Snowmobiling in Maine for Beginners.
Remember when you were a kid and couldn’t wait for the first good snow day so you could join your friends at the nearest sledding hill?
Remember how much fun that was?
At some point, someone with an inventive spirit must have gotten tired of having to walk back up all those hills. So they invented the snowmobile.
Now, snowmobiling in Maine is an integral part of the culture. So much so that Mainers are keen to get everyone on a sled that wants to. No experience necessary.
No Hills Required
OK, I have no idea if the desire to not walk up hills is what inspired the invention of the snowmobile. But the result is nevertheless the same. Thanks to the wonders of engineering and technology, we have these machines that let us zip over the snow without the need for gravity to propel us.
Snowmobiling in Maine
In Maine, snowmobiling is a lifestyle. Snowmobiles in Maine are about as ubiquitous as boats in the bayou. There’s literally an entire interstate trail system that connects countless other local trail systems, most of which are built and maintained by volunteers. All told, we’re talking tens of thousands of miles of snowmobile trails in Maine networked all over the state.
Yes, Mainers are serious about the sledding life.
Snowmobile Beginners are Welcome in Maine
One of the great things about Maine’s sledding culture is how willing everyone is to share it. Even if you’ve never touched a sled in your life, there is ample opportunity for you to discover the thrill of snowmobiling.
And you don’t even have to own a snowmobile.
Don’t Own a Snowmobile? No problem.
There are literally dozens of places all over Maine where you can rent snowmobiles. To find a rental agent, check first on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW) website. There, you’ll find a list of all department certified rental agents listed by location.
Why are rental agents state certified, you ask? The Department administers the licensing system and then puts those funds toward acquisition, maintenance, and enforcement of the extensive snowmobiling trail system in Maine. The vast statewide system is a public/private partnership between state agencies and local riding clubs. Certifying rental agencies is simply one aspect of this partnership.
Basically, the state certification system provides some assurance that your sled rental is from someone that is reputable, knowledgeable, and accountable. All good things, especially if you’re new to the sport.
Camp Katahdin Adventures is a “sled-in-sled-out” snowmobile lodge that offers guided trips.
Guided Snowmobile Trips
So you have a sled, now what? Whether you rent a sled or bring your own, your next step is to get out on the trails. For this, you have two options: go it alone or go with a guide.
If you’re comfortable in your navigational abilities, there’s not much stopping you from hitting the trails on your own. To orient yourself to the state’s network of trails, hit the web and spend some time exploring the interactive trail map.
Option two is a guided trip. There are tons of options for guided snowmobile rides in Maine. On these, a local expert will walk you through all you need to know about riding and then show you the trails. To find a guide, simply hit up the web or ask your rental agent.
Sled like a Mainer
Nobody expects you to sled like a pro on your first journey. But to soften the learning curve some, follow this basic etiquette:
- Know the laws governing snowmobiling in Maine. You can find them on the IFW website.
- Stay right. Just like on the roads.
- Ride responsibly. Sled sober.
- Easy on the throttle. Sure, the crazy acceleration is a blast. But most accidents are a result of too much speed. Be reasonable.
- Use hand signals to let other riders know your intentions.
- Watch for moose.
Now get out there!
You don’t have to have any experience to enjoy a Maine snowmobiling adventure. Mainers love their sleds and are more than happy to share their machines and expertise with anyone willing to brave a little cold to join them.
See you on the trails!
For fun, we asked a Registered Maine Guide to tell us how they prepare for rides. Click this image to read more on how to optimize your next snowmobile ride:
Denney Lodge at Camp Katahdin is a new, luxury Hunting Lodge in Northern Maine that sits right on Maine’s ITS Connector 112. It sleeps 15 and comes with a brand new Chef’s kitchen. Step out your door and jump on your sleds to connector 112 for an amazing day trip. Read more about our lodge here: