Maine’s best remote and challenging backpacking and hiking trails

Reaching the summit of Katahdin. Photo credit Coryn Wolk.
Climbing Mount Katahdin.
Photo credit: Coryn Wolk.

If you love peace and quiet, remarkable natural beauty, wildlife sightings and adding miles to your hiking boots, this list is for you!  Here are six of the most rugged, challenging places for backpacking and hiking in the state of Maine.

Deboullie Public Lands – Located in Aroostook County offering 21,871 acres of backcountry hiking, fishing, low mountains, clear ponds, remote and water-accessed campsites.  Over 22 miles of hiking trails.
Brochure | Map

Nahmakanta Public Lands – Located in Piscataquis County offering 43,000 acres of lakes, ledges and deep forests including six water-accessible campsites and several hike-to campsites.  Very extensive network of hiking trails including a section of The Appalachian Trail.
Brochure | Map

Bigelow Preserve – Located in Somerset and Franklin Counties offering over 36,000 acres including the whole seven-summit Bigelow Range.  The Appalachian Trail goes through this preserve and there are many side trails that can be hiked as well.

Mahoosuc Public Lands and Gafton Notch State Park – Located in Oxford County, the park and public lands include 12 of the most challenging miles of The Appalachian Trail,  the 38 mile Grafton Loop Trail and many other backpacking opportunities.
Brochure | Map

Cutler Coast Public Lands – Located in Washington County, these lands span 12,234 acres of blueberry barrens, forests, peatlands and headlands along the Bay of Fundy.  There are ten miles of hiking trails and remote tent sites.
Brochure | Map | Geological Features

Appalachian Trail – This trail traverses 282 miles of the state of Maine starting in the Mahoosuc Public Lands and ending at the summit of Mt. Katahdin.