There’s been scarce little snow so far this winter, and those who need their Nordic fix are getting antsy.

That means that when we get that great, long-awaited dump of snow — and at some point we will — the Nordic skiers among us will be heading to the woods and fields.

Well, here’s a tip for those that do, a long-standing but relative secret: There are groomed trails that cover some of the state’s best-known untouched land that cost as little as $1.50 to enjoy.

Those trails are on several of Maine’s state parks. And while anyone is invited to back country ski across these lands, several offer groomed trails when the snow is there. Some have been doing this for 20 to 30 years.

“In the winter there is a lot of growth for people to come and enjoy the state parks in the winter,” said Gary Best, interpretive specialist with the Bureau of Parks and Lands.

At Aroostook State Park, the trails have been expanding over 30 years, and today there is a supply of rental equipment, compliments of the Maine Winter Sports Center’s Healthy Home Town program.


“Aroostook, as far as skiing, is the one (park) where you can really count on snow a lot longer. They have fantastic grooming equipment. And they have rentals for the day from kids’ sizes up to adults,” Best said.

Mt. Blue has classical trails that cover rolling and flat terrain with some beginner tracks, but also go through some undeveloped lands. They’ve expanded over 25 years and are a hit with locals.

“This year, like everywhere, it’s a poor snow year. It would be nice to get a little fresh snow,” said Bruce Farnham, park manager at Mt. Blue State Park.

The popular trails draw 3,000 to 4,000 skiers, although the park also has a lit skating rink, snowshoe and snowmobile trails.

“There are remote, lesser-known ski areas where you can not run into a whole lot of skiers. It’s kind of a treasure,” Farnham said.

There is a 10-mile route that’s very popular with hard-core skiers.


“It’s got varied terrain, but uphill and down. It’s got some nice views,” he added.

But it’s all single track, with no trails for skate skiing. This is the way Nordic skiing used to be, through narrow woods trails.

Down south where it’s been dry, Sebago Lake State Park has its own brand of trails, which wander along the state’s second-biggest lake. That offers a unique experience.

The state park at Moosehead Lake is also a wonderland of quiet water views.

“It’s beautiful, fantastic, to get down on Moosehead Lake,” Best said.

And then there are the coastal parks where the snow is iffy, but which offer the incredible experience of skiing while sounds and smells of ocean waves crashing surround you.


Water views can be had on the trails at Reid State Park in Georgetown and Camden Hills State Park.

At the latter, a ski shelter at the base of Mount Megunticook allows a reprieve from the ocean breeze and can be rented at night.

“It’s one of the best-kept secrets,” Best said.

Trail conditions can be found on most state park websites. And it’s a good idea to call the parks before heading there to find out about plowed roads.

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

Twitter: FlemingPph


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