Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

A close up image of a brown wooden sign post on the left side of the picture calls out groomed ski trails and snowshoe use for visitors. Evergreen trees frame the sign on a snowy day.
Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are ways visitors can enjoy the monument in the winter.

NPS / R.Wang

Step into a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis and enjoy the peace and quiet of the winter woods. Though tracks are set only on a few trails, all unplowed roads and trails are open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Remember that winter conditions can change rapidly and severely. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument offers a more remote experience with all its dangers: unpredictable wildlife, changing weather conditions, deep snow, open streams. Your safety is not guaranteed. Be prepared for any situation and know the limits of your ability. When visiting during the winter, you will need to bring your own recreation equipment and follow the winter recreation map.

Where to Find Groomed and Tracked Trails

The north entrance of the monument offers miles of packed and groomed trails perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The trails meander along the East Branch of the Penobscot River and through rolling forested terrain.

Grooming begins in the north end of the monument in mid-January. The trails offer a variety of routes for all ages and abilities. Trails are groomed for classic and, conditions permitting, skate skiing. Snowshoers and leashed pets must walk outside of the ski tracks. Visit the winter trail conditions page for the current status of cross-country ski trails.

There are currently no park ranger- or partner-led winter outings, but please be sure to check the calendar of events for information on future programs.

Recommended Ski and Snowshoe Routes
Name Maintenance Type Distance (Round Trip) Elevation Gain
Upper East Branch Loop Groomed & Tracked 3.7 mi/5.9 km 54 ft/16.5 m
Haskell Rock Pitch Groomed & Tracked 11.7 mi/18.8 km 163 ft/49.7 m
Haskell Hut Groomed & Tracked 10.2 mi/16.4 km 152 ft/46.9 m
Big Spring Brook Hut Groomed (tracks stop at Haskell Rock Pitch) 18.86 mi/ 30.4 km 262 ft/79.8 m
 
Ungroomed winter trail in the dense woods. Trail is covered with snow. Snow is built up on the evergreen trees that grow on both sides of the trail.
A trail that is not groomed during the winter season.

NPS / RWANG

Ungroomed Winter Trails

Cross-country skiing and winter hiking/snowshoeing are permitted on ungroomed trails. It is recommended that only experienced skiers or hikers use ungroomed hiking trails in winter as the terrain is often uneven and steep, ice falls may block the path, and marked routes can be obscured by snow.

Winter Trail Etiquette

  • Do not snowshoe or walk directly on ski tracks.
  • Snowshoe parallel to the ski tracks.
  • Step out of the track for a break.
  • Skiers/snowshoers going uphill yield to those going downhill.
  • Fill in depressions in the snow after falling to reduce hazards to others.
  • If you find the trail too difficult, turn back. Please do not take your skis off to walk up or down hills as the holes you will leave are very dangerous for other skiers. If you decide to continue, turn sideways, dig ski edges into the slope and sidestep either up or down the hill.
  • When skiing on the road, yield to vehicles. Ski single-file, facing traffic to avoid accidents.
  • Please be mindful of other visitors experiences and keep dogs off the groomed ski tracks. Dogs tear up the groomed track and detract from the skiing experience for others. They may also disturb wildlife.
 
winter recreation map that shows areas of recreation, groomed, and unmaintained trails during the winter.
Save and print out a copy of the winter recreation map before visiting in the winter. Call a ranger for more information.

NPS

Last updated: January 30, 2024

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 446
Patten, ME 04765

Phone:

207-456-6001

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