The ATV is fueled up. The Northern Maine ATV Trails are calling. Near Mt. Katahdin, Mt. Chase, lakes, and several other natural wonders, Camp Katahdin is a dream come true for ATV trail riders. Sitting right on some of the best ATV trails in Maine, we try to cover all of our favorite day trips and local secrets. You may have already read: 3 ATV Trails from Camp Katahdin, but where shall we ride to today?
Today’s ATV trail destination is a little place called Smyrna Mills northeast of Camp Katahdin in Patten.
This little town of less than 500 is a hidden gem at the edge of the Maine’s wilderness. From Camp Katahdin, you’ll head for Patten, maybe stop for supplies, then hop on Maine’s extensive ATV trail system.
Camp Katahdin to Smyrna Mills
Distance: about 25 miles, one way
Why you’ll enjoy the ride: You might find hidden treasures along the way
Added perk: Fresh maple syrup for breakfast tomorrow
Out of Patten you’ll head north, more or less toward Shin Pond. Along the way, you’ll have a couple options for where to turn east, angling toward I-95. A little ways before meeting up with the interstate you’ll pick up a trail route that heads straight north into Smyrna Mills.
“You have arrived at your destination,” says the GPS voice in your head. Unless you actually have GPS on your ATV. Is there such a thing?
So, now what? What could there possibly be to see or do in a town of less than 500 people?
Your ATV Destination for Maple Syrup
Well, first, we’re going to get some genuine maple syrup the way nature intended. For that, we’ll head over to see Kevin and Kristi Brannen, owners of Spring Break Maple & Honey. The Brannens are serious about their craft. Kevin learned the art of maple syrup making from his great uncle back in the 1970’s. What began as a hobby has since become a thriving third-generation business.
These guys are serious about their maple products. They control their product from tree to customer, paying close attention to quality every step of the way. Their products are pure maple with no weird additives like you find in those mass-produced store brands.
The Spring Break Maple & Honey facility features a 3,000 square foot factory store which houses the maple syrup production area, a commercial kitchen where their maple candy is made, a maple equipment showroom, and a gift shop.
The gift shop is open from 9am to 4pm on weekdays, and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. When you stop by, be sure to say hi to Scout, the Brannen’s dog that serves as head of customer service. Yep, the entire family is in this business!
Delicious maple products safely secured in the ATV, it’s on to the next order of business: Food!
Dessert on the ATV Trail
For local grub, we’ll make your way over to the Brookside Inn, a little restaurant at the local hotel. While the desserts here might be the talk of the internet, the folks that work there probably aren’t too concerned with such things. They’re the type of small town restaurant staff that treat all their customers like long time locals. They’re too busy baking amazing pies and homemade bread to be bothered with such trivialities as online reviews.
But seriously, you’ll want to try the desserts. If you can possibly make room for one after your meal. How does a fresh BLT on homemade bread sound? Or a big ol’ plate of clams? Or maybe save room for dessert and opt instead for something lighter such as the Hamburg tomato rice soup with a biscuit.
Hungry yet? Thought so.
And the desserts! What is it with Maine and desserts? Whatever it is, I love it!
“Pie pie pie. Just go for the pie,” exclaims one online reviewer while another extols the virtues of the German chocolate cake. Then there’s the frosted peanut butter cookies.
To-go box please! Snacks on the trail.
Make time for some fishing
If you had foresight enough to throw in your fishing gear before you hit the trail, and you’re not too stuffed to cast a line, there are some great spots to fish in and around Smyrna Mills. The East Branch Mattawamkeag River runs right through town and there are a number of side streams that feed into it. The river is known for its great bass and wild brook trout fishing.
Maple syrup safely stored and doggie-bagged desserts within arm’s reach, it’s time to head back to camp. Take your time and pick a different ATV trail route for some fresh scenery on the return trip.
Oh, and don’t forget to stop in town for pancake mix for breakfast tomorrow.
Denney Lodge at Camp Katahdin is a luxury Lodge in the Mt. Katahdin area that sits right on Maine’s most beautiful ATV trails (in our humble opinion). It sleeps 15 and comes with a brand new Chef’s kitchen. Step out your door and jump on your four wheelers for short rides around town or let us help you map out an amazing day trip. Read more about our lodge here: