New Dead River Hike & Raft option for the 2012 season

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 by Northern Outdoors Staff

Maine Huts & Trails recently opened a new 14.2 mile trail section that connects The Forks with the Grand Falls Hut and west onto the Bigelow Range and Carrabassett Valley, completing the full 45-mile first phase of this very exciting project.


The new section of trail opens up a variety of winter cross country ski and snow shoeing opportunities and it enables us to offer an exceptional two-day Hike & Raft package

The Dead River Hike & Raft package starts and ends at our lodge in The Forks and incorporates a full day of hiking with spectacular scenery, a night at the Grand Falls hut with dinner and breakfast and then a full-day of whitewater rafting on the Dead River. This package will be available on all scheduled Dead River highwater trips except the September 2nd release.

Northern Outdoors Experience

Saturday, September 3, 2011 by Northern Outdoors Trip Reviews
Thank you so much Russell to you, Debbie, MJ and your entire staff for putting the cherry on our sundae. From our pick up at Grand Falls to our drop off at the Poplar trail head, all of my participants were happy campers. The float trip was just wonderful as was the food.

I do have to say however that the resort was a little busier than we expected. In the future, I'll most likely look into the Lakeside Resort property to make out transition back into reality a little easier.

Looking forward to adding this trip in my offerings. Hope to see you and the staff again soon.

Best Regards,

Ken J
Owner/Operator - Adventure Trip Guides

Ken J
Bridgewater, MA

Rating: 4 ****

Maine Hut-to-hut hiking

All in One: Dead River Rafting and Hut to Hut Hiking Trips

Monday, April 25, 2011 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Northern Outdoors - Dead River Rafting Ever think of planning a Maine whitewater rafting vacation that involves some hiking too?  Our Dead River Hike and Raft Package is geared for those who love Maine adventure vacations.  Northern Outdoors has teamed up with Maine Huts & Trails to offer back country hiking, a night stay in the eco-friendly Grand Falls Hut and a day of Dead River rafting.    

Here's the trip at a glance:

Day 1
Park at the Big Eddy trail head and hike 8+ miles along the scenic upper Dead River.  Arrive at the hut and enjoy a home cooked dinner, perhaps an evening stroll to the river and the quiet comfort of the hut. 

Day 2
Wake up to a hearty breakfast.  Your whitewater raft guide will meet you at the hut and outfit you for your day of Dead River rafting. Then it's on the river you go to raft 14 miles of heart pumping Class IV whitewater. After rafting, you’ll feast on a bar-b-que cookout at Northern Outdoors in The Forks.  A bit of relaxing, then you'll hop on a return shuttle to the trail head where your vehicle is parked (approximately 90-minutes).

You can also choose to add an extra night of lodging at Northern Outdoors to enjoy the giant outdoor hot tub, on-site Maine brewery and live music.

Maine adventure vacations comprised of hiking and rafting...check.

Full details on the Dead River Hike and Raft Package
Dead River Rafting with Northern Outdoors
Hut to Hut Hiking Trips
Maine Huts and Trails

Northern Outdoors is Founding Partner in Collaborative to Promote Maine Adventure Vacations

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Portland ME WMTW Covers Maine Woods DiscoveryMany guests that visit Northern Outdoors are amazed by our region's spectacular scenery, clean whitewater rivers and multitude of recreational trails - from hut to hut hiking trips to 13,000 miles of Maine snowmobile trail.  As specialists in this region, we love sharing this authentic part of Maine with others cause there's just so much here worth experiencing. 

With this thought in mind, Northern Outdoors has been in the news and is pleased to announce its participation as a founding partner of the Maine Woods Discovery Initiative.  The program will market Maine adventure vacations and experiences and promote nature-based tourism.  Our winter adventure package on Maine Woods Discovery is Inn-to-Inn Snowmobiling.

It's pretty cool that this premier Maine outdoor destination can be found within a day's drive from the Boston-New York area, not to mention delicious meals and great accommodations too.  At Northern Outdoors, we're excited to be part of the Maine Woods Discovery Initiative and the opportunity to build a network of tourism providers that helps visitors plan their unique Maine adventure vacations.

Northern Outdoors News Clip on Maine Woods Discovery
Northern Outdoors Press Release on Maine Woods Discovery

Hut to Hut Hiking Trips All Year Round

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Hike on a Winter TrailHut to Hut hiking trips are considered by most to be a warm weather activity.  In spring, summer and fall, the pleasures of walking in the woods are obvious, bird song, wildflowers, lake views, gurgling streams.  Hiking trips make a nice addition to Maine whitewater rafting vacations, but such a Hut to Hut adventure does not have to happen only in warm weather.

In the winter, Hut to Hut journeys require a bit more planning, warmer clothes and drier shoes.  But whether you choose to make the hike on snowshoes or cross-country skis, a winter exploration of the Maine Huts and Trails system is a great way to spend a snowy day.  The warm meals that await at the Huts, the crackling woodstoves, are even more welcoming than they are in the summer months.  There is nothing like winding your way along a snowy trail knowing that at the end there is a hot bowl of soup waiting for you.

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Make the Center for Maine Craft a Part of Maine Adventure Vacations

Friday, October 8, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Center for Maine Craft - Image From Center For Maine CraftWhether a visitor is headed north for Maine whitewater rafting, Hut to Hut hiking trips or a Maine snowmobile vacation, a stop at the Center for Maine Craft is the perfect way to break up the trip.  Located at the Maine Turnpike's West Gardiner Service Plaza (Turnpike Exits 102/103 & I-295 Exit 51), the Center for Maine Craft is a 2500 square foot space featuring Maine artwork and handcrafts from all over the state.

Bookmark and Share From pottery to furniture to local foods, baskets and holiday ornaments, the center has something for everyone.  Some of the staff are participating artists and can not only help visitors find what they are looking for but often share more information about the creators of the art as well.

From October 1-10, 2010, the Center will celebrate American Craft week.  A reception for the Center's October exhibition will be held Friday October 8 from 6–8pm.  For those lucky enough to be passing by at that time, it will be perfect for exploring what the Center has to offer.  The reception is open to the public and will include special sales, discounts for Maine Crafts Association members and a screening of the PBS series Craft in America.

The October 2010 exhibition will feature Contemporary Jewelers & Longtime Maine Crafts Assiciation Members: Michael Good, Patricia Daunis, Ronna Lugosch and Sam Shaw.

Fall Harvest On Maine Adventure Vacations

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
A drive through Maine in autumn offers not only stunning views of fall foliage, but a chance to sample Maine's Seasonal Harvest as well.  Road side farms and farmstands dot the backroads.  This time of year, the cut corn stalks and bright oranges, yellows and rich greens of fall pumpkins and squash gleam from the roadsides. 

Roadside Pie Stand - MaineA stop at a local farmstand on the way up to enjoy fall Hut to Hut hiking trips or the last weekend of Maine whitewater rafting for 2010 is highly recommended.   Often visitors can find fresh-pressed local cider, jams and jellies, as well as fresh vegetables and Maine apples and herbs.  Sometimes a lucky shopper will find a home baked pie or cookies as well - sometimes that's all a little stand sells!  It's a great way to stock some snacks and fresh food in a Maine rental cabin for the weekend. 

For those stopping on the way home from their Maine adventure vacations, potted mums and fresh pumpkins can be purchased to decorate the porch or balcony back home.  Don't forget to pick up some more of that fresh cider too.

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Fall Foliage Adds Pop to New England Vacations

Friday, October 1, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Maine Back Road, September 2010, The Forks, MaineWhether visitors are headed to Maine for the last release of the season for Dead River Rafting, to play at Maine ATV Trails and resort adventures or to try their feet at Hut to Hut hiking trips, fall is the time to really savor being here.

From the interstate to two lane black top to the gravel backroads, seemingly endless waves of color cover the landscape.

Lakes and rivers reflect the trees, sometimes making it hard to know where land begins and water ends.  Kennebec River rafting through the Kennebec River Gorge this time of year is nothing short of spectacular.  Even just sitting on the porch of a rental cabin, sipping a hot drink and listening to the breeze in the leaves and watching them fall is a special time. 

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A New Bridge Over The Dead River for Hut to Hut Hiking Trips

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Library at Flagstaff Lake Hut - Maine Huts and TrailsHut to hut hiking trips in Maine are a unique experience.  When most people think of huts, they think of tiny, cramped, dark buildings and creaky outhouses.  Nothing could be farther from those images than the Huts of Maine Huts and Trails

The Huts are more like eco-lodges, built with green materials in an environmentally friendly way, with solar powered lights in the great room and library (yes library, with couches and books!), a drying room for wet gear, hot showers and composting bathroom facilities.  Overnight guests sleep in bunk houses with radiant heated floors.  The great room has large dining tables and home cooked meals are prepared by onsite lodge managers who double as chefs.

Foot Bridge Over The Dead River - Maine Huts & Trails SystemMulti-night guided hiking adventures are a great way to visit the huts and a new foot bridge over the Dead River, being dedicated October 9, 2010, now completes the link between the Carrabassett Valley and the Kennebec / Dead River region.  The Grand Falls Hut is just about complete and will have its Grand Opening on October 9th too.  Those wishing to attend the opening and dedication can meet at Northern Outdoors at 10:00 am to be bused to Grand Falls.  Call (207) 265-2400 to reserve your spot on the bus!

Visiting these huts is a wonderful way to see fall foliage in Maine.  Taking a day hike to these great facilities is a memorable treat.  Hiking between them for a several day adventure is even better.  The Maine Huts and Trails system of people-powered trails is specifically designed to allow year-round access for hikers, cross country skiers and casual adventurers to be able to access and appreciate some of the remote and special places of western maine. 

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The Fork's Best: Maine Whitewater Rafting, Handcraft Beer & Endless Adventure

Saturday, July 3, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
The Forks MaineThe Forks, Maine is a rural paradise.  Located on Route 201 in North Western, Maine, The Forks and West Forks have a year round population of under 100 people, but oh what a place we live in!  We have stunning scenery, great kayaking and canoeing, awesome fishing, moose and eagles and great trails.  We also have wild Maine whitewater rafting and super-tastey micobrew beer at the Kennebec River Brewery, and lodging from luxury cabins to tent camping for visitors.  We're so country-cool we can hardly stand it.

Spring and summer means hours of play on the rivers and lakes either fishing or rafting or kayaking and canoeing.  It means day hikes on the Appalachian Trail or extended overnight treks on Maine hut to hut hiking trips.  It means eating well at local restaurants and sipping some KRB BlueBerry Ale after a long day working or playing.

Come fall, the leaves are nothing short of stunning, and long scenic drives are only one way to see them.  Kennebec River rafting or Dead River rafting allow for viewing vistas that most folks never glimpse.  An autumn hike to Moxie falls is something not soon forgotten!

Winter brings its own wonder, with frozen lakes and rivers, moose and rabbit tracks in the snow, and great trails for snowmobiling, whether day trips or over night multi-day excusions.

There's no season here that doesn't delight.  The Forks may be small, but being here is a mighty big time!

Olympus Cameras Tough it Out on Maine's Wild White Water

Saturday, June 26, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Kennebec River WhitewaterWhitewater in New England runs fast and wild - the perfect place to test outdoor gear of all kinds.  Olympus Cameras brought its new waterproof Stylus Tough Digital Camera to Maine to abuse it in all sorts of conditions.  Northern Outdoors' video boater, Nick Atwood, rigged his whitewater kayak with half a dozen cameras and put them through their paces on the Kennebec River.  Best known for as a prime run for Maine whitewater rafting, the Kennebec gave the Stylus and Nick a glorious ride, as the video proves!

Among other adventures the Stylus Tough Camera had in Maine were snowboarding at Sugarloaf, mountain biking in Carrabassett Valley, lobster fishing off Portland Head, skateboarding and bowling (though inexplicably not candlepin bowling!) and a wild ride in a washing machine at the local laundrymat.  That's a tough camera getting put through its paces in a state known for rugged adventure.  From hut to hut hiking trips to Maine whitewater rafting, Maine is a great place to come out and play, and we're thinking the Stylus Tough is a great camera to bring along!

New England Vacations Require Birch Trees - Help Save Them!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Maine Birch Trees Route 201 along Wyman LakeWatching the terrible tragedy of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill unfold over these last weeks has gotten us thinking even more than usual about the natural beauty that surrounds us everyday and the things that make New England such a special place.

Whether whitewater rafting New England, cruising a back road in search of fall foliage,  or seeking out wilderness on hut to hut hiking trips, visitors can't help but notice the stunning and unique white birch trees that are such a special part of the New England landscape.

Sadly, these stunning hardwood trees -- as well as beech and maple trees -- face an environmental threat that is potenially every bit as deadly as the oil spill in the Gulf.  The danger comes from the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), a bug that bores into hardwood trees and kills them.

In 2001, the U.S. Forest Service and the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service  discovered that if all urban area in the US were to become infected with this beetle, it could mean the loss of 30 percent of the country's hardwood trees — some 1.2 billion trees; the destruction of 35 percent of the country's tree canopy; and about $669 billion in tree value. 

AsianLong Horn Beetle Threatens Maine Trees66 square miles around Worcester, Massachusetts are under quarantine after an ALB infestation was discovered in that city in August 2008. The quarantine area also includes Boylston, West Boylston, Holden and Shrewsbury and more than 15,000 trees have been removed so far in an attempt to contain the infestation. 

These little killer beetles could wipe out birch trees, sugar maples, beech trees and other species, habitat as across several states, maple syrup production and of course New England's gorgeous fall colors!  So let's not take our trees for granted, you can help by keeping an eye out for the ALB and calling the U.S. Forest Service if you spot them!

Maine's Beaver Dams

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Headlines in the Portland Press Herald recently announced the discovery of the world's largest beaver dam in Canada - the length of 8 football fields and visible from space!  Talk about generations of business.

Maine Roadside Bever Dam US Route 201 Here in Maine, we have some good size beaver dams of our own.  Visitors on hut to hut hiking trips often spot beaver ponds on their journeys, even those traveling through the north country by car see the work of these animal architects.  Beaver ponds provide not only safe habitat for beavers to live and store their food in, but they create perfect places from moose, birds and fish to live as well, and often times the ponds extend to the edges of roadways, as seen in the photo of a beaverdam made right from the side of Route 201.

For a backwoods look at a larger beaver created-wetland area, from the big overlook parking at Robbin's Hill at the southern end of the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway, it is a moderate walk down the hill to a beaver-flooded pond in progress.   The trail is still new, uneven and very wet, so hikers should be prepared to get muddy and damp,  but for those looking to add even more adventure to their Maine adventure vacations, this little side journeys is a nice twist.  Throw on some hiking boots and bug spray and go see what the beaver clan has been up to.

Footlogs & Footloose Maine Adventures

Thursday, April 22, 2010 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Footlogs on the Moxie Falls Trail, The Forks, ME - Northern Outdoors & PLCPhotoWhat's a footlog?  They come in a couple of varieties - logs that have been cut lengthwise and logs that have been chunked into 1-2 foot high pieces - but they have the same purpose, to keep feet above of muddy and damp sections of hiking trails.  The long versions are usually laid 2 at a time down the length of the trail over large distances, through boggy or low lying areas.  The stubby footlogs span shorts stretches such as where creeks cross the trail.

Footlogs can be found on even short hiking trails, like the Moxie Falls Trail.  Visitors planning Hut to Hut hiking trips as part of their Maine adventure vacations or those folks through-hiking the Appalachian Trail will encounter many of these gems of trail architecture. 

Hiking is a great way to spend time as part of your New England vacation, and with hiking trails, both short and long, all through the state there is a trail for every interest.  Whether visiting waterfalls, hiking the AT or climbing a mountain, visitors love getting footloose in Maine.

Maine Kennebec River - Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway

Saturday, October 17, 2009 by Northern Outdoors Staff
Maine Kennebec River Old Canada Road National Scenic BywayCruising north out of Skowhegan on U.S. Route 201, you top a hill and a view opens up before you - mountains roll to the horizon and the sky doubles in size.  On your left, in a grassy area, is a sign announcing you are now driving on the Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway.  A few hundred feet past the sign is an unmarked turn onto a gravel road that twists up to a picnic pavilion and another spectacular view.  Everything is new and this is obviously the beginnings of a larger project -  below the picnic area you can see signs of work in the woods. where walking trails are in the process of being cut.  Hmmm...a place to return to and explore some more on future trips.  Informational plaques on stands offer information about the mountains before you and the history of the area, it's clear they are the first of many you can stop and read along 201 north.

Breath in the view for a while, then continue north, into history, into wilderness and into adventure.  A National Scenic ByWay has to be more that a pretty drive - it has to be a route with history significant to the region and offer much to see and do.  The Old Canada Road is a prime example, with historical markers, spectacular scenery, and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure from Kennebec River rafting, ATV trails and resorts, and Hut to Hut Hiking trips to wintertime Maine snowmobile vacations.  The houses and towns along the way are small and hardy, the people tough and friendly, the journey worth taking!

Win the opportunity to take the Finest Walk in The World!

Friday, September 25, 2009 by Russell Walters
Our friends at Maine Huts & Trails are having a Grand Raffle to raise money to support their trail grooming and maintenance efforts.

The Grand Prize is a 5 day / 4 night Milford Track hiking experience in New Zealand, donated by Ultimate Hikes. The trip includes $2,000 towards airfare, pre and post walk accommodations at the Central Ridge Boutique Hotel in downtown Queensland and a host of other goodies.

Tickets are $100 each and will be limited to just 350 sold. The drawing will held on October 11th, at Maine Huts & Trails, Flagstaff Hut. You don't have to be present to win..... but it might be a lot of fun if you were! Other prizes include a Maine Huts & Trails lodging package, Red Sox tickets,  a Sugarloaf Ski and Stay package, a Northern Outdoors raft package and much, much more.

For full details and to purchase your tickets online go to

Multi-day hut-to-hut hiking in Maine

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 by Russell Walters

Last week we hosted our first guests doing a Hut-to-Hut hiking trip on the new Maine Huts and Trails system. The huts and trails are located between the Carrabassett Valley and the Kennebec Valley.

Our guests came all the way from the Caribbean to Maine last week! Erik and Ada, originally from the Netherlands, are currently living in St. Maarten. They told me they wanted to escape the summer heat of the Caribbean and experience a classic New England vacation. They planned their trip to include the weekend in Boston, exploring the coast of Maine and, authentic backcountry hiking in Maine’s North Woods.
Erik and Ada are enthusiastic European hikers it seems. They are both avid adventurers who have hiked in many locations including Scotland, Wales, France, Nepal and Dominica. They liked the Hut-to-Hut trip for its simplicity. After a night at Northern Outdoors, they were shuttled 90-minutes to the Poplar Stream Trailhead for the start of their 25-mile, three-day hiking journey, with their first overnight at The Poplar Stream hut and the second night at the new Flagstaff Lake Hut. From the Flagstaff hut they hiked back to the Kennebec Valley. Erik celebrated their hiking success and being the first to navigate the new Valley to Valley route this summer, with a couple of KBR pints, and Ada with two cups of green tea! 
Ps. Erik and Ada definitely got their wish to escape the heat of the Caribbean. It rained solidly the first two days of their hike, but they were well fed and well cared for by Maine Huts & Trails staff.  We are pretty excited about this new way to explore the western mountains of Maine. Guided and Self Guided Trips are offered from July to October for individuals and small groups. Custom programs can be developed for colleges, organizations and corporate groups – call 800-765-7238 for details


The 2009 Maine Whitewater Rafting Season is underway

Saturday, May 2, 2009 by Russell Walters

We kicked off the 2009 Maine Whitewater rafting season today with a trip down the Dead River with 56 adventurous souls.

After weeks of preparation it's always nice to get the first trip of the year on-the-water.

Now we can look forward to three more Dead River trips in May, whitewater guide training which starts on May 14th and our first ever Raft-n-Draft event on May 30th sponsored by our very own Kennebec River Brewery. There will be beer tasting, live music, a pig roast, brewery tours, did I mention the beer tasting? rafting on the Dead River and for those with any energy left on Sunday there's a 4-mile mud run/walk/crawl to celebrate spring in Maine.

In addition to rafting we're also gearing up for spring fishing, our new hut-to-hut hiking program and the arrival of Maine's ATV season at the end of the month.

So, don't sit around lamenting the woes of the world, grab a paddle, your hiking boots, a fishing rod or your ATV keys and get up here to The Forks to shake off the winter cobwebs and start to enjoy the benefits of Maine's great outdoors.