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United States> Maine> Greenville> Moosehead Lake

New England - Maine

Moosehead Lake

( Nature’s Beauty / Mountains & Lakes )

A Karen Brown Recommendation
Greenville, ME  USA

The Moosehead Lake Region is just one district of the Maine Highlands and its natural beauty, many rivers, lakes and mountains make it an outdoorsman’s paradise and provide the traveler with unique experiences. At the heart of the region is a lake of the same name, whose outline when viewed on a map, remarkably does indeed look like a moose head with those distinctive antlers! Maine’s largest lake, Moosehead Lake is forty miles long and 420 miles around and has an intricate shoreline that weaves in and out to afford some spectacular bays, coves, beaches and even embraces a few islands. At the southern tip of the lake is Greenville—the closest to a metropolis for miles around! In fact approximately 20 miles north of Greenville when traveling north on either side of the lake, roads are gated and there is restricted access into the wilderness area. There is actually talk of converting and preserving this magnificent region of northern Maine into one of the nation’s largest national parks. There is no doubt that a visit, and a stay in the Moosehead Lake Region with Greenville as a base would provide the traveler with unique experiences. From here you can venture forth to explore the region. Where else can you stay in one locale and go dog sledding, ice fishing, whitewater rafting, snowmobiling, cross-country or downhill skiing, canoeing, kayaking, participate in a moose safari, and have a guide instruct you in the fine art of fly fishing? Seaplanes are a popular mode of transportation in these northern parts, but if you’re driving in the back woods on unpaved roads, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is good insurance that you’ll arrive at your destination. We were intrigued by the notion of moose sightings and happened to be traveling at the prime time—late spring, early summer. Moose are famous for making unexpected, cameo appearances and if you are lucky, you just might see one with or without the aid of binoculars. Moose are definitely prevalent as is evidenced by the over 1,000 accidents and fatalities attributed last year to cars colliding with moose… so be careful! Part of the blame falls on the moose whose vision is limited to about 25 feet. Also, in the Moosehead Lake Region, moose outnumber people (tourists!) by 3 to 1. But if you are determined as we were, there are a few key guidelines to enhance your chances of a sighting. With the exception of the lighthouse, there is no other image more symbolic of Maine than the moose. The fact that it is the state animal and appears as on the state seal is proof that the local residents are also enamored by this adorable, gangly creature. A large male may measure as long as 10 feet, stand 7 feet tall and weigh three-quarters of a ton. Cute and big, they are the largest antlered animal in North America and the largest member of the deer family in the world.Observing moose in their natural habitat is exciting. Luckily for the moose-seeking traveler, the best times for sightings are also the best times for visiting Maine—late spring/early summer and in the fall. In the springtime, craving sodium that has been depleted from their bodies after the long winter, moose are attracted to the roadsides where salt remains from winter spreading; and with a weakness for tender, sodium-rich aquatic plants they are often seen at a pond or body of water. In late September and early October moose are on the prowl because it is mating season and because the bulls can also be very aggressive in their pursuit and mistake anything moving for an alluring cow a good zoom lens might be the preferred and conservative means of a “close up” viewing. In general, Moose are nocturnal animals and the best times to sight them are early mornings or at dusk. You can venture forth to inlets and wooded areas by private car. In pursuit of moose it is possible to go off-road on many of the logging roads, but be alert for logging trucks, who like moose are bigger than you are! It is also possible to hire a guide and explore by canoe, kayak or seaplane. Regardless of the means of pursuit, remember to be careful. Although, moose are not considered dangerous, they are massive and you do not want to startle them. It is important to note that cows are very protective of their young and bulls are very aggressive in the mating season. As a recommendation for the best areas considered for sightings are to simply explore the main roads and back roads around Moosehead Lake. From Greenville take Route 6 and then 15 to Route 201 in Jackman and follow it to Sandy Bay township at the Canadian border. Or travel Lily Bay Road from Greenville, traveling northeast, for approximately 20 miles and watch for moose at any point along the way. If you have gotten to Kokadjo and still haven’t seen any or enough, head to lazy Tom Bog just past Kokadjo—this bog is very popular with local moose! If you want to make a day of moose watching, drive to Rockwood, a town north of Greenville, from which you can then venture to Mount Kineo for some hiking, exploring and moose watching.As a final note, moose definitely prefer shady, wet areas and so definitely focus your search around beaver flowages, marshes and swampy areas; logging areas where there is young growth as well as broccoli fields. Get a good map; pack binoculars and a picnic and hopefully, along with some patience, you will be well rewarded. But even if you are not fortunate to see a moose, in the pursuit it is guaranteed that you will see and experience some absolutely gorgeous wilderness. Although, centuries have passed since this region was settled by the Penobscot tribes and this was where early European settlers first landed in the mid-1700s it remains rugged, untouched and wild. From Greenville your options are to continue your journey north to the Canadian border, travel east to New Hampshire or return south to the Maine Coast and on to Massachusetts. When here you will feel isolated from any sense of civilization, so it is very interesting/comforting to note that in terms of distance and time you are just 1½ hours’ drive from Bangor, 2½ hours from Portland and 4½ hours from Boston.

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