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Aroostook Valley Rail Trail

Maine Rail Trails
Aroostook Region

Wildlife / Family
Trail Description

Location: Washburn to Van Buren. Aroostook County.

Directions: Parking areas at the following access points along the trail system: Washburn, West Caribou, New Sweden, Stockholm Junction, East Caribou And Van Buren.

Trail Length: 75 mile trail system. 17 miles from Van Buren to Stockholm.

Trail Surface: Gravel, ballast.

Trail Difficulty: Easy/moderate.

Caution: Shared use with hikers and equestrians and ATVs. Mosquitos and black flies during spring.

 

 

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Aroostook Valley Rail Trail Map

Note: The free trail maps on this website have been simplified to provide an overview with approximate locations of trails and special features. Read Full Disclaimer.

The Trail:

This 75+ mile system of interconnected rail trails in northern Maine provides a remote backcountry experience on a gravel and ballast surface. The surface can be rough (ATV's use the trail) but the riding is easy and non-technical. Because of the distances riding here requires a degree of conditioning. Decide how many miles you want to ride and design your own out-and-back or loop route. Shorter sections make good family riding. Two distinct trails meet in Washburn. One follows the abandoned right-of-way of the Aroostook Valley Railroad and the other, the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad.

The trails pass through open fields, farmland, deep woods and countless bogs and meander along small streams and rivers. The views and the wildflowers are just beautiful. This is prime Moose habitat. Ride quietly and you may spot one of these amazing creatures (dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife). There are rest areas with picnic tables as well as limited services in the small communities along the way.

Most of this trail is very remote and riders should be prepared for a backcountry experience. Be sure to carry some basic supplies, food and water and rain gear for a possible late afternoon thundershower during the summer. Insect repellent is a must during the spring and early summer. Avoid the bugs and ride late summer or fall. South of Presque Isle (US1) is Aroostook State Park with camping, showers and lake swimming.

 

Trail Highlights:

A highlight of the trail is the Salmon Brook Lake Bog, an expansive northern white cedar bog and the Nature Conservancy’s Woodland Bog Preserve just north of Washburn (Woodland). The bogs protect rare plants including types of water lily, valerian, buttercup, ladyslipper and orchid. Beautiful wildflowers such as Wild Iris and Lupine border the trail during June. Animals to watch for include the muskrat, beaver and of course, the moose along the more remote northern stretches.

 

History:

The Aroostook Valley Railroad began its run in 1910 from Presque Isle to Washburn and later to New Sweden and Caribou. It transported potatoes, lumber, wood products and passengers until the 1950s. Improved roads led to the demise of the railroad. The former railbed is now a premier recreational resource in northern Maine.

 

 

For more information:

Aroostook Valley Rail Trail
Bureau of Parks and Lands
Off-road Vehicle Division
22 SHS
Augusta, ME 04333

Phone: (Park Season) (207) 236-3109
TTY Users: 711 (AT&T National Relay Service)

 

 

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