Visit the legendary Mt. Kineo and camp, boat and fish on Maine's largest lake.
Moosehead Lake, New England's largest freshwater body, lies at the gateway to the North Maine Woods and offers camping, fishing, hunting, paddling, hiking, paddling, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing opportunities. The sheer face of Mount Kineo, with 700-foot cliffs, forms the centerpiece of a spectacular landscape long cherished for its natural beauty and plentiful resources.
Moosehead Lake is the headwaters of the Kennebec River, and represents a critical hub in a network of traditional canoe routes. Two ancient carries (where natives portaged boats and gear) linked Moosehead with the West Branch of the Penobscot and the Allagash rivers, and with the Penobscot's North Branch and the St. John River. Recreational paddlers today still enjoy water trails such as the Northern Forest Canoe Trail that stretches 740-miles from northernmost Maine west to Quebec and the Adirondacks.
The cool, deep waters of the lake are exceptionally clean. Moosehead draws pleasure boaters in warm-weather months and fishermen at all seasons, with landlocked salmon (stocked), native brook trout (squaretails), and lake trout (togue). Site-specific fishing information is available from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. Hunters come in search of black ducks, wood ducks, partridge, white-tailed deer, bear and moose (for which the region is famous). Birdwatchers find a remarkable variety of species in the area. Visitors may hear or see up to 20 species of warblers along with less common boreal birds. The cliffs of Mt. Kineo are home to peregrine falcons, and support a critical breeding site for this endangered species that has been active since 1987.
Along the western shore of Moosehead lies the village of Rockwood, where a shuttle runs out to Mt. Kineo (elevation 1,789 feet). Farm Island (a 980-acre State wildlife preserve with several camping sites) is also accessible from Rockwood. The East Outlet along this shoreline is a popular setting for whitewater paddling while the West Outlet offers quieter waters. The Little Moose Public Lands (see Nearby Destinations) are readily accessible from this side of the lake. There are two large paved boat launches at Greenville and Rockwood.
Lily Bay State Park (see Nearby Destinations), along the lake's southeastern shore, offers waterfront camping with easy access to many natural attractions along the lake's eastern side including boat access to Sugar Island (4,208 acres) and Spencer Bay; hiking opportunities in Days Academy Grant; and class II & III whitewater paddling and fishing along the Roach River. There are four public boat launches on the east shore (Lily Bay State Park, Jewett Cove, Cowan Cove, and Norcross Brook).
When to Visit The public lands surrounding Moosehead Lake offer abundant recreation at every season of the year. Boaters and campers enjoy the warm weather months, followed by hunters in October and November and ice fishermen and snowmobilers in mid-winter. Surface fishing for salmon and trout is usually best in the weeks following ice out (typically early to mid-May) or when the waters cool in September. Be prepared for black flies and mosquitoes, particularly in May and June.
Four Seasons of Outdoor Adventure The Moosehead Lake region provides diverse recreational experiences throughout the year. While opportunities are many, here are a few seasonal highlights: Spring: Fishing for landlocked salmon, brook trout, and togue (lake trout) has drawn visitors here for generations. Trolling on the lake and casting on the ponds, streams, and rivers produces not just fish but fond memories as well. In the forests, migratory birds of the boreal and northern hardwoods forests call out upon their arrival. Summer: Hiking, boating and paddling, camping, swimming, wildlife watching, and continued fishing make summertime an ideal time to experience Moosehead's shoreline. Taken together, there are over 160 public campsites available at Lily Bay State Park and the remote campsites scattered along Moosehead's shoreline. Hiking trails at Mount Kineo and Little Kineo Mountain give a wide view of the lake and the sprawling forests surrounding it. Fall: As the air chills around Moosehead in the fall, foliage turns brilliant shades of red, yellow, and orange. Photography and sight-seeing are at their peak. Fall also means the start hunting seasons and the chase for game ranging from grouse and ducks to moose and bear. Winter: Snow and ice transform the Moosehead region into both a playground and a stunning winter landscape. Well-marked and groomed snowmobile trails spread out across the region and make the Moosehead area major snowmobile destination. Anglers ice-fi