Your Guide to Snowmobiling In Maine This Winter

Many Mainers have answered the question “How do you handle the winters there?” with a one-word answer – snowmobiles.

While interstates scramble to stay open during big winter storms, more than 14,000 miles of snowmobiling trails in Maine span the state, making snowmobiling in Maine a popular winter activity.

That’s almost enough miles to drive four times from Portland to Key West and back!

Snowmobilers, from beginners to experts, can find winter fun and a plethora of businesses that cater to them, with parking spots and storage space.

Whether you’re looking to rent a snowmobile, get a guided tour, or have no clue how to start a snowmobile adventure, this helpful guide will answer all your snowmobiling questions.

Featured Winter Attractions

North Country Rivers Cabins | Bingham 207-672-4814 | 36 Main St, Bingham, Maine
These recently constructed riverside cabins offer deluxe lodging in the Maine outdoors. Each four season riverside cabin offers private bedrooms, full kitchen, living and dining room area, full bathroom, heat, AC, cable TV and an outside fireplace. Experience dining on-site at our own Patrick’s Restaurant and Pub. In addition to great trail-side lodging, we offer White Water Rafting, Kayaking, Moose Safaris and much more, all from our base on the Kennebec River in Bingham. Call Today, let’s start planning your Maine Vacation. Learn More
Northern Outdoors | Snowmobile Resort 207-663-4466 | 1771 US Route 201, The Forks, Maine
Maine's Premier Winter Adventure Resort. The hub of Maine snowmobiling. On site grooming for 100+ miles of local trails. Connects to the larger 14,000 mile trail network. Stay in a trailside cabin and have groomed access to The Forks trails and beyond. Snowmobile tours and rentals offered too. Ride to Maine's top snowmobiling destinations such as Moosehead Lake, Eustis, Rangeley, and Jackman. Recognized by Yankee Magazine for Best New England Adventures & Editors Choice. Learn More

Snowmobile Trails-Fort Kent
Snowmobile Trails | photo via onnrails_rennsport

An Overview of Snowmobile Trails in Maine

The trails across Maine aren’t as remote as you might think, with an Interconnected Trail System (ITS) spanning from Fort Kent at the top of Aroostook County to Downeast and then as far south as the New Hampshire border.

While the trails mix public and privately owned land, several governing bodies maintain and regulate snowmobile trails, including the Maine Snowmobile Association, the Snowmobile Division of Maine Parks & Lands, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.

Most communities have a snowmobile club filled with trail experts and life-long Mainers available to help you. The latest number is more than 280 clubs, and that number continues to grow.

The best time of year for snowmobiling in Maine is January through March, though the season could start as early as November and run through April.

Best Regions for Snowmobiling in Maine

What is the best place for snowmobiling in Maine? Where the snow is, of course!

Unfortunately, that’s not always guaranteed, but the snowiest cities in Maine are (on average) are:

  • Caribou: 118 inches (9.8 feet)
  • Stratton: 116 inches (9.7 feet)
  • Rangeley: 115 inches (9.6 feet)
  • Greenville: 99 inches (8.25 feet)
  • Millinocket: 89 inches (7.4 feet)

Look to the mountains around Rangeley, Aroostook County, and the Maine Highlands for the snowiest stops. However, on average, coastal trails near Yarmouth and Cumberland still get 56 inches (4.6 feet) of snow.

BOOKMARK THIS: Here’s a look at the statewide snapshot of trails.

By and large, Aroostook County (aka “The County”) is one of the most popular places, but Penobscot, Piscataquis, Oxford, Franklin, and Somerset counties line the northernmost regions of snowmobiling in Maine.

Hemlock Bridge-Fryeburg
Hemlock Bridge | photo via cjheyland12

Snowmobiling in Maine Rules & Laws

You can read through the state laws, but then there are also the ethics and best practices of snowmobiling. Let’s simplify with a few of the highlights.

Snowmobile Safety

Instead of doing hours of research, take an online or in-person snowmobile safety course. By the end of the course, you’ll be certified. While it’s not a Maine requirement, it’s strongly recommended.

Before snowmobiling in a region or town, check with the snowmobile club for any local best practices. We recommend joining any snowmobile club if you’ll be riding on the trails they maintain. The money goes to support the 24/7 efforts to keep the trails safe and groomed.

Snowmobile Age Requirements

Only those 10 and older can operate a snowmobile by Maine law, but snowmobile rental companies might have more strict standards, such as requiring a driver’s license.

For example, the New England Outdoor Center requires all renters to be 18 with a valid driver’s license, and passengers must be nine years or older.

Personal Snowmobile Owners

Bringing your own snowmobile? You’ll need to register it with the state at a cost of $75-120, depending on how long you need it.

Maine does offer a free snowmobile weekend for non-residents, provided the vehicle is registered in another state. That’s usually in early March.

Crossing into Canada on Snowmobile

Strict rules are in place about snowmobile trails that cross into Canada. Failure to follow the laws could result in a $5,000 fine. This resource tells you everything you need to know.

There are two key things to know before entering Canada that aren’t common knowledge:

  • Do NOT bring cannabis in any form into Canada or take any out of Canada back into Maine. Even in regions where cannabis is legal in Canada, the international boundary law still stands and is rigorously upheld.
  • Canada is particularly strict about allowing visitors in who have a criminal history. Even a DUI from years ago could limit your access. You’ll need special permission to enter.

Helmet Laws

Everyone should wear a helmet while snowmobiling in Maine, but the law requires anyone under 18 to wear a helmet while operating a vehicle. Again, rental companies could have rules requiring all drivers and passengers, regardless of age, to wear helmets.

Snowmobiling Long Lake--St. Agatha
Snowmobiling Long Lake | photo via cnyexx

Where to Stay When Snowmobiling in Maine

Snowmobiling in Maine is offered in tandem with the support of businesses and communities. This map shows the regions where restaurants, accommodations, and equipment are available statewide.

In The County, Katahdin Region, Moosehead Lake, Rangeley, and other snowmobiling destinations, many rentals and resorts are right along the ITS. You can literally wake up, hop on the snowmobile, and hit the trails!

Once you connect with the local snowmobile club, you’ll be amazed at how many public meals and group rides are offered throughout the season.

Top Snowmobiling in Maine Outfitters

It can be intimidating to try snowmobiling for the first time, and that’s where the group tours and outfitter-focused lodging can really help you acclimate and enjoy your time.

Here are a few of our favorites:

You can also check the trail conditions before your trip to see which areas of the state have the most snow.


Encountering Wildlife While Snowmobiling in Maine

The snowmobile trails in Maine take you through the deep woods and mountains where moose and deer hang out. These animals always have the “right of way,” and you should give them plenty of space to move along.

You certainly don’t want to draw unwanted attention from a moose because they run up to 35 miles an hour, even in snow.

Another bonus of booking a guided snowmobile tour is that the tour guides know the best places to spot a moose if you’d like.

The 5 Best Snowmobile Trails in Maine

When conditions are right, any trail is going to be epic. At the same time, some of them definitely stand out among the 14,000 miles of trails in Maine.

Moose Loop Trail

This 166-mile journey around Moosehead Lake goes through Greenville, Rockwood, and Seaboomook. You can take a side trail to the B-52 Crash Site near Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness.

Katahdin Loop Trail

Tackle 105 miles around the base of Maine’s highest peak, Mount Katahdin. Riders will get scenic views from above and below, with one part of the trail at 1,300 feet above sea level. A side trail to Gaunlet Falls is well worth it too.

Black Fly Loop

More than 200 miles span around the Rangeley region, passing through Stratton and Phillips. Side trails include an option to summit East Kennebago Mountain at 3,500 feet. You can see other destinations and a mileage chart from the Rangeley Snowmobile Club.

Snodeo in Rangeley: An epic snowmobile trip to the Rangeley region includes attending during the annual Snodeo celebrating every aspect of winter.

Kennebec River Loop

At just 55 miles roundtrip, this trail is great for beginners. It offers stunning views of several mountains, including Sugarloaf. It’s an easy side trip to see Moxie Falls, Maine’s tallest waterfall.

You can make this trip longer by taking the 70-mile roundtrip adventure to Grand Falls, spanning the Dead River.

Coburn Mountain

Coburn Mountain is the most epic, elevated, and adventurous snowmobile trail in Maine. This is the highest elevation for a groomed trail in Maine (3,717 feet), thanks to the Coburn Summit Riders.

Beginners should not consider this trail unless they go with a trusted guide.

Mount Kineo-Moosehead Lake
Mount Kineo | photo via saralynpreston

Things to Know About Snowmobiling in Maine

We need to share a few other Maine snowmobiling practices with you before you head out on the trails.

Trails can close anytime if there’s a private landowner issue or dispute. It’s another reason why it’s important to check with snowmobile clubs in the region.

Trail groomers report conditions throughout each week; a trail closure can happen due to a lack of snow, dangerous elements, or other hazards. ALWAYS ABIDE BY TRAIL CLOSURE SIGNS.

Do NOT snowmobile alone in Maine. You will have limited cell phone service, and many of the trails are remote enough that you won’t have anyone to help you.

Always fill out a trail notification form before you go and give it to a loved one or snowmobile club member. This will help in the event you get lost or injured. Be clear about when you expect to return.

DO NOT SKIMP ON WINTER CLOTHING. The trails require certain fabrics, boots, and waterproof layers to keep you safe in the extreme cold Maine experiences each winter.

Not one of the 14,000 miles of snowmobile trails in Maine goes over a body of water. You should never cross water unless you are sure it’s frozen enough to carry you and your snowmobile’s weight. When in doubt, avoid the water.

Savoring the Snowmobile Experience in Maine

Enough experts and information are available to allow everyone to experience the magic of winter snowmobiling in Maine. Use the resources available and always ask as many questions as needed for a safe trip.

Snowmobiling in Maine is truly a way to capture the magic of the season, and it will make you fall in love with another layer of Maine’s wilderness. So bundle up, be careful, and enjoy the winter majesty of Maine.

Similar Posts

One Comment

  1. Hi I got on this site to see if there is a fee to ride snowmobiles in Maine other then the registration fee and there’s no info on that

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *