River trail, moose tracks, and Katahdin!
Spotting moose tracks in the snow isn’t guaranteed, but the pretty river trail and the Katahdin views are a sure thing when you visit Penobscot River Trails in Stacyville.
Nestled along the East Branch of the Penobscot River and not far from the Medway/Millinocket exit of I-95, Penobscot River Trails has 24K of groomed terrain, including trails for classic and skate. They welcome snowshoers and fat bikes, too. Trail use is by donation this year.
If you’re in need of rentals, PRT has a visitor center that’s open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and you can rent snowshoes and skis – also by donation.
For folks on classic skis or snowshoes, there are beginner-friendly trails that weave along the river and through the trees. Skate skiers can speed along on the wide Tote Road, which has some great river views, too. While relatively flat, it has some long inclines that gave this novice skate skier a good what for.
And don’t miss a stop at one of the two warming huts. They’re hardly “huts” by any standard – big, beautiful, and featuring a wall of windows that look out to Mt. Katahdin. The closer Pines and Ridges warming hut is 6k in and the farther Long Meadow hut is 11k via the Tote Road or 14k via the Riverside Trail. There are vault toilets near each hut. [See map]
The skiers and snowshoers I encountered on the trail were friendly and chatty – one gent even turned around to ski with me for a short while and offer a few encouraging words as I slogged up a hill.
And while I didn’t see any actual moose, I saw plenty of evidence of at least one, maybe with its progeny in tow, traipsing along the trail for a while before ducking back into the woods. So cool.
Penobscot River Trails
2540 Grindstone Road, Soldiertown TWP [directions]
Trails open every day, dawn to dusk. Visitor center open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Trail use is by donation. Rentals available by donation.
No dogs. Bathrooms available in parking lot, visitors center, and near both warming huts.