Maine ATV Trails are nothing short of SPECTACULAR. Gorgeous views, wildlife, a moose encounter, adventure, and cocktails – Where. Do. I. Sign. Up? Our Nate Humphrey talks to Brian Wilson about our local secret spots, conditions, and what you can expect from ATV Vacations in Northern Maine. You can listen to our short podcast here or read the transcript below.
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Brian Wilson: It’s me with Nate Humphrey of Camp Katahdin in Patten, Maine. We had a discussion about ATVs and the machines and the manufacturers and the options and all the things you’d be looking for on a good machine to have a great ATV adventure.
Nate, tell us a little bit about the ATV trails themselves and what someone is most likely to encounter once they leave the comfortable confines of Camp Katahdin (check dates and rates for our luxury lodge or our 1800’s farmhouse available for rent in Northern Maine by clicking on the below orange button).
Nate Humphrey: I can sum it up in one word: spectacular. But I will expand upon that, Brian. You can leave Denney Lodge, Camp Katahdin, and you virtually can do anything you want to do from seeing nature and beautiful views to go have breakfast, lunch, even a cocktail, pick up your groceries. Beautiful places such as Hasting Falls, you can ride to. It’s a 27-mile one way ride. You want to allow a solid six or seven hours round trip to go there, enjoy the falls, and come back. But beautiful panoramic views.
Shorter rides I took a group this past weekend. We left Denney Lodge and went down the road a bit, which is an ATV riding access road into the trail system. We go up a beautiful bridge by the Patten ATV Club, which is the local club. Very active, outgoing, terrific. Crested the top of the hill. Beautiful panoramic views of Mount Chase, Mount Katahdin. Of course, stop for a photo op.
Then we continue across, come up behind a gas station for a fuel stop, if needed. Cross through some other beautiful fields with panoramic views.
I took them down the infamous Killer Hill. They all made it successfully. I was very happy with our crew.
Through some more trails with some beautiful bridges. One very large trestle bridge that’s built across one of the local streams. Beautiful, beautiful spot. Up behind the town, right up through the center of town, to stop at Greg’s Clam Shack for ice cream for everybody. Then continued back another direction. We got back to Denney Lodge a different way than we left.
That’s just one example what you can do. You can do short rides, or you can go and accomplish some things and just get a meal or an ice cream, or you can do longer rides to go see nature at its best in Northern Maine.
A Camp Katahdin group rides past scenic Mt. Chase
Brian Wilson: I thought we’d give a shout-out to the Patten ATV Club. I was looking at their website, and they do an awful lot to help out with trail maintenance, sending out advisories when necessary. They’ve got a website that’s very informative and look like a really great bunch of guys.
Nate Humphrey: They are. Guys and girls, I might add. They are in the process of putting the local trail system maps on their website. That is under construction. I don’t think it’s up yet, but it will be soon. As we’re speaking, they are actively working on that.
It is a very active, aggressive club. Good people that work hard. They’re really just trying to build a magnificent trail system which they have done and are standing on to make it beautiful for people from away to come and enjoy the trails and economically stimulate the area. It works.
This part two weekends, when I was out on the trail, I have never seen so many machines as I had. Usually, I can ride all day and not see another person. I bumped into several groups from local people to people from away.
ATVing is growing in Maine and growing rapidly, particularly in Northern Maine, through the great help of your local ATV clubs such as the Patten, Maine ATV Club.
Brian Wilson: You mentioned them putting up maps. For the first-timer to the Patten, Maine area going to do some ATVing, are there maps to follow? Is a GPS available? Should I be dropping breadcrumbs as I leave the camp to follow back? How does that work?
A Camp Katahdin group from 2016 about to take off on the local trails.
Nate Humphrey: Well, we prefer smoke signals. It’s easier to see. No. You can leave, and with some basic directions, you can get started, and you can go out and explore by yourself, if you like, because the club has done a great job at marking the trails. If you have a main map, when you couple it with a GPS, you can definitely go out there on your own and explore and find your way around.
Or you can hire one of our guides. For a small fee, we’ll take you out there and show you the way. Also, when you hire one of our guides, we do bring along some basic safety equipment in the unlikely event that we have some sort of mechanical failure or medical emergency on the trail.
Brian Wilson: Got it. The old ski lodges have bunny slopes for the first-time skier. Are there ATV trails like that up there?
Nate Humphrey: They all really are pretty easy. It will tell you if there’s a difficult area. As I mentioned –
Brian Wilson: Killer Hill. Yeah.
Nate Humphrey: Yes. The infamous Killer Hill. You’ve got to have a little bit of experience before you tackle that. I usually watch people ride. First-timers, I’ll watch them ride before I take them down or up Killer Hill and make sure they “get it”. But there’s also an alternate path. You can take a much easier slope around Killer Hill, too.
But they’ve done such a great job. It really is, from the person that’s never rode before to the most experienced rider, there’s really something for everybody.
Brian Wilson: Well, for someone who takes off by themselves, they’re an experienced rider, they’ve got a compass, they know what’s north and east and all the rest – what are you least likely to run into? I’ve seen the trails. They always seem to be well-manicured, well-groomed, good to go, but you can’t totally eliminate the possibility of a surprise. What are you most likely to be the least expected? Big water? Quicksand? Horny moose? What? What do you think?
Nate Humphrey: Well, I was riding one day not too far from Camp Katahdin, and I was moving right along on a trail, riding in control, but I had some speed, and I had a moose just about clean me right off my four-wheeler. That definitely got the heartrate up a bit.
Your better riding control will be ready for anything. If there are washouts or dangerous areas, the club is really good about marking them with “caution” signs and orange ribbon and whatnot. As long as you’re riding in control, you really shouldn’t have any issues, but you should always have a plan. Make sure you have a cellphone with good service. Make sure you have a flashlight. A GPS and a map helps, if you’re out by yourself. Of course, some water. This time of year, you need fly spray, because particularly, right now in the springtime in Northern Maine, the Maine state bird is these black flies. They will carry you off. Definitely need some fly spray.
Something that’s happened to some friends of mine that went out exploring – they ran out of gas, because they had maps, phones, and everything, but were riding along, and they’re like – “Wow. We should have got fuel before we left.”
Brian Wilson: Well, it wouldn’t be an adventure if there wasn’t some spicy element of surprise, the unexpected to make things – like you say – get the adrenaline going and the heart pumping and make some big-time memories.
Nate Humphrey: It is nothing short of, as I said in the opener, spectacular.
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