Moose are on the Move in Fall
Wondering where to see moose in Maine? Well, fall is the best time of year to view moose in Maine because it is their breeding season. There are many routes you can drive, both paved and dirt, and stand a great chance of seeing a moose this time of year. If you head out on dirt roads remember they are often rough. By rough I mean have a spare tire (or two) with you. Sometimes these roads aren’t well-maintained, and they can have really sharp rocks sticking up if they were recently graded. If you do take long dirt roads, be sure to bring extra fuel if you’re driving far. There aren’t any gas stations out there!
I would love to say drive anywhere in The County and you stand a great chance of seeing moose. Aroostook is a paradise for moose. If I had to narrow it down a bit, I would say catch scenic Route 11 right off I-95 towards Medway/East Millinocket (exit 244). Head north and stay on Route 11 all the way to Ft. Kent, then follow 161 south out of Ft. Kent. This will take you to Caribou. From there take Route 1 south to Presque Isle, then 163 west. This will bring you back to Ashland on Route 11.
Hit the Dirt
There are a number of great dirt roads heading west out of Ashland and Portage to the north that leads into the northern Maine wilderness. These dirt roads will give you the best chance of seeing moose by far. The American Realty Road out of Ashland crosses the Allagash Wilderness Waterway region and heads towards the Canadian border. There are many other dirt roads that branch off to make your trip shorter.
Fish Lake Road out of Portage becomes Rocky Brook Road. Follow it until you reach South Branch Road (left-hand turn heading south). This connects back up to the American Realty Road at Big Machias Lake. From there you can go right and continue your long dirt road adventure, or left and head back towards Ashland.
There are also endless places in The Highlands to see moose. It’s tempting to say drive on any back road in the region and you stand a really great chance of seeing a moose! To be more specific, head towards Millinocket off exit 244 from I-95. Take Millinocket Lake Road out of Millinocket to Baxter State Park and drive any of the park roads. You can also take The Golden Road, a dirt road, out of Millinocket and follow it all the way to the Canadian border. The Golden Road also branches off to Sias Hill Road which will take you to Kokadjo towards Greenville. This is another great road to see moose on. From Kokadjo head south to Greenville, then take Routes 6 & 15 north to Rockwood, or south into Sangerville. The section of I-95 that passes through this region from exit 199 to exit 259 near Benedicta offer great chances to see moose as well.
Downeast & Acadia
There are some great remote roads to view moose in the Downeast region of Maine. Scenic Route 9 between Aurora and Wesley offer the chance to see a moose and some fantastic scenic outlooks. In Wesley take 192 south to Machias. Route 193 south just before Beddington heads towards Cherryfield and is another chance to see moose.
Just off Route 1 in Princeton follow West Street to Stud Mill Road. This is an active logging road so always be aware of logging trucks and move out of their way when you see them. The Stud Mill Road will take you all the way to Costigan, just above Old Town. Just above Princeton is Grand Lake Stream Road, another good journey offering the chance to see moose.
The Midcoast doesn’t have any “hot spots” for moose, although Route 220 north out of Waldoboro to Unity passes through a lot of remote areas. From Unity, take 139 west then go right on Prairie Road. This road heads through two bogs and follows along the shore of Unity Pond. At the end is Twitchell Corner. Go left towards Burnham and then south on Routes 11 and 100 towards Clinton or north towards Pittsfield. Both routes follow the beautiful Sebasticook River giving you another chance at a moose encounter.
The best route to see moose in Kennebec Valley is along Route 201 north. Take exit 133 off I-95 towards Skowhegan. Follow this route all the way up through The Forks to Jackman. The entire route from Bingham north gives you a great chance of seeing moose. While you’re up there, check out Moxie Falls in The Forks. It’s a quick, easy hike with breathtaking views of one of Maine’s tallest waterfalls.
Western Lakes & Mountains
The Western Lakes & Mountains region is another great place to go to look for moose. There is a great loop you can follow that dips into New Hampshire briefly and then back into Maine. Starting in Newry take Route 26 north to Errol, New Hampshire. From there, take Route 16 to Rangeley and follow it through to Stratton. In Stratton take Route 27 south to New Vineyard. Take Route 234 west to Strong, then Route 4 north through Phillips until you see Route 142 south. Follow that to Dixfield then take Route 2 west to Rumford. Take Route 120 to Andover, then Route 5 south back to Newry.
South and Casco Bay
Head west off Route 202 in Waterboro on West Road (easy to remember, right?!). Follow this north to Newfield, then go right on to Route 11. Follow Route 11 south to Shapleigh and down to Springvale. For a better chance of seeing moose, consider driving a few of the dirt roads just outside of Shapleigh like Back Road or Hooper Road.
Dirt Roads, Boggy Places, and Busy Roads
There are almost endless dirt roads that also offer a chance encounter with a moose, especially up north. Moose also frequent boggy places near the road, and your best chance to see them is around dawn or dusk. You never know when or where you might see a moose. I was driving on Route 1 in Searsport and saw a moose cross the road just after the gas station right before Angler’s Restaurant years ago. It stopped right in the middle of the road and held up traffic for a bit. Just a few years ago we came upon a moose crash scene just outside of the cities of Lewiston/Auburn. In Maine, you never know where you might encounter a moose!
Where have you seen moose in Maine? Let me know in the comments below!
Angela enjoys exploring the many beautiful and unique natural places in Maine and sharing her outdoor experiences with others.When not out exploring Maine woods, trails, mountains and waterways Angela can be found plotting and planning her next adventure or buying another backpack.(Because you can never have too many).