Find your summer bliss in the Rangeley Lakes Region
Maine’s Rangeley Lakes Region includes more than the 10-square-mile lake itself, extending to five other large lakes and hundreds of smaller lakes and ponds. Add rivers and streams, two mountains – Saddleback and The Horn — just east of the lake, and mile after mile of forests. What do you get? A paradise for those who love the great outdoors and all the activities it invites. Fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, climbing, camping, cycling, wildlife watching or just lazing beside the lake – whatever your summer bliss, you’ll find it here.
Hikers and climbers have their choice of woodland trails or several mountains. Bald Mountain Hiking Trail, between Rangeley and Mooselookmeguntic lakes, climbs to an altitude of 2, 443 feet for 360-degree views over both lakes.
AJ Cycles (207-864-2850) on Maine Street in downtown Rangeley rents and sells Fat Bikes. They are a full-service bike shop, if your own needs a tune-up or repairs. Take a rental from AJ’s to the extensive network of trails at the Rangeley Lakes Trail Center.
Moose Loop Cafe is located on Main Street, at the trailhead to Franklin County’s Moose Loop, a forest trail with mountain climbs and scenic views.
Golfers will appreciate the scenic Mingo Springs Golf Course, a favorite of both beginners and scratch players. Although the course is relatively short, it’s challenging, and birders love it for the variety of species that nest alongside the course.
All the lakes and ponds surrounded by forest makes a prime wildlife habitat, and moose-watching and photography is one of the region’s most popular activities. If roadside “stakeouts” between Rangeley and Eustis — a favorite moose-spotting spot — aren’t enough, take a moose-watching tour with prize-winning moose caller Matt Tinker through Green Farm Guide Service.
Green Farm can also plan and guide day and overnight hiking trips and guided fishing for pickerel, perch, trout or salmon. Their expert fishing guides can help you improve your dry fly casting, too.
With lakes on every side, it’s hard not to spend some time enjoying water sports. Lakeside Park, on Main Street in Rangeley, has a free sandy beach with lifeguards, picnic tables and changing rooms, while Rangeley Lake State Park, on the lake’s south shore, has a beach with lifeguards; it charges a small day-use fee.
To explore the lakes and ponds and enjoy the wildlife that make their homes on the shore, rent a canoe or kayak at Ecopelagicon Kayak Rentals on Pond Street in Rangeley. Single and double kayaks, canoes and standup paddle boards can be rented by the hour, day or week. Ecopelagicon also offers tours and lessons in all three sports.
Most guides provide the equipment necessary for their activities. Black Brook Cove Guide Services offers day or half-day salmon and brook trout fishing trips on the famous Rapid and Kennebago rivers, with all equipment included.
The area has plenty more lodging options. The Rangeley Inn and Tavern, overlooking Haley Pond in the center of town, has rooms with lake and mountain views, as well as a farm-to-table dining room.
Rooms at the pet-friendly Town and Lake Motel, are on a beach within easy walking distance of restaurants and shops, have beautiful lakefront views; some have well-equipped kitchenettes. For lakeside rental cabins, contact Russell’s Rentals.
Caryn Dreyfuss Real Estate can help you find your own little spot of heaven in the Rangeley region, whether it’s a cozy cabin in the woods or a family-sized lakeside retreat.
Start the day with an omelet or eggs benedict at The Gingerbread House Restaurant on routes 4 and 17 in Oquossoc or savor their signature crabcakes at dinner on the wrap-around porch. The Red Onion Restaurant in Rangeley is known for pizza but has a long menu of sandwiches, too. Find plenty of take-out options for trail lunches and picnics at family-owned Keep’s Corner Café and Bakery (207 864-2262) on Main Street or at the sandwich deli in the Moose Loop Cafe.
Text: Bobbie Randolph