The natural beauty and wealth of outdoor
treasures of Maine's
Rangeley Lakes Region long have lured visitors.
Indians set up hunting and fishing camps alongside the area's 111 lakes and
ponds. They were followed by well-to-do "flatlanders" (anyone
from south of New Hampshire)
who, around the time of the Civil War, were drawn to the Region by the same
outdoor activities that had attracted the Abnakis.
Today, the Rangeley Lakes
Region continues to draw vacationers seeking a year-round playground. Its
setting, recreational opportunities, and other attributes also have gained
wider recognition. Rand McNally included the area -- along with major
cities, popular national parks, and other much larger, better-known
destinations -- on its list of "best vacation places in America."
The tiny town of Rangeley, with 1,200
permanent residents, is perched at the center of this enticing vacation
region. The little village captures the quaint nostalgia of a Norman
Fall Photo Tour
Winter Photo Tour
Spring Photo Tour
Summer Photo Tour
Main Street is
lined by single-story frame buildings that house shops, a handful of
restaurants, and a small movie theater. No stop lights interrupt the sparse
flow of traffic, much of it cars with a canoe on top and huge trucks
groaning beneath loads of fresh-cut logs. Nearby Oquossoc
(Indian for "landing place") is even smaller. Perched between
Rangeley and Mooselookmeguntic Lakes, it is home to three
restaurants, a small grocery store, a fishing and
sports shop, a marina, post office, and folks who really like the quiet.
This picture-postcard scene
varies little throughout the year. Yet each season in the Rangeley Lakes
Region offers its own choice of activities for which the landscape and
lakes provide a perfect setting.
Fishing is what helped bring
Rangeley to the attention of the outside world; and anglers
who test their skill and luck, especially in the spring and fall, soon
learn why. Around the turn of the century, these were the best-known native
brook trout waters in the world, yielding giants so huge that visitors had
trouble believing they were brookies.
Later, stocked landlocked
salmon took hold and joined trout as a choice catch. Today's visitor may
pursue the descendants of lunker trout and salmon
that have made the Region a fishing mecca,
particularly for fly casting.
Hikers follow trails that criss-cross the woods. Others prefer the stretch of the
Trail that passes within nine miles of Rangeley. Mountain
bikes enable even inexperienced peddlers to traverse country roads that
follow the rolling hills, while steeper mountains challenge the most
The Mingo Springs Golf Course
is played and praised by duffers and low handicappers alike. It is known as
one of the most scenic layouts in all of New England, with Saddleback Mountain rising to the east and
meandering lakes stretching as far as the eye can see to the west.
Those who prefer water to dry
land take to the Rangeley chain of lakes in canoes, sail and power boats,
and old-fashioned Rangeley boats -- unique wooden crafts that were built
specifically for local lake travel. In recent years, windsurf sails have
joined in, taking advantage of breezes that blow down onto the lake waters
from the surrounding mountains.
Fall gives Mother Nature an
opportunity to put on her most dazzling Technicolor display. Splashes of
vivid reds, flaming oranges, and a full rainbow of colors are set off by
the blue lake waters.
Fall also demonstrates why the
Rangeley Lakes Region is popular with hunters. Trophy white-tail deer and
bear are abundant. Small game flourishes in fields and forests. Ruffed
grouse are among game birds that take flight at the sound of an approaching
Those interested in close
encounters with wildlife also have plenty of opportunities. Early morning
canoeists on the Kennebago River
look for deer, osprey, beaver, otter, mink, and the gigantic moose. Another
good bet for meeting moose is during a dawn or dusk drive out of town on
Winter in Rangeley is
synonymous with some of the best snowmobiling anywhere. A 150-mile network
of clearly marked, well-groomed trails interconnects with other systems
that lead throughout Maine and into Canada.
A season-long calendar of races, festivals, and other special events
attracts snowmobile enthusiasts from near and far. For up-to-date
conditions December through April, call the Snowmobile Trail Condition
Hotline at (207) 864-7336.
Skiing is also first rate.
Saddleback remains the last uncrowded big
mountain ski experience in New England.
The 4,116-foot high peak boasts 40 Alpine trails and plenty of lift
capacity. Top-to-bottom snowmaking augments over 200 inches of annual
snowfall to keep slopes open and active from November into April. For a
current trail-condition report, call the Saddleback Sno-Phone
at 207 864-3380.
Cross-country skiers may
follow nearly 25 km of trails through rolling woodlands at Saddleback Ski
Area or enjoy the meticulously-groomed and tracked 75-km Rangeley Lakes
Cross Country Ski Trail System located just outside of Rangeley Village,
maintained by the Rangeley Lakes Cross-Country Ski Club. More
adventurous ski tour participants prefer to venture off along the network
of logging roads and other side trails that lace the surrounding woods.
No matter what time of year
they choose to enjoy the Rangeley Lakes Region, visitors also may choose
from a something-for-everyone variety of inviting accommodations. They
include comfortable country inns, intimate bed and breakfasts, convenient
motels, private home rentals, sporting complexes, camping areas and rustic
housekeeping cottages that, in this part of the world, are called
Indeed, travelers with any
type of accommodation preference, those who prefer any kind of outdoor
activity, people seeking a vacation alternative at any time of year -- all
are likely to find what they want at the Rangeley Lakes Region of Maine.
That includes plenty of nature at its most magnificent in which to pursue
favorite sports and recreation, commune with the outdoors, or perhaps just
relax with a good book.
In its rating of outstanding
destinations, Rand McNally described the Rangeley Lakes Region as "one
few remaining vacation spots where one can truly escape most of the
disadvantages of civilization." Who's to argue with such a respected
by Victor Block