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Chester, MAINE

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No frills waterfront camping

Head north out of Greenville on the east side of Moosehead lake and shortly before you reach Kokadjo, turn right and follow the road along the edge of First Roach Pond. Near the far end of the lake you’ll come upon a small campground with a number of named waterfront sites on the left and a grassy hillside area with additional spots. I drove past this place several times en route to ponds where I could kayak and look for moose before I finally decided to stop in. I couldn’t find much of anything online and that’s because they are old school, taking reservations by phone and tracking them on wirebound notepads. These are no frills sites; most of the outhouses are on the other side of the road from the waterfront sites and not necessarily nearby. Some of the sites occupy rises above the lake while others are right down on the water. There is a gravelly beach area. If you like to fish or boat or look for wildlife, you've come to the right area. Grab your Maine atlas and explore the back road and ponds. Book a moose tour out of Greenville if you want some help finding the moose. There are some small peaks in the area (Greenville promotes a Peak Pursuit). Kokadjo has a small trading post and restaurant, but you'll want to pick up most of your supplies in Greenville. Remember to bring water.

Worth the hike-in, very close to the AT

Beautiful hike-in sites located along the Pleasant River, and a great access point for hiking on the Appalachian Trail or in Gulf Hagas area!  We didn’t stay at these sites, but came across them while hiking just off the AT. 

Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, with access to a clean latrine (with TP!).  No potable water is available, but the river is easily accessible for dishwashing and boiling/filtering. Firewood is available for purchase at the access gate at Katahdin Iron Works, but keep in mind you’ll have to carry it about ¾ of a mile, and across a river. 

For safety, no bikes or ATV’s are allowed beyond the Katahdin Iron Works gate, as these roads belong to the logging companies in the area and there can be many fast-moving logging trucks. The town of Milo is where you’ll find the closest grocery stores and gas stations, but it’s a bit of a drive so come prepared. 

Note about costs: Located in the Maine North Woods, getting here is quite a journey, but ooohh so worth it. It’s on the way to nowhere, you have to pay to get through the gate at Katahdin Iron Works, pay a daily access fee, and daily camping fee.  Note: If you are planning to backpack on the AT from this location, the pricing is very different, so be sure to ask!

First time we've seen moose FROM our campsite!

This was an unexpectedly beautiful site and great access point for hiking on the Appalachian Trail or Gulf Hagas area! We were seeking a place to stay 1 night just before embarking on a backpacking trip. The woman at the Katahdin Ironworks gatehouse selected the site for us and couldn’t have picked a better one. 

Lots of privacy, beautiful view of the river, and we even were visited by a moose and her calf one evening! Each site has a covered picnic table and fire ring, with access to a private, clean latrine (with TP!) across the road. No potable water is available, but the stream is easily accessible for dishwashing and boiling/filtering. Firewood is available for purchase at the access gate at Katahdin Iron Works. 

For safety, no bikes or ATV’s are allowed beyond the Katahdin Iron Works gate, as these roads belong to the logging companies in the area and there can be many fast-moving logging trucks. The town of Milo is where you’ll find the closest grocery stores and gas stations, but it’s a bit of a drive so come prepared. 

Note about costs: Located in the Maine North Woods, getting here is quite a journey, but ooohh so worth it. It’s on the way to nowhere, you have to pay to get through the gate at Katahdin Iron Works, pay a daily access fee, and daily camping fee. Note: If you are planning to backpack on the AT from this location, the pricing is very different, so be sure to ask!

Beautiful lodging you may not be able to visit!

I had never heard of Maine Huts and Trails (a small non-profit organization) and likely would not have if we had not traveled with an organized group for a three-day hut to hut experience. Poplar Flat is one of four gorgeous huts (and huts do not begin to describe these accommodations– they are more like lodges) on a trail system. The huts were constructed 11 years ago, and Poplar Stream was the first one completed. The main “hut” has showers, radiant heat floors, and compostable toilets. There are no electrical outlets or cell service, so this is an off-grid experience. There is a pack-in, pack-out policy. 

The bunkhouses are shared and each one accommodates up to eight people. When it is open and staffed, meals are provided, and the food is good. Dietary needs are taken into account. 

Now for the bad news: Poplar Flats hut is currently not open to the public (we stayed there as part of a group) and all of the huts are in jeopardy of not operating during the winter due to a severe financial shortfall. The catch 22 is that they likely do not have money for advertising so very few people know about them. I’m hopeful that by spreading the word on The Dyrt, more people will discover how beautiful they are, become a member, donate to them, volunteer, and hopefully enjoy time spent in one of the huts (I believe that the other three are still open).

Very nice, quiet, clean park

This place is excellent! The staff are friendly, the park is quiet, clean, well maintained and spacious. If you are planning on staying around Bangor, this is the place!

Best small campground I've been to in 18 years.

Clean,quiet,very well taken care of,great staff,very helpful,huge sites,absolutely loved this place!

Close to Mount Katadhan

This is my 2nd time enjoying this camp. The management is very friendly and helpful in the care of my family pets, they’ll walk and occasionally keep an eye on your pets while you’re out hiking on Mount Katadhan, and will provide a shuttle to and from the mount, for an agreeable fee.

Great place

Really nice campground. Friendly group of people.

Riverside campground; boat or drive in before hiking or rafting

It will be tough to beat the price ($6-12/person before taxes) at this Penobscot River Corridor campsite. Located just across the Golden Road from the Abol Bridge campground and before the bridge, Abol Pines is a state operated campground with picnic tables, fire rings, vault toilets, and a few sites with lean-tos. Millinocket is your last place purchase most forgotten items if you're coming from that direction, though there are a couple of smaller shops along the way. Be prepared to drive on gravel logging roads that can tear up your tires. Don't be surprised when the logging trucks start coming through in the morning.

I was here in early June, when rafting had started, but the Katahdin trails were not yet open. The campground was completely unoccupied. There are beautiful views of Katahdin from the bridge.  This is NOT the Abol campground located in Baxter State Park. If you're paddling or rafting the Penobscot or planning an attempt on Katahdin, but couldn't get a spot within the park, this may be just what you need. Your noise experience will depend on your fellow campers as there isn't a host on site full time. May and June, prepare for black flies!!!

You'll park and then walk into the campsites. There was a little water on the road, but easily passable. The sites themselves were generally dry.

If you're from out of state with a few people in your group, it may be less expensive to book a site in a more formal campground.

Wasn’t able to find

No signs on the road and no obvious campground found

Nice site markers

A bit crowded but very family friendly. Lit site markers made it easy to find your site. Not great site vehicle parking. We went on a holiday weekend with lots of events planned. Family hayride was fun. Kids enjoyed riding bikes and using the game room. Pool was clean and in a central location. Quick easy walk on a path to store and small restaurant.

Well maintained

We had a riverfront site, enjoyed our stay

Family friendly

Was a very nice campground lots of activity for the families, level lots great store overall a nice place to stay

People are nice

Wooded lots can be tight, lot you reserve isn’t always what you get when you reserve a spot, they will change it and surprise when you get there, not always a good thing

Lovely lake

Great place to spend time on the lake

Amazing campground and people!

Stopped here for one night while passing through, water/electric sites for $35 and primitive tent sites for $21 (still has flush toilets and showers a short walk down the road). Super pet friendly! The people who run this place are absolutely incredible! I happed to stop in on a Friday night they were doing a bean bake with a BBQ, live music, and games for the kids! Would definitely come back anytime!

Wilderness camping in a new national monument

It was tricky to find any information on this campsite and then the loop road didn't open until just before I left the Millinocket area. It has been a very wet spring after a heavy winter, so there were lots of delays and it didn't' open until after Memorial Day, so I didn't get to stay here, but I did get to visit!

Because the Katahdin Woods and Waters (KWW) National Monument is so new, information and services are limited. Sometime this summer they are supposed to erect signs to the park; until them you're dependent on small signs and trusting you haven't missed a turn. 

On to the campsite…it's first come, first served, at the beginning of the gravel loop road in the southern section of KWW. There are picnic tables, vault toilet, fire ring, and a tent pad. To light a fire, you will need a fire permit. Per their website, "A free permit is easily acquired prior to a visit by calling the Northern Regional Office of the Maine Fire Service at 207 435-7963 or visiting them at 45 Radar Street in Ashland, Maine." It's bear country, so plan appropriately. There's a spot with easy access to the pond/stream for launching a kayak (I"m not sure how deep it is, esp mid-summer) or wildlife watching (moose, bear, birds).

The 17-mile loop road features overlooks that include views of Mt. Katahdin, trails to peaks and waterfalls, and multi-use trails for bicycles, horses. There's an information board here as well.

You'll want to pick up any necessary items and fuel in Millinocket before you head into the Monument. Don't count on cell service. Be prepared to change a flat tire.

To get information about KWW, you MAY be able to visit the visitor's center in Millinocket (it was only open 1-4pm on Thursday; it has longer hours during the summer), but I found the best source was a Friends of KWW booklet that I picked up at a Maine Visitor's Center that included a map centerfold. There's a map here, too: Katahdin Woods and Waters Map

Ranger Review: GCI Outdoor Compact Camp Table at Wilderness Edge Campground

Campground Review

I headed to the Millinocket area because I wanted to explore the new Katahdin Woods & Waters (KWW)National Monument, Baxter SP, ponds and byways. Staying at Wilderness Edge proved to be an ideal location with full amenities. It’s convenient to each of these areas without requiring an extensive drive to any of them. My visit was very early in the season ( late May/early June) and the trails to peaks at Baxter state Park were still closed, so it was quiet. The sites are in two sections, with tenters up the hill in an area I did not have time to explore, and a lower section with hookups for RVs. The RV sites offer electrical and water. The location of the hookups is somewhat unusual and inconsistent. My site had the connections on the right side of my camper once I had backed it in, so I had to be careful about placement or have longer cords. It then made sense why Marcel explained that some campers like to park parallel to the camp road to create some privacy,

My site (6) was large and level, backing up to the woods and with trees between the sites providing some privacy. There were no sites directly opposite mine as the loop road turned and went up a hill. The very clean bathrooms are up the hill, providing free hot showers and also a dishwashing sink.

There’s a small camp store with a selection of necessities, just in case you need a map or forgot a backpack, etc. They’ll deliver firewood to your site. There was wi-fi available, strongest near the bathroom, but I had more than adequate cell phone coverage (Verizon) at my site, that I did not need to use the wifi. There’s a pool and a play area near the entrance.

This is not a campground packed with seasonal sites; they only have 2 seasonal campers. Instead, the campground fills with families, singles, couples, looking for a quiet camp setting with amenities. The amenities do come at a price, costing more than other campgrounds, but also providing more.

If you want to explore, the Discover Katahdin app is great for identifying hikes or paddles, etc. so be sure to install it to help with your planning. It’s also worth stopping by the Moose Prints Gallery in Millinocket. Anita provided some excellent suggestions for wildlife watching and paddling. If you’d like a guide, Marcel is happy to offer small tours.

In town there are a variety of shops, including groceries, dollar stores, and hardware.

Product Review: GCI Outdoors Compact Camp Table 20

As a ranger with The Dyrt I sometimes get to test and review camping equipment. On this trip, I was able to review the GCI Outdoors Compact Camp Table 20 (it also comes in a larger, 25” size). This is a great little table with telescoping legs (love the squeeze mechanism to get them to collapse), giving you two height options while occupying very small space in your vehicle while traveling. You may find yourself using it for more than just camping (I saw one in a picture of a recent tailgate party). It’s aluminum top allows you to place a hot pot on it. It can handle a substantial weight and doesn’t feel wiggly. It’s great for dinner by the campfire!

Beautiful campground

Beautiful campground close to all the attractions

First to Review
Wilderness camping on a river beach

The Omaha Beach campsite is part of the Penobscot River Corridor. Coming from Millinocket on the Golden Road (about halfway between Millinocket Lake and Abol Bridge), you'll see a turnoff to the left for "Debsconeag Campsites 4.5 miles." This is a rough road that I traveled with my Subaru Forester, but the other vehicles I saw are all high clearance trucks. There are still large puddles in places (May 31), but all passable. ~3+ miles from turnoff onto Debsconeag Rd is the sign for Omaha Beach. There's a short drive to a parking area with a latrine. You can drive to the beach for unloading purposes, but then return to the parking area with your vehicle. There's an iron ranger to pay per person camping fees ($6.54 Maine residents/13.08 nonresident with lodging tax in 2019). You may boat in on the west branch of the Penobscot, which was fast moving and high during my visit in late May 2019. There are a couple of  picnic tables and fire rings. Bring your own water or water filtration. Nice sandy beach. Black flies problematic everywhere in May and June, so come prepared!

1.1 miles farther to Little Omaha Beach, then boat launch and Wheelbarrow Pitch. 

close to Katahdin trails

really close to Katahdin trails, reasonable price, great views

Easy access to Mt. Katahdin

Though not open during the off season, this Baxter State Park campground offers tent sites and lean-tos, each with a picnic table and fire ring. There are no sites for RV's here.

There is no running/drinking water, but the stream nearby is perfect for filtering. The pit toilets are cleaned daily. There is no electricity, so bring your solar panel. Rangers are assigned to each campground, so there is always someone to chat with if you have questions or emergencies while in the park. 

You can start the 8-12 hour round trip to the summit of Mt. Katahdin from this campground, as it sits right at the base of the mountain.  Or, choose from variety of other trail options if a 4000 ft elevation gain hike isn’t your thing.

Fall is one of the best times to be here…no bugs, less people, and full of autumn color! Be ready for wind and cold days though. You are sure to see many Appalachian Trail through hikers as they use this campground as their final base camp before summiting!

Your last stop for food and gas is in Millinocket, so be sure to stock up before you make your way to the park. Millinocket is about 18 miles from the main entrance to Baxter State Park.

Note: Dogs are not allowed in the park, but Katahdin Kritters is a pet boarding facility located in East Millinocket.

Awesome location: dark skies, great hikes, Ledge Falls for cooling off

I always struggle with the notion of rating a full amenities campground with a no-frills place like this, so when it comes down to it, I'm rating the experience. If you want to get off the grid (no wi-fi, cell service, or running water) to a quiet, dark campground with opportunities to bag some peaks, see some wildlife, and cool off in a river after a long day on the trail, and you don't mind traveling over miles of dirt roads to get there, then it is hard to beat Nesowadnehunk Field campground.

I stayed in a lean-to, drove up to it and pitched my tent inside…grateful for a little extra protection in the tent as I listened to animals scratching around the lean-to at night. There was a large bush in front of the lean to and woods behind. I could see and hear my neighbors, but wasn't disturbed by them. The site also had a picnic table. Trails led to the river behind the lean tos. There are also a number of tent sites that you park and walk back to, plus a small bunkhouse.

As the sun sets, it is the sky that catches your attention and doesn't want to let it go. Without light pollution, you'll see more than stars than you imagined you could see (tip: if you need a light, use the red setting on your headlamp so your eyes don't have to re-acclimate to the dark).

I used this as a base for bagging Coe, South, and North Brother, finishing the Maine 4000-footers here. It was so windy I decided to forego the bushwhack to Fort. It's nice to be able to get an early start because you're already in the park.

Things you need to know about low frills Baxter State Park:

  1. Make reservations online, though if you want a group site or a bunkhouse, give them a call or send a letter. Reservations open 4 months ahead of time.
  2. Plan to arrive before 8:30. It takes a while to get to the campgrounds from the gates, wildlife starts moving around at dusk, and you don't want to have to set up camp in the dark
  3. Bring either water or a filtration/treatment system so you can use surface water.
  4. Bring what you'll need…don't expect a convenient store to replace that missing item! It's a long way back to Millinocket. Pack out your trash.
  5. The general camping season is May-Oct, though winter camping (Dec-Mar) and activities are also possible. Snow may arrive early (which is why they sometimes have thru-hikers jump ahead to Katahdin and hike backwards if they aren't likely to make it to Katahdin ahead of the snow)
  6. No pets. No alcohol in public places (i.e. don't celebrate on a summit with a sip of your favorite beverage)
  7. There are a lot of rules, conditions of the donation. Take time to read the rules on the website.
Near Baxter State Park, with full amenities!

Located just a few miles outside of Baxter State Park, POC offers a few spots for small RV’s, tent sites, lean-tos, and a few camping cabins, each with a picnic table and fire ring.  And, the property has an amazing view!

There are hot showers, clean bathrooms, a dishwashing sink, and even a game room with pool tables and a small bar. You can rent canoes and gear to paddle on the lake, with a great view of Mt. Katahdin. Or, sign up for a guided canoe or rafting trip.

Fall is one of the best times to be here…no bugs, less people, and full of autumn color! Be ready for wind and cold days though.

Your last stop for groceries and gas is in Millinocket, so be sure to stock up before you make your way to the park. 

All for $11 per person/night! Haven’t seen these amenities for this low price anywhere else in Maine.

First to Review
Camping Cabins with an Incredible View

If you enjoy camping cabins on a lake with a wonderful view of Mt. Katahdin, then this campground is for you. This is 1 of the 3 campgrounds in Baxter that stays open for a bit past the normal season (thru the 3rd week of October).

It even has a small library with the best porch view you’ve ever seen. The cabins are simple and there are just pit toilets, but everything is kept very clean. Rangers are assigned to each campground, so there is always someone to chat with if you have questions or emergencies while in the park. 

You can rent a canoe and gear to paddle on Daicey Pond, or bring your mountain bikes for an awesome ride along well-kept gravel roads. Great hiking options to waterfalls, along the Appalachian Trail, and up to Mt. Katahdin. 

Fall is one of the best times to be here…no bugs, less people, and full of autumn color! Be ready for wind and cold days though.

Your last stop for food and gas is in Millinocket, so be sure to stock up before you make your way to the park. Millinocket is about 18 miles from the main entrance to Baxter State Park. 

Note: Dogs are not allowed in the park, but Katahdin Kritters is a pet boarding facility located in East Millinocket.

The cleanest bathrooms I have ever seen at a campground.

The sites are nice enough, but not a ton of privacy. Ours wasn't very flat so tent camping wasn't very comfortable. Hammocks were fine. The lodge was super cool and the owners were friendly and helpful.

Beautiful Sebec Lake

We camped here in June and the weather was beautiful and it wasn't buggy. This campground is located in Dover-Foxcroft far enough from town to appear to be in the woodlands, but close enough to grocery stores and restaurants. We kayaked on this crystal clear lake and it was so relaxing. There are no water sites but there is a sandy beach, plenty of picnic tables and grills, group camping and day use areas. Clean updated bathrooms and a handful of water and electric sites. The sites are spacious and there is space between them. There weren't many campers when we visited which was great for us. It was quiet. There were plenty of deer making their appearance during our walks. We brought our dogs, dogs are not permitted on the beach. We love this campground. The staff were very nice and helpful. We will be back.

Moose Photographers Dream

This is a moose hot spot. You will find this site just past the bridge off Spencer Bay Road (old logging road) on the right (when coming from the main roads).

Bring boats if you want to see moose. We had kayaks. We stayed here, just to be up early enough to paddle out and wait for moose to show up. We have gone here kayaking from other nearby campsites too. Staying in the actual site was easier than getting ready somewhere else and hoping no one was in the site so we could put our boats in.

Site is first come first serve. You basically drive down a small driveway area, into an open gravel spot with a fire pit. You could bring a very small camper. We just put a tent and parked the car so it blocked the tent view if someone pulled in so their headlights would not be on us. Completely primitive. NO facilities. Nothing fancy. A spot to sleep and get up early for photography (or fishing if that's your thing). Take all your trash with you and bring hand sanitizer/bio-degradable TP/shovel.

Because this IS a hotspot for moose. Locals do come here at dusk and dawn, but hey mostly sit on the sides of the road by the bridge that goes over the bog/water. It's also a popular fishing area - from the road/bridge. Pretty sure certain tours bring people here or tell them to come here to look for moose, but you are WAY more likely to find one if you get in your kayak.

In the two nights we stayed here, we saw 5 moose. Likely the same 2-3 but hard to tell. We saw them at dusk and dawn. You only need to walk your boats about 10 feet to slide them in the water from the camping area. Once in the water, go to the left and it goes around a bend. We always took a short zig zagging trip through the area (it snakes along) slowly and quietly paddling. They show up a lot just past the first left you take (after going left out of the site). if you are really patient you can just sit there. We are a bit stir crazy though and preferred going back and forth slowly to occupy the senses.

Good luck and enjoy!

Serious Middle of Nowhere

To reach Third Machias Lake, take the Little River Road (which runs north off the Stud Mill Road along the east side of the Machias River). Turn left after 4 miles onto a side road that leads to the boat launch. This is a logging road, beware of log trucks. Pull OVER when you see one and let them pass. They are going really fast with really big loads of logs.

We park at the boat launch. There has usually been 2-3 campers there when we park there. There are porta potties there. But…. we don't stay there. Kayaks in, camping gear into the boats. Off we go. It can be a rough paddle if it's windy. This lake is HUGE and can and has gotten 2-3 foot waves when the weather is not so great. It usually takes us about an our to get to the island we camp on. It has no name I know if but, many people call the next island past ours, Fairy Island.

I actually prefer Fairy Island. it's more open, smaller island, and better trees for hammocks. Plus the breeze there is awesome but bring a big tarp and road to give yourself a wind block.

The kayaking in this area is the BEST I have had in Maine. It's an absolute wonderland of variety. We took many river routes going out of the lake, into other lakes, through marsh/swamp, portaging beaver dams and such. One time had to go over a dirt road. Hardly ever ran across a person except this one time, a guy who has a cabin on the main shore not too far from our island (maybe 20 min paddle) was out fishing and invited us to his cabin where he and his wife gave us drinks and made awesome food at their campfire. They were so cool. I hope I have a house like that at some point.

Anyway; if you crave adventure this area is for you. Just jump in your boat, with your gear, and hunt down an island of your choosing. There are a bunch out there. Beware of rocks even in deep water! The glacier rocks are absolute huge. See my photos for yourself. Respect nature. Don't leave your garbage out here, no one wants to see that!

Starting point for a Katadhin adventure

There are drive up tent sites and lean to sites as well as walk in sites (fairly short walk and easy to locate). Great place to start for an adventure to summit katadhin and tackle knifes edge. I will definitely be back. Hiked past chimney pond (another campsite) with great views of the mountain. That site is hike in only whereas roaring brook has parking.