Winter at Katahdin Woods and Waters

Two people cross-country skiing on a sunny wooded trail


The best way to explore Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in winter may be by foot or on skis from the North End/Matagamon entrance. This end of the monument is open seven days a week and offers groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Winter hiking, camping, ice fishing, and fat tire biking are also accessible from the North End.

Visits to other parts of the monument are restricted or strongly discouraged to ensure visitor safety. Roads within the monument are not plowed for wheeled vehicles and snowmobile trails and logging operations may be active in or around those areas.


Ski or Snowshoe On 16 Miles of Groomed Trails

Step into a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis and enjoy the peace and quiet of the winter woods.

The North End/Matagamon entrance of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument offers nearly 25 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 early 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 Routes

  • Old River Road Loop, approximately 3.5 miles
  • Old River Road to Oxbow Picnic Area, approximately 4 miles
  • Haskell Rock Pitch, approximately 12 miles

Download the cross-country ski map for more detail.

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 Camping

The following camping options are available in winter:

  • Walk-in primitive tent sites at Upper East Branch and Haskell Dead Water. Overnight parking permit required.
  • Walk-in lean-tos at Grand Pitch and Lunksoos Mountain. Overnight parking permit required.
  • Bunk space in community huts at Haskell Hut and Big Spring Brook Hut. *Reservations and overnight parking permits required. Visit the Current Conditions page for the status of the huts in 2021.

Camping Guidelines

  • Campers must be prepared for extreme weather conditions and must be self-sufficient.
  • Camping is permitted only at established campsites.
  • Campsites are carry in/carry out. Trash, including food scraps, must be collected, bagged, and carried out of the monument.
  • Bringing in firewood is prohibited. Dead and down wood for campfires may be gathered in areas adjacent to the campsites.

Required Permits and Reservations

  • Overnight parking permits are required for walk-in primitive tent sites and lean-tos.
  • Reservations and overnight parking permits are required for bunk space in primitive community huts.
  • Parking permits are required if parking overnight within the monument.

Reservations for the primitive community huts and overnight parking permits are available from the National Park Service. Please email us or call (207) 456-6001 for a permit.



Snowmobile travel is allowed on approximately 22 miles and is managed by local snowmobile clubs under special use permits. Please see The Maine Snowmobile Association's website for the latest information on routes and conditions.

Snowmobile regulations include:
  • All Maine state snowmobile laws are enforced in the monument. Maine registration is required. As a reminder, tracked side-by-side (ATVs) are not permitted on monument roads unless they are licensed.
  • Snowmobiles are not allowed on Katahdin Loop Road or generally on any monument roads and trails west of the East Branch River, except the ITS route which crosses approximately 2.5 miles of monument land west of the Whetstone Bridge crossing of the East Branch of the Penobscot River.
  • Snowmobiles are not permitted off of the groomed trails or on any hiking trails.
  • Be aware of active logging trucks on plowed road crossings. Log trucks have the right of way
  • Beware of anyone not on a snowmobile (skiers, snowshoers, fat tire bikers, and hikers) who may be on the groomed trail.
  • Turn on your white headlight and red taillight 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise, and whenever visibility is less than 500 feet (152 m).
  • Towing people on sleds or skis is prohibited.
  • It is illegal to operate snowmobiles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Drivers must be at least 14 years old to operate snowmobiles in the monument.
  • Anyone under 18 years old must wear approved protective headgear.

Last updated: May 7, 2021

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 446
Patten, ME 04765



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