The quiet Kennebec Valley Trail (a.k.a. Anson to Bingham Trail) boasts surprising claims to fame: the 14.6-mile trail traces the river and Indian path taken in 1775 by Benedict Arnold, on orders from General George Washington, to capture Quebec from the British. It also follows a former narrow-gauge logging railroad, which then hauled freight and passengers up around Moosehead Lake, Maine's largest. At one point the trail is bisected by the 45th parallel. The surface is largely packed dirt and crushed stone.
Despite intermittent rolling dips from ATV use on the sandy stretches, the trail nevertheless delivers a good mountain bike ride. While the trail has only been fully developed from south of Solon to Bingham, additional undeveloped (read: less manicured) trail miles stretch north from the North Anson cemetery, nearly doubling the overall length.
North of Solon, tremendous views of the Kennebec River compensate for occasional rough going on the trail. The river is so wide in places, you may have to remind yourself you're traveling alongside a mighty river and not one of Maine's beautiful lakes. Listen for the cry of loons, especially around dusk. If you're really lucky, you may even spot one up close.
At an electrical generating station near Arnolds Landing (north of Solon), the trail spans a former railroad bridge across the Kennebec. North of the landing the trail runs within feet of the river for long expanses. Unless you're carrying a GPS, you won't be aware when you cross the 45th parallelthe theoretical midpoint between the Equator and the North Pole. You'll eventually emerge at the Bingham trailhead on Goodrich Road.
Parking and Trail Access
To reach the North Anson trailhead, take US Hwy. 201A to town and turn west on Fahi Pond Road. The trail starts on the right just before the cemetery.
To reach the Bingham trailhead, take US Hwy. 201 south through town and turn left on Goodrich Road. The parking lot is on the left, with trail access on the right.
We missed doing this one after finding the Solan Falls Rd mid-point parking spot. It was off in the woods and thought the location was wrong. Not making the excursion ended up being OK, as we lost a bike tube on one of the bikes before starting.