GHOST TRAINS OF THE ALLAGASH
The snowstorms are coming and the trails are groomed- now it’s time for another exciting Maine outdoor adventure! One of Maine’s most unique snowmobile destinations is the abandoned steam locomotives of the Eagle Lake and West Branch Railroad. The locomotives are located on a plot of land between the shores of Eagle Lake and Chamberlain Lake in Piscataquis County. The journey to see the trains by snowmobile offers views of some of Maine’s most beautiful backcountry, Mt. Katahdin, and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Wildlife sightings including bald eagles, deer and moose are common in this area.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
The trek out and back to visit the abandoned trains takes a day. There is a vast network of snowmobile trails in this region which are maintained by Great Northern Snowmobile Club (formerly the Chesuncook Snowmobile Club). Visit them online for current snow and trail reports. There are several different places you can leave from to visit the abandoned locomotives, including Millinocket, Greenville, or Kokadjo Village.
Follow ITS 86/85 to Grant Brook Road to Third Debsconeag Lake. Cross the lake then follow the trail across Rainbow Lake and Chesuncook Pond until you reach the southern end of Chesuncook Lake. Follow the western shore of the lake until you reach Chesuncook Village. At the village, stop at the Chesuncook Lake House to fuel up and for the most up-to-date trail directions. Directions can change frequently due to logging operations in the area. From the Chesuncook Lake House the trains are an additional 21 miles away.
From Greenville and Kokadjo:
Ride up Moosehead Lake to Kineo, then follow the directions below. Another option from Greenville is to follow the trail to Kokadjo to the Moosehead Loop/Route 66 and follow the directions below.
From Rockwood (Mt. Kineo region):
Follow the Moosehead Loop/Route 66 to the Ragged Lake Trail. Go east 4.3 miles then north on the Maxfield Brook Trail until you reach the Golden Road. From the Golden Road go north on Pine Stream Trail 14 miles to Chesuncook Village. At the village, stop at the Chesuncook Lake House to fuel up and for the most up-to-date trail directions. Directions can change frequently due to logging operations in the area. From the Chesuncook Lake House the trains are an additional 21 miles away.
REMEMBER WHAT YOUR MOM USED TO SAY
“Be careful!” Mom was right. The Northern Maine Woods provide all sorts of exciting outdoor recreation opportunities, but there are a few things to keep in mind when visiting this area to ensure safety. This region of the state is a very remote area. If you run into trouble, nearby help is hard to find, and your cellphone is as useless as your credit card in the woods. Travel with at least one other snowmobile, and bring enough supplies to build a fire and make a shelter in the event you become lost or stranded. Let others know where you will be going and when you plan to be back. Find out in advance if the streams, rivers, ponds and lakes are safe to cross. You can do this by talking to locals, or by contacting area snowmobile clubs.
For more information about trail and ice conditions contact:
- Allagash Wilderness Waterway – Information about lakes and ponds and ice thickness.
- Great Northern Snowmobile Club – Maintains an extensive network of trails in the Chesuncook region including ITS86 west of Abol Bridge to the Baxter State Park Road, Ragged Lake Trail from Penobscot Pond to Moosehead Trail Loop, Farrar Mountain Trail, Black Pond Trail, trails to Mud Pond, trails to the trains, and to Libby Camps and Shin Pond trail system.
- Moosehead Riders – Maintaining trails in the Moosehead Lake region.
- JoMary Riders Snowmobile Club – Maintaining trails in the JoMary and Katahdin regions.
- Northern Timber Cruisers – Maintaining trails in the Millinocket region including ITS 81, 83, 85 and 86.
- Twin Pines Snowmobile Club – Maintaining trails in the Millinocket and Katahdin regions.
- Maine Snowmobile Association – List of all Maine snowmobile clubs and contact information.