The Maine Highlands truly is a winter getaway. Our northern exposure means we always have plenty of snow in the winter. This is great news for visitors who love to get out and enjoy cross-country skiing.

Groomed trail

We’re lucky to have a bevy of dedicated groomers who maintain hundreds of miles of trails meant specifically for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. From single-track to skate skiing, we have something for you! Never skied before? No big deal. There are several outfitters (including the Millinocket Memorial Library) that will rent the gear you need and guide you out on the trails.

One of our favorite spots is in the Katahdin region. The New England Outdoor Center not only has lovingly groomed trails, it has a great restaurant, River Driver’s, where you can grab a bite to eat and a pint to drink after your ski adventure. From sandwiches and soups to hearty mac and cheese and fish and chips, there’s nothing like a delicious hot meal after exercising in the snow. They always have local beer on tap—a great way to celebrate a successful ski with friends! Make a weekend of it and stay in one of their wonderful cabins!

River Driver's Restaurant

Visitors are welcome to use the 15 miles of trails at NEOC free of charge. You can access them right from the lodge! NEOC also has equipment for rent and offers lessons to novice skiers. Have them show you the ins and outs of traditional cross-country skiing or try skate skiing. They know what they’re doing.

Check out the map below to see what trails suit your experience level. Olympian John Morton designed the original Nordic ski trails. Expect more groomed trails in the near future as the Katahdin Area Trails (used right now for fat biking) are groomed for skiing, too.

Cross-country ski map of NEOC trails

Before you head out, be sure to pick up a trail map in the lodge. It’s always a good idea to let someone know where you are heading and when you expect to be back. You can check the trail and weather conditions by calling NEOC at 800-634-7238 or visiting their facebook page.

These trails typically hold snow until April…so you have plenty of time to plan your winter cross country ski vacation.


Written by Melanie Brooks.
River Driver’s photos courtesy NEOC. Other photos by Further North Photography.