Carrabassett Valley Overview
The Mountain Bike Trail Network in the Carrabassett Region is located primarily within the Town of Carrabassett Valley, Maine adjacent the Sugarloaf Mountain Resort, a well-known mecca for winter sports enthusiasts. Driving time from Portland, Maine is 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Carrabassett Region NEMBA, in collaboration with the Town of Carrabassett Valley and Maine Huts & Trails, has created a two pod mountain bike trail system in the Carrabassett Valley area. The Carrabassett Region offers over 77 miles of mountain bike specific trail, approximately 22 miles of which are new or completely rebuilt trails. The riding options are a treat for all rider abilities:
• The Narrow Gauge Pathway (Beginner) provides over 6 miles of riding on a smooth crushed gravel surface that hugs the rugged Carrabassett River following an old railroad bed. many small singletracks like Crockertown, Camel Humps and Caboose loop off the railbed. Riding this complex in the eastern direction makes them all downhills.
• The Route 27 Connector and Snail Trail (Beginner) provide a gradual incline single track also with crushed gravel surface that connects the Campbell Field Trailhead to the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center;
• The Oak Knoll Trail (Intermediate) is a 3 mile single track with amazing flow and spectacular mountain views that connects the Maine Hut & Trail Stratton Brook Hut with the Campbell Field Trail Head;
• TOAD and Buckshot (Intermediate) offer over 2 miles of flowy single track that is as much fun to climb as it is to ride downhill;
Pod One: Sugarloaf Outdoor Center (35 miles of trail)
The primary hub of the mountain bike trail network is located at the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center off Route 27, approximately 1 mile south of the Sugarloaf Mountain Resort Access Road. Here you will find parking, trail maps, Carrabassett Valley Bike, and a bike wash station. Carrabassett Valley Bike offers bike rentals, bike repair, and knowledgeable advice on area riding.
Pod Two: Campbell Field Trail Head (42 miles of trail)
The Campbell Field Trail Head also offers parking, a trail head kiosk with maps and signage. Access to the Campbell Field Trail Head is also located off Route 27 via a gravel road entrance approximately 500 feet south of the access road to the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center.
Below are suggested riding loops. Please consult the trail map before you depart and bring it with you.
Round the Pond
Start/End: Sugarloaf Outdoor Center
Ride Time: 20-30 minutes
Overview: This introductory ride is perfect for the brand new rider who is getting the feel of a mountain bike. It circumnavigates the pond at the Outdoor Center, has very little climbing, offers a smooth tread and some great views.
Loop: From the Outdoor Center start West (to the right looking at the pond) on Moose Bog Loop (103). Stay on the tread around the pond to the carriage road and head left back to the Outdoor Center.
Grassy Loop Excursion
Start/End: Sugarloaf Outdoor Center
Ride Time: 60-90 minutes
Overview: This loop will give a dose of twisty, turny trails through the woods, some views of the Carrabassett River and some open single track with great flow. This is a great option once you’ve mastered the basics.
Loop: Across the parking lot from the Outdoor Center find the Snail Trail Loop (101). Start around in either direction but take the Route 27 Connector (102) across Route 27 (use caution crossing the road). You are now located at the Campbell Field Trail Head. Proceed over the bridge and left on the Narrow Gage (200). Old Gage Trail (204) cuts the corner and gets you into the woods. Proceed on the Narrow Gage and around the Grassy Loops (201). There is an inner and outer loop to explore. Return to the Outdoor Center via the Narrow Gage, Route 27 Connector and Snail Trail.
Jabba the Hut
Start/End; Sugarloaf Outdoor Center
Ride Time: 60-90 minutes
Overview: This loop includes fun and moderately challenging single track riding that dances in and out of the dense woods and includes well defined crushed stone single track on existing Nordic ski trail corridors. Near the Nordic Center Warming Hut you will find some spectacular views of the Bigelow Mountain Range.
Loop: Leave the Outdoor Center heading west on the gravel road (also identified as ski trail no. 1) for about one mile. Look for a trail marker on your left identifying mountain bike trail no. 110 (Jabba the Hut). A this point, the trail is well-defined single track that takes you to the Warming Hut, which is a small log cabin building. Follow 110 across the gravel road following a defined tread of crushed stone within the ski trail. The defined tread of crushed stone will identify Jabba the Hut on this loop for all sections in the ski trail corridor. Single Track sections that enter the woods are clearly identified by both the tread and signage. You will encounter five additional sections of riding on this loop that have single track riding within the woods. Jabba the Hut will eventually intersect with the Moose Bog Loop (103) which joins Jabba the Hut from the left. Continue on Jabba the Hut on the defined tread with crushed gravel surface until you reach First Tracks (104). Follow First Tracks to where it rejoins Moose Bog Loop (103) and follow Moose Bog Loop back to the Outdoor Center.
Maine Huts & Trails
Maine Huts and Trails is an ambitious project. Eventually it will be a 180 mile network of trails and huts starting in Bethel and ending in Rockwood. The plan includes 12 wilderness huts to be located about 14 miles apart.
You can begin exploring over 50 miles of the system starting in Carrabasset Valley. Many of the huts are surrounded by good trail systems so extended daily riding explorations are always an option.
Riding in the Carrabassett Valley region is a visit to the wilderness, a chance to know it more intimately. Only here can you get on a dirt trail, cross a single paved road, and spend hours without seeing a car, while winding in and out of single track, double track and quiet logging roads with sweeping views.
The mountain views, the sounds of the rivers, the feel of vast timberland all around you slow down your mind even as your companions pick up the pace. The vast unspoiled mountain land is a big reason riders travel here.
Many loops start and finish at the Outdoors Center where not only new beginner and intermediate trails, but also steep and rock-laden singletrack is close at hand. The original singletrack that hugs the Carrabassett River is among the most popular.
By Diedre Flemming & Peter Smith