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The Lagrange to Medford Trail fills the bill if you’re looking for a remote trail experience. The gravel rail-trail runs for 11.4 miles from Lagrange to Medford Center, where it crosses a 100-year-old railroad trestle across the Piscataquis River. An ATV and snowmobile route continues north on the old railroad bed to remote Schoodic Lake at Lake View Plantation. You’re as likely to see evidence of beavers and moose as people along the out-of-the-way route.
The Bangor and Aroostook Railroad built the 600-foot-long trestle some 60 feet over the river as part of its Medford Cutoff in 1907. After a local ferry closed in the 1940s, the bridge was the only connection between the towns of Medford and Medford Center, located on opposite sides of the river. Some daring locals took to crossing the bridge in cars and on foot after the railroad discontinued using the line in 1978. The town later bought and refurbished the bridge just as crews were about to dismantle it.
The area’s remoteness means that you should carry provisions to get through the day, including insect repellent in the spring and early summer. The trail is shared by folks on ATVs, horses, and mountain bikes in warm months, and snowmobiles, cross-country skis, snowshoes, and dogsleds in the winter. It’s best to avoid the trail during muddy seasons.
Starting at the trailhead in South Lagrange, the trail rolls north through a heavily wooded area where you’ll catch occasional glimpses of houses or small farms through the trees. In about 4 miles, you’ll pass about 0.5 mile east of the old lumber mill town of Lagrange, home to a service station/general store via the Town Road crossing.
Keep your eyes open for waterfowl and signs of beavers in the ponds, marshes, and bogs as you head north along Birch Stream and later Cold Stream. Fishermen are attracted here as well. Moose have been sighted in these woods and bogs, so use extreme caution around these unpredictable creatures.
About 6 miles north of Lagrange you’ll arrive in Medford Center, where a few buildings cluster around a restored barn that serves as the town hall. The state park’s trail ownership ends at Paddy Hill Road, and local ATV and snowmobile clubs maintain a section of trail for Medford that parallels Trestle Road for 1.3 miles to the south bank of the Piscataquis River.
Across the bridge, the old railroad corridor is controlled by private landowners and state easements. ATV clubs use Railroad Bed Road to reach the eastern shore of Schoodic Lake, while snowmobilers find connections to continue their journeys on the Maine Interconnected Trail.
To reach the trailhead in South Lagrange from I-95 N, take Exit 199 toward Lagrange on SR 16/Bennoch Road. Turn left onto SR 16/Bennoch Road, go 10.4 miles, and turn left onto Railroad Road. Trailhead parking is about 500 feet ahead. The southern end of the trail is about 0.4 mile south. From I-95 S, take Exit 217, and turn right (west) onto SR 155 S/SR 6 W/Lagrange Road, and go 10.6 miles. Turn left onto SR 16 E, and go 3.8 miles. Turn right onto Railroad Road.
To reach parking in Medford Center from I-95, take Exit 217 onto SR 6/SR 155 toward Lagrange. Head west on SR 6/SR 155, go 0.4 mile, and turn right toward Maxfield onto River Road/Maxfield Road. Go 9.7 miles (River Road becomes Medford Center Road), and turn right onto Trestle Road in Medford Center. Go 0.1 mile, and look for parking at the trail crossing.
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