BDN reporter Aislinn Sarnacki bikes along a section of the Katahdin Area Trails Loop on July 31 in the Hammond Ridge Trail System just outside Millinocket. Credit: Courtesy of Derek Runnells

By Josh Deakin

The Katahdin Region is known for its nature-fueled economy. Attractions blanket the area for outdoorsmen. The sights alone on the roads leading to the area can be breathtaking, especially when a view of the snow-capped Katahdin pokes through the trees. The majestic structure of the mountain is enough to take your breath away. But the mountain isn’t the only adventure available in the area. There are lots of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy.


There are a few different options to learn about the history of the Katahdin area. 

The local snowmobile club, Northern Timber Cruisers, hosts a snowmobile museum full of old sleds that tell stories of a generation past. The museum boasts over 30 antique sleds, each with their own story. One of the highlights is the bombardier used by Great Northern Paper in the first half of the twentieth century.

And don’t miss the Millinocket Historical Society located off Central Street in Millinocket. Founded in the late 1970s, the group seeks to preserve the history of the area by maintaining mementos from years past for present and future generations to observe. 

If you’re interested in the logging history of Maine, look no further than the Patten Lumbermen’s Museum. Here you can learn all about Maine’s once largest industry. Patrons can be educated on everything from the river drivers to life in remote logging cabins.

Fly Over

The Katahdin Air Service has been a functional plane service based on Ambejejus Lake for the last 60 years. The service offers a variety of packages including various timed scenic flights of the area that will no doubt provide astonishing views of the Maine woods. You can even use the service to fly out to a remote camping spot. If you’re unfamiliar with the area and wish to pursue this option, consider hiring a Maine guide to assist you with your adventure.

One stand-out adventure offered by Katahdin Air includes a three-hour flight to a remote outdoor sports camp for dinner, followed by a flight home just as the sun starts to descend for the day. Take note fellas, this is an excellent idea for that special anniversary coming up.


The area is packed with trails for any sort of outdoor excursion you want to pursue. This time of year, there are well-groomed trails for a comfortable ride on a snowmobile or a leisurely trek on snowshoes or cross-country skiing. 

The Interconnected Trail System runs directly through Millinocket for easy access at all times of the year. The area is a central hub for outdoor motorsports, no matter if you’re searching for snow, mud or dry land.

If snowmobiling is your goal, seek out one of the local snowmobile clubs for further information on some excellent day trips and fantastic scenic views. The clubs include the Jo-Mary Riders, who maintain over 100 miles of trails for the community, and the Northern Timber Cruisers and the East Branch Sno-Rovers.

If you’re seeking to hit the trails on foot (or skis), check out some of the excellent foot trails including the Bait Hole Trails located off of the Brownville Road. The Bait Hole Trails can be accessed in all seasons and offer treks of various lengths. Hillcrest Golf Club in Millinocket also allows skiing and snowshoeing on the course during the winter months. 

Extreme Sports

It’s well known that the Maine woods offer some of the most beautiful scenic views of wooded land in the country. Why not take in those views from the air? Or better yet while you plummet towards the earth after willingly jumping from an airplane at 11,000 feet in the air? Skydiving is a tucked away gem of an attraction for the Katahdin region. There are several companies in the area that are willing to take you up, up and away.

Three Rivers is located on the Rice Farm Road just outside of Millinocket along the Penobscot River. Here, you’ll be able to live out your dream of jumping out of an inflight airplane. The company offers an interesting package where following your jump, you’ll take to the waters for a rafting expedition. The package dubbed “Jump & Raft” offers the best of both extremes the area offers. 

The Penobscot River is a perfect setting for whitewater rafting. The river provides different levels of experience for rafting including Class V rapids which are not for the novice. These local rapids can be challenging at times, but you’ll surely enjoy the experience. If you’ve never gone before but are considering the adventure, it’s been said that after your first time you’ll be hooked for life.

Golden Road

The Golden Road is a landmark for Maine’s logging industry. The road curves through the heart of Maine westward into Canada. The autumn season brings bright, colorful foliage that can be viewed from this historic road. 

The road itself is a 96-mile mostly dirt roadway built by Great Northern Paper. It follows the West Branch of the Penobscot River and is home to lots of wildlife not often seen in the more populated areas of Maine. If you’re looking for a moose or bear, the Golden Road may provide that opportunity. 

The Golden Road provides some breathtaking scenic views of the backwoods of Maine as it wraps the countryside. You’ll pass some of Maine’s finest waterways, including Moosehead Lake. Stop for a look around at Indian Hill Trading Post in Greenville. If you’re a fisherman, there will be plenty of opportunity on the road to try your luck for some “brookies.”

Food and Shopping

The Katahdin area is peppered with restaurants and shops for locals and out-of-staters to enjoy. There are several trading posts in the greater Katahdin area for all of your outdoor-related needs, or maybe just a T-shirt with the outline of Ktaadn pictured on the front. Whatever you may want or need, the trading posts have you covered, especially those last-minute camping essentials. 

In addition, there are regular stores featuring locally made items, including paintings, clothing and décor. These stores include the Moose Drop In, Lavish & Mint, Gracie’s Aunt’s Emporium, and more.

The restaurants in the area offer the best comfort food around to take you back to your grandmother’s kitchen table. The Scootic In has excellent fried seafood, while the Sawmill Bar & Grill provides a unique take on some of your favorite sandwiches. The River Drivers Restaurant features fine dining with a frequently changing menu and an amazing dining view of Millinocket Lake. If you’re looking to try a different style of cuisine, check out the AT Café for some authentic Mexican food. Be sure to check the hours of business for each location as it may change from season to season.

See this Section as it appeared in print here