winter wonderland

Maine’s Lakes and Mountains region is a true Winter Wonderland with plenty of snow, few crowds, and abundant outdoor experiences. Plus, at the end of a chilly, fun-filled day, you’ll find excellent restaurants and fine lodging that fits every budget and taste. Visitors will discover an unusually rich blend of snowy and frozen terrain, and warm welcoming locals. Plus, it’s the perfect place to try something new and unusual, like skijoring, dog sledding or fat biking. When it comes to serving such a rich and diverse menu of winter activities, this part of Maine is unmatched.

Here are our choices for nine amazing adventures that make the region a prime wintertime vacation destination.

Snowboarding on the slopes in Maine's Lakes and Mountains
Alpine Skiing

The area is a downhiller’s playground, with big resorts and mid-sized areas. Sugarloaf offers gentle terrain for novice skiers but shines with challenging above-treeline skiing, steep runs, and glade skiing. Sunday River is famed for its fabulous snow with groomed runs, diverse terrain, and 135 trails and glades spread over eight mountains. Black Mountain Ski Resort is favored for its downhill slopes, 1,380 feet of vertical drop, fun glade skiing, and affordable lift tickets. Lost Valley Ski Area has family-friendly slopes, a busy ski school, and a tube park. Pleasant Mountain, Maine’s oldest ski resort, offers ski and snowboard terrain and 19 trails for night skiing. Mt. Abram Ski Resort, one of Maine’s best mid-sized mountains, has 44 trails and acres of beginner slopes at Westside.

Snowshoeing at Mount Blue State Park in Weld
Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing

Maine’s Western Mountains are home to over 20 Nordic touring centers with more than 300 miles of groomed trails and snowshoe terrain. Go for a weekend trip to Bethel’s Inland Woods and Trails or Carter’s XC Ski Center. Sugarloaf Outdoor Center is Maine’s largest cross-country ski area, with 55 miles of groomed trails and equipment rentals. With an annual 200″ snowpack, Rangeley Lakes Trails Center boasts 40 miles of wooded trails for Nordic skiers and backcountry snowshoers. Black Mountain is famed for its 21 miles of groomed world-class Nordic trails, often used for racing. 

A hut-to-hut winter trek on snowshoes through Maine’s remote backcountry is a bucket-list adventure. Maine Huts & Trails, a nonprofit organization, offers over 80 miles of trails that thread through pristine forests. Start near Sugarloaf and head out on snowshoes or cross-country skis for an overnight or multi-day trip to the four huts—Stratton Brook, Poplar, Flagstaff Lake, and Grand Falls. Most trails are flat, with little elevation change, and easy to follow. 

Fat Biking on the trails at Stratton Brook
Fat Biking

Fat tire bikes—mountain bikes with 4- to 5-inch wide tires—are a great way to get around in Maine’s winter wonderland. When you’re fat biking, you can crunch through the snow on trails and roads, traveling anywhere a regular mountain bike can go. The Sugarloaf Outdoor Center has embraced the fat tire revolution with groomed trails open all winter and a celebrated Fat Tire Festival every February. The popular event features long and short racecourses, a Frozen Fattie Adventure Ride on the trail network, bike demos, and a guided night ride. Look for more fat tire adventures and races near Bethel, Mt. Abram, and area state parks.

Dog Sledding

Dog sledding or mushing is a vibrant part of western Maine’s winter culture. Riding a wooden sled pulled by a team of fast dogs across a frozen lake is thrilling, and crunching trails through snowy woods are exciting. Mahoosuc Guide Service and New England Dogsledding offer guided dog sledding trips that range from half-day excursions to week-long wilderness experiences, as well as hands-on clinics that teach you how to mush and give the basic commands “Gee!” and “Haw.”

Ice fishing in Maine's Lakes and Mountains
Ice Fishing

Arctic cold sweeps out of the north; hardy fishermen haul ice shacks and augers onto the ice and drop lines for brook trout, landlocked salmon, togue, and smallmouth bass. Good ice ponds include Twitchell, Round, and Indian ponds near Greenwood and Moose, Bear, and Kezar ponds near Bridgton. The northern lakes offer a more extended season. Try Rangeley’s Haley Pond for stocked brookies, or head to Flagstaff Lake near Eustis, Webb Lake by Mt. Blue State Park, or Umbagog Lake.


The area features a vast network of well-mark and groomed snowmobile trails. Some of the best snowmobile areas are around the Rangeley Lakes, in the Carrabassett Valley area, and in state parklands, including Mt. Blue, Androscoggin Riverlands, and Dead River. Miles of public and private property trails also lace the countryside around Bethel and Rumford. Check out the extensive BlackFly Loop trail with panoramic views of surrounding mountains, valleys, and small villages below.

Based on content originally written by Stewart Green for RootsRated in partnership with Maine’s Lakes and Mountains Tourism Council.

Ways to Adventure

Plan Your Trip

Maine’s Lakes and Mountains offers a variety of resources to help you plan your next visit, including an annual visitor’s guide, stand alone map, and the new Adventure Guide App.

Visitor's Guide

Our Free Visitor's Guide will help inspire your next adventure along our mountain trails, lakes, scenic byways, bustling towns and more.

Map of the Region

Companion to the Visitor Guide, our dual-sided planning map will help you find your way to adventure in every season throughout the region.

Adventure Guide App

The App will point the way to all kinds of adventures, experiences and destinations in Maine’s Lakes and Mountains with GPS location maps and alerts.

Maine's Lakes and Mountains by the numbers

4,000+ footers
Mountain Peaks
Lakes and Ponds
+Towns and Villages
Square Miles of Adventure
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