access to villages, scenic vistas, and resort trails
What to Expect on Maine Snowmobile Trails?
Riding the well-developed network of ITS and club trails across Maine provides an outstanding snowmobiling experience with excellent trail conditions and infrastructure. Here’s what you can expect:
- Smooth, wide, groomed trails perfect for cruising through scenic landscapes. ITS trails are groomed multiple times a week by local clubs.
- Challenging mountain trails and backcountry loops for more advanced riders. Narrow trails with steep climbs and switchbacks.
- Breathtaking vistas and overlooks of Maine’s mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and forests from scenic viewpoints and summit trails.
- Access directly to charming towns and villages along the trails with restaurants, cafes, lodging, gas stations, and snowmobile services.
- Heated trailside huts providing a spot to warm up with hot drinks, snacks, and restrooms. Some have staff and full food menus.
- Excellent signage, mapping, and intersection numbers on ITS trails. Printed maps also available. GPS navigation is very helpful.
- Opportunities for short day loops or multi-day adventures with overnight trailside lodging. Connected trails allow huge route possibilities.
- Very snowmobile-friendly environment. Maine trails are considered some of the top snowmobiling trail systems in the entire US.
Snowmobile Safety Tips
While snowmobiling Maine’s trails is an incredible experience, riders should follow basic safety precautions:
- Always wear a DOT certified helmet, eye protection, and proper riding gear when snowmobiling. Layer clothing for changing conditions.
- Ride during daylight hours only. Running at night on unfamiliar trails is extremely hazardous.
- Bring emergency supplies like extra fuel, food, water, lights, firestarters, and a first aid kit in case you get stuck out on remote trails.
- Carefully follow trail markings, closure signs, and stay on marked corridors. Do not trespass or ride on private land.
- Slow down and be very cautious when crossing frozen lakes, rivers, and streams. Check ice depth first. Proceed slowly around corners and intersections.
- Avoid riding in poor visibility conditions. Snow and fog can make trails very disorienting.
- Never ride impaired under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications. Operate at safe sane speeds for conditions.
- Ride with a partner and stay within sight of each other, especially in remote terrain. Carry communications like a satellite device.
Plan Your Maine Snowmobile Adventure
With thousands of miles of pristine trails winding past iconic Maine scenery, it’s easy to plan an epic snowmobile adventure across this winter wonderland. Use this guide to top trails as a starting point, then map out your own perfect route.
Be sure to check trail and weather conditions before hitting the trails. Purchase required registrations, passes, and map out fuel stops. Reserve any overnight accommodations in advance.
Pack appropriate gear and emergency equipment. Load up your sled with snacks and supplies. With a bit of prep, you’ll be ready to ride Maine’s magnificent snowmobile trails and make lifelong memories exploring iconic landscapes deep in the heart of winter.
Thanks for reading this guide to the 15 best snowmobile trails in Maine to ride in 2023! With scenic routes for all abilities winding past unforgettable scenery, Maine’s extensive snowmobiling trail network provides easy access to wild backcountry adventures. Start planning your winter escape now and get ready to discover the magic of riding through Maine’s snowy forests and mountains. Stay warm out there and be sure to share your own favorite Maine trails!