Maine Huts & Trails

Carrabasset River

The Carrabassett River runs through the valley from Kingfield through Stratton, Maine.

Picture yourself sleeping in a comfy bed that’s smack dab in the middle of rich, diverse wildlife habitat, basking in the warmth of a crackling wood fire, and waking up the next morning to hike or ski to the next destination — after a hot shower and a hearty breakfast, of course. If you’re seeking out a true wilderness adventure, but you’re not quite in the mood for roughing it in a tiny tent, look no further than Maine Huts & Trails.

This non-profit organization offers a unique eco-tourism experience for the whole family. Set in Western Maine’s scenic Carabassett Valley, Maine Huts & Trails operates three full-service, back-country huts, each located about one day’s hike or cross-country ski away from each other.

Visitors can trek or mountain bike along the 45 miles of trail — stretching from West Forks to Sugarloaf — at their own pace in the spring, summer and fall, while winter visitors can ski along groomed trails, perfect for skate or classic skiing. Snowshoe enthusiasts can explore the miles of un-groomed trails that surround each of the three huts.

Poplar Stream Falls

The Poplar Stream Falls Hut overlooks Poplar Stream. The hut accommodates up to 42 guests in seven rooms and is 2.5 miles from the Gauge Road Trailhead. It’s an 8.5-mile hike, mountain-bike ride, or ski trek from the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center.

The hut is surrounded by wetlands; guests can take a self-guided birding tour and search for hermit thrushes, red-breasted nuthatches and dark-eyed juncos that call the site home. Other activities include swimming beneath the falls, fishing, hiking to the hourglass ponds and biking to Huston Brook Falls.

Flagstaff Lake Hut

Just 11.4 miles north from the Poplar Stream Falls Hut, Flagstaff Lake Hut sits on the shore of sandy-bottomed Flagstaff Lake and offers views of Mt. Bigelow. The hut accommodates 44 guests in 10 rooms and has received acclaim from Yankee Magazine and Outside Magazine.

Guests can borrow canoes and kayaks for a lake paddle. Other activities at Flagstaff Lake Hut include swimming, birding around the peninsula, and taking an all-day ride and hike excursion to the top of Mt. Bigelow.

Grand Falls Hut

Head 12.8 miles north along the Hut-to-Hut Trail to reach Grand Falls Hut. This eight-room lodge accommodates 32 guests. Set above the Dead River, Grand Falls Hut forms the perfect base for white-water rafting and paddling adventures on the Class III/IV-rated river. The river is also known for its trout and salmon fishing; in May, the hut provides full service just for anglers.

Other warm-weather activities around Grand Falls Hut include bird watching tours, hiking and rafting combo excursions offered by Northern Outdoors. Winter guests can ski and snowshoe.

Special Events

The hut-to-hut trail hosts a number of events through the year, such as the Annual Classic Ski Marathon. Every February, participants can ski a 20, 40 or 60K route.

In summer, would-be anglers can learn the art of fly fishing at the Grand Falls Fly Fishing School. This yearly school is led by local experts and includes instruction on casting, gear, knots, flies, safety and etiquette.

White-water rafters won’t want to miss the Dead River White Water Clinic and Race. This annual event blends river-specific instruction with an exciting race.

Seasons and Services

Huts are open year-round. The summer/fall season — which runs from the end of June through the end of October — includes overnight lodging, breakfast and dinner. In the winter season — mid-December through early April — guests also receive breakfast and dinner. An optional lunch and a hut-to-hut gear transport service are available for a fee.

The spring season runs from early April through late June and doesn’t include meals. Visitors bring their own food – they can prepare it in the hut’s kitchen – and may want to bring light sleeping bags, as the bunkrooms are unheated.

Advance reservations are strongly suggested in summer, fall and winter — walk-in rates are higher — and reservations are required during spring. Groups are welcome with reservations. Rates vary by season, accommodation options and guest age – youth under 12 receive a discount, as do members.

Memberships

Save some money on return visits and support Maine Huts & Trails at the same time by purchasing an individual or family membership. Members receive discounts on accommodations, trail maps, vehicle decals and invitations to special members-only reservation periods and events. Plus, you’ll be helping reach the goal of a 200-mile, hut-to-hut trail that stretches from the New Hampshire border all the way to Moosehead Lake!

Whether you visit in spring or fall, winter or summer, Maine Trails & Huts offers a unique wilderness experience – and you don’t even have to rough it! For more information call 877-634-8824.

Grand Falls on the Dead River

Grand Falls at the intersection of the Dead River and Spencer Stream in Maine. Photo courtesy of Snowmobile-Maine.com.

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Events Calendar

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Thu 29

Evening Island Tour!

September 29 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm