Aroostook County is one of the best places in Maine for an adventure. At 6,828 square miles, the region is huge. To put that number in perspective, both Connecticut and Rhode Island could fit inside Aroostook. And in every corner of “The County” there is something interesting to explore, see, and do. Though each season in Aroostook possesses its own unique charm, winter is arguably the best time to visit because of all the amazing outdoor winter activities the area has to offer.
Nordic skiing is a big deal in Aroostook, with places like the Outdoor Sports Institute providing facilities and instruction for kids in the sport. For visitors to the area, one of the best places to visit is the Nordic Heritage Sports Center, nestled away in the woods between Presque Isle and Fort Fairfield. The world-class facility, which opened its doors in 1999, boast over twelve miles of perfectly groomed cross-country ski trails. This is a perfect place for families as the facility is geared for all skill levels, with trails ranging from easy to expert.
Head over to Fort Kent, to a small mountain that has become one of the best multi-use trail systems anywhere in the state. The Fort Kent Outdoor Center, located on the south side of the mountain, has a web of trails where you can easily spend a morning gliding through the woods on Nordic skis. The center also has awesome snowshoeing trails, if you feel like exploring the snow-covered forest.
Nordic skiing is amazing, but sometimes you might be in the mood for something faster paced. Thankfully, on the north side of the same mountain, Lonesome Pine Trails offers a variety of alpine skiing and snowboarding trails. Get there in the morning for first tracks on some perfectly groomed corduroy.
One event that shouldn’t be missed in March is the Can-Am sled dog race held in Fort Kent every year. The start of the race is quite an event, as people crowd onto Main Street to watch as the racers and their dogs get ready to start their trek across miles of snow covered ground. The race takes anywhere from two to four days covering 250 miles of the state’s most rugged terrain.
If you enjoy cruising through an open field or winding along a trail on a snowmobile, “The County” is the place for you. With its huge size and annual dumping of snow, Aroostook makes the perfect place for snowmobiling. There are over 2,300 miles of well-groomed trails throughout the region. Credit for this goes to the dedicated network of snowmobile clubs who use state-of-the-art grooming machines to keep the trails in excellent condition. Contact the Maine Snowmobile Association for information about trails, conditions, and rules and regulations.
With all the amazing outdoor activities Aroostook has to offer, it’s important that you get a good night sleep. One of the most inviting and cozy places in the area is the Aroostook Hospitality Inn, located in both Washburn and Van Buren. The inn takes great pride in what they call the “Three C’s”: clean, comfort, and convenient. Bundle up and get outside this winter. Aroostook is wild and expansive and one of the best places to explore in Maine this winter.