February 23rd, 2021
Rangeley: A Summer Paradise
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 and 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 bike needs a tune-up or repairs. Take a rental from AJ’s to the extensive network of trails at the Rangeley Lakes Trail Center.
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 make 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.
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 paddleboards can be rented by the hour, day, or week. Ecopelagicon also offers tours and lessons in all three sports.
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.
Caryn Dreyfuss 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.