11 Maine Hikes That Will Make Your Kids Forget About Technology

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old person bemoaning “kids these days,” I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we all need to get away from our screens for a bit. Technology has simplified life for us in many ways, but it’s still absolutely essential for all of us–kids especially as their brains develop–to get out into nature.

If you’re already an outdoorsy family, you don’t need to be convinced. But just in case you’re skeptical, science has shown that there are many benefits–beyond those of exercise–to kids spending time outdoors: greater confidence, improved creativity and imagination, and reducing stress and fatigue. I don’t know about you, but I could use all of the above in my life!

Hiking with my family in Maine was one of my favorite things to do as a kid, and there are plenty of trails in the Pine Tree State that are kid-friendly. If you’re feeling like your family needs a digital detox during your Maine vacation, heading out into the woods is a great distraction! Here are 11 of the best family-friendly hikes in Maine, ranging from easy to moderate.

Note: Distances given are round trip. It’s recommended to get more details and consult a map before heading out on any trails.

Lily Bay State Park


Difficulty:
Easy
Distance: 4 miles

Lily Bay State Park is located along the eastern edge of Moosehead Lake and offers family-friendly day activities, including a 2-mile trail through the woods and along the shore. There are great views of Moosehead Lake, plus a beach that’s quite inviting after a hike.

For more info: Visit the State Park website for fee information and a map.

 

Poplar Falls and Hut (Maine Huts & Trails)


Difficulty:
Moderate
Distance: 6.4 miles (if hiking all the way to the hut)

There’s so much to do in the Carrabassett Valley with the fantastic multi-use trails maintained by Maine Huts & Trails that you might have a hard time choosing which one to explore with your kids. The trail to Poplar Hut makes a great day hike for families, especially in the summer when you can enjoy swimming holes and waterfalls along the way. If you’re looking for a slightly shorter hike with lakeside activities, check out the trail to Flagstaff Hut (4.4 miles round trip). Stop by any of the huts to enjoy a great lunch on the weekends during winter or summer full-service seasons.

Notes: Open year round–check website for full-service season dates. Dogs are not allowed on trails during the winter (December 1st – April 14th) nor inside the huts at any time.

For more info: Visit the Maine Huts and Trails website for details on hiking to the Poplar Hut and Flagstaff Hut.

 

Mount Kineo


Difficulty:
Easy to moderate
Distance: 3.8+ miles (with more than 1 mile on a flat carriage trail along the water’s edge)

Mount Kineo sits on the water’s edge on Moosehead Lake. Since it is located on a peninsula with no public road access, you can only reach it by a ferry operated by the golf course. Kids will love the extra adventure of taking a short ride across the lake before hitting the trail, watching for seaplanes along the way. Mount Kineo is small, but it appears to tower over the lake with its rocky cliffs as you approach on the ferry. The trails range from easy to moderate, so you can choose the level of challenge that your family is up for. Indian Trail is steeper and more challenging than the others, but it offers better views on the way up. Keep in mind that if you want any views at the top, you’ll need to climb the fire tower.

Notes: Only accessible by ferry (operated by the golf course with a fee charged), dogs are allowed. Operates from Memorial Day weekend – Columbus Day weekend.

For more info: Visit the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit website and get ferry information here.

Mount Kineo and Moosehead Lake - family friendly hikes in Maine

 

B-52 Crash Site on Elephant Mountain


Difficulty:
Easy
Distance: 0.5 mile

This short hike near Moosehead Lake offers an opportunity to share a piece of history with your children. The crash site serves as a memorial to the seven U.S. Air Force men who lost their lives in 1963 when their B-52 plane crashed while out on a routine training mission. Two of the nine crew members survived, and you can learn the story of all the men at the crash site, where a memorial honors their lives and service. For kids especially interested in aircraft and history, make sure to stop at the Moosehead Lake Aviation Museum in Greeneville for even more information.

For more info: Read about a snowmobile trip to the crash site in the winter and get information from the Moosehead Lake Aviation Museum.

 

Little Abol Falls and Blueberry Ledges


Difficulty:
Easy to moderate
Distance: 4.2 miles

The best family hikes in Maine are the ones with swimming holes that you can play in. If you agree, head up to Blueberry Ledges in Baxter State Park for a great hike with a waterfall swimming hole in Maine. Here, the Katahdin Stream flows over granite rocks to create natural water slides. Blueberry Ledges is a favorite for folks staying at Abol Bridge Campground and exploring Baxter State Park. Aptly named for the wild blueberries that grow along the trail, this trail is a great one to hike in early to mid-August for blueberry season. If you’ll be there with your family around this time, I recommend getting a copy of the book Blueberries for Sal to read to your kids as a fun way to extend your trip.

For more info: Head here for trail details.

Family friendly hikes in Maine - Blueberry Ledges Trail Baxter State Park

Family friendly hikes in Maine - Blueberry Ledges Swimhole

 

Debsconeag Ice Caves near Baxter State Park


Difficulty:
Moderate
Distance: 2 miles

The Ice Caves are located near Mount Katahdin in Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area, a 50,000-acre preserve maintained by the Nature Conservancy. This is a beautiful, ecologically rich area that was significant for Native Americans. It has the highest concentration of pristine ponds in New England and mature forests where 300-year-old trees have been found.

The Ice Caves are a unique phenomenon found in this preserve and hiking to them is a great adventure for anyone staying at our Katahdin Adventure Basecamp. While they might seem like any other cave during colder months, filled with ice and snow, they stay frozen year round–offering “nature’s air conditioning” during the summer. The Native Americans used these caves to preserve meat and pelts.

Notes: No dogs allowed in the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area. Entering the ice caves themselves is challenging and slippery, and is not suited for young children.

For more info: Check out the Bangor Daily News 1-minute hike for trail details, and watch our video below for more adventures near our Katahdin Basecamp.

 

Moxie Falls


Difficulty:
Easy
Distance: 2 miles

The hike into Moxie Falls is an easy one, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not worth the trip. It’s one of the most incredible waterfalls in Maine, and it’s a great hike for kids. This was one of our family favorites when I was growing up!

For more info: Head here for details on the trail to Moxie.

Moxie Falls Family Hiking Maine

 

Forks Area Scenic Trail


Difficulty:
Easy
Distance: 4 miles

The Forks Area Scenic Trail (F.A.S.T.), is a gravel trail that runs along the Kennebec River. The trail begins one mile south of our resort, runs through our Kennebec River Campground, and ends six miles north in The Forks where the rivers meet. This simple trail is great for running, biking, or hiking with dogs and kids. The best part about the F.A.S.T. is that you can leave your car at our resort, go for a hike, and come back for dinner with your family. No driving to a trailhead required!

For more info: Find out more here or just ask about the trail at our front desk!

Family on Gravel Trail - Forks Area Scenic Trail in Maine

The Forks Area Scenic Trail, Maine

 

Mosquito Mountain


Difficulty:
Moderate
Distance: 3 miles

Don’t let the name deter you (although it’s always advisable to pack bug spray)! We know this 1.5 mile hiking trail that climbs 1386 feet would be a lot more popular with a different name, but Mosquito Mountain is still one of our favorite trails in The Forks. It offers panoramic views of the area–the Bigelow Mountains, Moosehead Lake, and even Katahdin. Dogs and kids both enjoy this climb!

For more info: Get more details and directions here.

Hiking in Maine with kids - Mosquito Mountain

Mosquito Mountain Maine - Hiking with Dogs

 

Pleasant Pond Mountain


Difficulty:
Moderate
Distance: 3 miles

Pleasant Pond Mountain is one of many fantastic hikes near the Northern Outdoors resort in The Forks. This dog- and kid-friendly hike on the Appalachian Trail leads to an open summit with breathtaking views. You’ll be amazed at how many Maine mountains you’ll get a glimpse of from the top.

For more info: Get more details and directions here.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail in Maine with Kids - Pleasant Pond Mountain

Appalachian Trail Sign - Maine Family Friendly Hiking Trails

 

Borestone Mountain


Difficulty:
Moderate
Distance: 3.5 miles

Borestone Mountain is part of Maine’s 100-mile wilderness and is a popular hike in central Maine. The forest here provides a special sanctuary for wildlife since it has remained uncut for more than a century–in contrast to much of Maine’s forest, which has been harvested every 50-70 years. It is owned and maintained by Maine Audubon and is popular with birders, but anyone will enjoy the panoramic views from the top.

Notes: Entry fee (cash box) charged by Maine Audubon to maintain the trails. No dogs allowed.

For more info: Visit the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit or the Maine Audubon website.

 

Which of these family hikes in Maine have you done? This list certainly isn’t exhaustive–what trails would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

 

2 Comments
  • Jamie Hyde
    Posted at 16:02h, 28 March Reply

    Houston Brook Falls in Bingham is another good one the whole family enjoys.

    • Naomi Liz
      Posted at 10:45h, 29 March Reply

      Good to know! I’m not sure if I’ve been there but I will have to check it out! Thanks for the suggestion.

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