Narrow Gauge Pathway


Register for free!

Register for free with TrailLink today!

We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors
  • View over 30,000 miles of trail maps
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your own favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Leave reviews for trails
  • Add new and edit existing trails

Narrow Gauge Pathway Facts

States: Maine
Counties: Franklin
Length: 5.4 miles
Trail end points: Huston Brook Road at the Carrabassett River Pedestrian Bridge and Carrabassett Dr./SR 16/ 27 northwest of Access Road (Carrabassett Valley)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6031327
Trail activities: Fishing, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

With Unlimited:

  • Export to My Trail Guide
  • Create Guidebook
  • Download GPX
  • Download Offline Maps
  • Print Friendly Map
Upgrade Now

Narrow Gauge Pathway Description

There’s plenty of room for backcountry experiences on the Narrow Gauge Pathway (also known as Carrabassett River Trail) nestled between Sugarloaf Mountain and the 36,000-acre Bigelow Preserve. The firm, crushed-stone surface hugs the north shore of the Carrabassett River for 5 miles as it rolls through a rocky channel in a forest. The trail surface, which is groomed in the winter for cross-country skiing, calls for the wider tires of hybrid or mountain bikes. Unlike most other remote rail-trails in the state, motorized vehicles such as ATVs and snowmobiles are prohibited.

The trail follows the bed of the Kingfield and Dead River Railroad that served loggers and sawmills in the area. The railroaders chose a 2-foot-wide narrow gauge for track separation instead of the 4-foot-8-inch standard gauge because it was easier and cheaper to build and operate through rough, mountainous terrain. The narrow gauge railroad reached Carrabassett Valley from the south in 1894, extending in 1900 to Bigelow, where the old railroad station still stands. The Bigelow branch fell out of use in the late 1920s, and the town of Carrabassett Valley constructed the recreational path in 2001.

Starting at the Airport Trailhead, follow a trail that heads north into the woods and cross the Carrabassett River on a footbridge. Signs at a kiosk point to the Narrow Gauge Pathway on the left fork, where you’ll immediately cross a short footbridge over Huston Brook. The trail offers a slight uphill grade all the way to the endpoint near the entrance to the Sugarloaf ski resort.

The trail rolls through forests uphill from the river for about 0.8 mile until the trail meets the river. You’ll have river views most of the rest of the way to the western endpoint, about 4 miles away. There are several picnic tables at scenic overlooks along this section. If you have your fishing license with you, there are many good places to throw in a line. A path on the Maine Huts and Trails System veers off to the right in this area.

Trailside wildflowers bloom in profusion from early spring through fall, while birch, aspen, and maple trees offer splashes of spectacular color during the fall foliage season. You’ll cross a boardwalk over a beaver flowage just shy of 4 miles from the trailhead. A left fork here crosses the river on a 0.2-mile trail to restrooms and parking at Campbell Field on SR 16/SR 27.

In another mile, another fork sends travelers left toward the trailhead and parking at the Carrabassett Valley Public Library. The right fork goes a short distance down Bigelow Station Road to the old railroad station set amid a collection of ski huts. The 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail is about 2 miles north on SR 16/27.


Parking and Trail Access

To reach the airport trailhead in Carrabassett Valley from I-95, take Exit 112 or 112B toward Belgrade, heading north on SR 8/SR 11/SR 27. Go 24.6 miles north, and turn left onto SR 27/US 2. Go 9.6 miles and turn right to stay on SR 27. Go 3.1 miles, and bear right to stay on SR 27. Go 19.6 miles, and join SR 16/SR 27. Go 10.2 miles, turn right into the Carrabassett Valley Airport, and go straight to the parking lot. Follow a trail 0.2 mile north into the woods and across a footbridge over the Carrabassett trailhead to find the trail.

To reach the western trailhead at the Carrabassett Valley Public Library from I-95, take Exit 112 or 112B toward Belgrade on SR 8/SR 11/SR 27. Go 24.6 miles north, and turn left onto SR 27/US 2. Go 9.6 miles, and turn right to stay on SR 27. Go 3.1 miles, and bear right to stay on SR 27. Go 19.6 miles, and join SR 16/SR 27; then go 15.2 miles, and turn left into the parking lot for the Carrabassett Valley Public Library. The trailhead is 0.1 mile to the left (northwest) on the right side of SR 16/SR 27.

Narrow Gauge Pathway Reviews

Great ride. Slight incline westbound.Lots of spots worth pulling over for on a short trail.

"Contrary to your description, the Narrow Gauge Pathway does NOT allow horses or snowmobiles. I live 2 miles from this trail. They are allowed on nearby trails, but not the actual Pathway--which is gated on both ends. The gates have been forced by disrespectful users (probably not we locals who work to keep it clean and clear!)"

Trail Events

This trail does not have any events yet.
Be the first to add one!

Add an Event

Nearby Trails

Kennebec Valley Trail

Maine - 14.5 miles

Keep your ears open for the haunting call of loons along the scenic Kennebec Valley Trail. They’re just one example of the wildlife—another is the...

Whistle Stop Rail-Trail

Maine - 15.8 miles

A former Maine Central Railroad line provides a year-round playground for motorized and nonmotorized trail users to explore the western hills of...

Rotary Centennial Trail

Maine - 1.5 miles

The Rotary Centennial Trail crosses two towns—Benton and Winslow—in central Maine, about 50 miles southwest of Bangor. The scenic wooded trail follows...


Four Seasons Adventure Trail

Maine - 29.8 miles

The Four Seasons Adventure Trail skirts several scenic lakes as it passes through forests and farmland, linking Newport, Corinna, Dexter, and...

Bethel Pathway

Maine - 1.7 miles

The Bethel Pathway is a bucolic pathway open for walking, mountain biking, walking dogs and in the winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The...

Upper Coos Recreational Trail

New Hampshire - 10.5 miles

The wildly scenic Upper Coos Recreational Trail parallels the Connecticut River, which divides New Hampshire and Vermont. The rail-trail begins in...

Kennebec River Rail Trail

Maine - 6.5 miles

Visitors to the 6.5-mile-long Kennebec River Rail Trail mostly stay within sight of the wide river as the paved trail links the state capital of...

West Milan Trail

New Hampshire - 4.5 miles

The West Milan Trail follows a portion of the Upper Ammonoosuc River along State Route 110 northwest of Berlin. The mult-use trail is relatively flat...

Norway Branch Rail Trail

Maine - 0.5 miles

The Norway Branch Rail Trail sits on the former railbed of the Norway Branch Railroad which once connected the communities of Norway and South Paris....

Whitman Spring Road Trail

Maine - 2 miles

The trail sits on the northwestern shore of Lake Auburn. A former roadway, the wide gravel path can accommodate various kinds of uses including,...

Old Narrow Gauge Volunteer Trail

Maine - 1.25 miles

The Old Narrow Gauge Volunteer Trail occupies a portion of the old Kennebec Central Railroad right-of-way in the town of Randolph, ME. As of 2012, the...

Presidential Rail Trail

New Hampshire - 18 miles

Located in the scenic Presidential Range in the White Mountains, the Presidential Rail Trail is a scenic and pleasant route, providing an alternative...

Download the TrailLink mobile app and take TrailLink with you!
Support TrailLink and the Trails You Love in 2020!
Get a FREE guidebook when you join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy!

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google


Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google