Aroostook Valley Trail


Aroostook Valley Trail Facts

States: Maine
Counties: Aroostook
Length: 28 miles
Trail end points: Main St. (Presque Isle) and Westmanland Rd. (New Sweden)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6031224
Trail activities: ATV, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Snowmobiling, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Aroostook Valley Trail Description

In the far northeast reaches of Maine, the Aroostook Valley Trail runs atop the bed of Aroostook County's only electric railroad, a line once used to transport passengers to school and work and to haul potatoes from farmland to market. Today the county remains a largely agricultural area, renowned for its broccoli and potatoes. The rail corridor became disused in 1951 and trail development began in 1994.

The 28-mile rail-trail has a surface of crushed stone and connects to the 61-mile Bangor–Aroostook Trail, so you can opt for a short jaunt or fill up an entire day (or two) touring and exploring the region. The trails are part of northern Maine's Interconnected Trail System, which comprises more than 3,000 miles of ATV and snowmobile track. Motorized and non-motorized users alike, including dog sleds, share this trail year-round.

Whatever your mode of travel, it's easy to plan a multiday excursion. Food and lodging are readily available along the route, and signs posted at major trail intersections indicate the distance not just to the next town but to the next meal.

Washburn marks the junction with the Bangor–Aroostook Trail. A few miles north (north of Carson Road) the Aroostook Valley Trail splits; head north toward New Sweden for a snack from the general store or east toward Caribou for food and lodging.

North of Washburn, evergreens and deciduous trees provide canopy over the route, and wild apples hang for the picking. Elsewhere, the raised trail bisects wetland bogs, including Woodland Bog Preserve, where birders have identified 80 distinct species. Also keep watch for roaming moose and mud-and-stick beaver dams.

South of Washburn, the landscape opens up to vast potato farms. In late summer, the sweet aroma of potato blossoms fills the air. Potatoes are harvested in September and stored in potato houses—at major crossroads and abandoned sidings—until the spuds are sent to market. Watch for farm machinery crossing the trail during harvest.

Parking and Trail Access

In Washburn, you'll find trailhead parking north of town at Mill Pond Park on Station Road. In Presque Isle, you'll find parking on US Hwy. 1 just north of the Aroostook Centre Mall, on the south bank of the Aroostook River.

To reach the New Sweden trailhead from Caribou, take State Route 161 about 8 miles north to New Sweden and turn left on Westmanland Road. The trailhead is at the intersection of Westmanland and Jepson roads.

Aroostook Valley Trail Reviews

Rode the trail from New Sweden to Presque Isle and back on a Sunday. Of the four rails to trails I've done so far in Maine this was my favorite. There is no official parking at the New Sweden trail head but there is a church just up the road with a large parking lot. The trail can be a little bumpy at times due to some larger rocks but the firmness of the trail more than makes up for it and is what makes it so great and so easy to move quickly if you want. There is plenty of great scenery from remote forest to large rivers and small marshes and some towns. It gets a little tricky to stay on the trail in Ashland. You navigate onto the Bangor Aroostook trail just before and I missed the turn back onto the Aroostook Valley. The rails to trails map is right on but I missed it. As a result had to back track a few miles to get back on the Aroostook Valley. They had some major storms recently in the area and there were several trees down. The ATVers which I assume were part of the clubs did a phenomenal job clearing the trails literally as I was riding them. Great job guys!

"Please note that there are actually two distinct trails in this system. One is the Bangor/Aroostook Trail and the other is the Aroostook Valley Trail. The Bangor/Aroostook Trail currently runs from Mapleton to Van Buren on the south and west side of the area and from Caribou to Stockholm and then on to Van Buren on the east side.

The Aroostook Valley Trail connects to the Bangor/Aroostook Trail in Washburn and has trail heads in Mapleton, Caribou and New Sweden. The Bangor/Aroostook Trail is approximately 61 miles and the Aroostook Valley Trail is approximately 25.5 miles."

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