A farm and Alder Lake are visible from an outlook on Scopan Mountain. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki | BDN

This story was originally published in July 2019.

As we head into peak summer, it’s only natural we Mainers would want to hit the trails. We’re not the only ones. Summer means plenty of tourists will be at Acadia, Katahdin and along the coast taking in the beauty of the state we’re lucky enough to call home.

That’s why heading up north to The County is this weekend’s outdoors solution.

For some of you, heading to Aroostook County might be a bit of a trek. But the journey is worth it, as you can escape the crowds and find yourself actually relaxing in nature, because that’s what it’s all about. Bonus: These hikes are all dog-friendly.

Salmon Brook Lake trails in Perham

Salmon Brook Lake trails on a state-owned unit of conserved land in Perham, Maine. Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki / BDN

This easy-to-moderate hike has plenty of smooth multiuse trails on more than 1,700 acres of publicly owned land. The trails are home to six rare plants, brightly colored mushrooms and an assortment of wildflowers. Head to the observation deck and boardwalk for even more wildlife and plant sightings. Read more about the hike here.

Scopan Mountain near Presque Isle

For those of you with a little more hiking experience, this 3.7-mile loop west of Presque Isle offers views of farms, forests and, most importantly, Alder Lake. To get there, walk through a picturesque and long-established forest full of big hemlocks, maples, balsam firs and birches. Read more about the hike here.

Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge East Loring Division in Limestone

If wildlife is what you want, wildlife is what you’ll get at this refuge in Limestone. Try the 1.2-mile Don Lima Trail for an easy-to-moderate excursion, or head down any of the 13 miles of trails available. Some of the many animals hikers spot include chickadees, bald eagle, moose, snowshoe hare, beaver, lynx and river otter, to name a few. What more could you need? Read more about the hike here.