Why you should vacation at Moosehead Lake

Take an adventure to a deep, cold water lake, which is the largest mountain lake in the eastern United States. Moosehead Lake is the second largest lake in New England, situated in the Longfellow Mountains in Northwestern Maine, sitting at an elevation of 1,029 feet. Surrounded by wilderness, solitude, and more moose than people, this lake region is the perfect vacation for adventurers looking for peace in the untouched nature.

Moose outnumber people 3 to 1 in the Moosehead Lake Region, and with so much to do outside, you’re bound to see one of the beautiful creatures that the lake is named after. The lake is filled with year-round activities, including camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, ice fishing, and snowshoeing. The lake itself is 75,000 acres and 40 miles long, and 12 miles wide! 

Moosehead Lake is a popular destination in Maine that welcomes thousands of visitors to the region annually. Several towns in the area feature restaurants, accommodations, and recreational activities, including Rockwood, Greenville, Okoadjo, Lily Bay, Beaver Cove, Monson, and Abbot.

With so much to do here during all four seasons, outdoor lovers are in for a treat while visiting. You can’t go wrong with choosing Moosehead Lake and connected state parks for your next adventure.

Mount Kineo

This 800-foot mountain is located in the middle of Moosehead Lake. Once used as a Native American destination to acquire rhyolite rock to make arrowheads, Henry David Thoreau and Teddy Roosevelt even visited due to their interest in the areas history. 

In order to reach the area, you need to take a boat to get to the trailhead. If you don’t have a boat of your own, you can take a shuttle from the Rockwood town boat launch. The shuttle is operated by the Mount Kineo Golf Course, which operates on the island, which is the second oldest in New England.  If you’re interested in golfing, 9 hopes start at $32.

The 3.4-mile loop at Mount Kineo includes four different trails that all lead to a fire tower that used to be used by the Maine Forest Service. The face of Mount Kineo features 700-foot cliffs but has gentle slopes on the northwest and a steep southeast. It was initially formed by a mile-thick ice sheet that moved across the region. The four trails that Mount Kineo features are as follows:

  • Indian Trail (.9 miles, moderate): The shortest trail to the tower, but it climbs steeply. This trail provides the best view!
  • Bridle Trail (1.1 miles, easy): This is the original fire warden trail and is much less steep. It begins along the carriage trail, walks along maple and birch trees, and meets with the Indian Trail right before the summit.
  • Carriage Trail (2.2 miles, easy): This trail walks parallel with the peninsula’s western shore and follows the water to Hardscrabble point.
  • North Trail (1.9 miles, moderate): This trail offers a view of the eastern peninsula and rises steeply up the southeastern cliffs.

All of the hikes offer fantastic views of Moosehead Lake and provide unbelievable access to nature as it walks through maple, birch, and other hardwood forests.

Lily Bay State Park MAINE

Maine road in fall
Autumn road in Maine, USA.

Lily Bay State Park is located 9 miles north of Greenville, Maine, and features an abundance of year-round activities for your next vacation. This state park is located directly on Moosehead Lake and features 925 acres of protected land. Animals throughout the park include birds, deer, ducks, moose, foxes, eagles, loons, otters, and more. Recreational activities and camping are the main draw to the State Park.


Moosehead Lake is actually a prime birding location with nearly every type of warbler of the north woods found here. Even more rare birds like the black-backed woodpecker, spruce grouse, boreal chickadee, gray jack, and white-winged crossbill can be seen in the woods. Bring your canoe or kayak to look for birds in the sky from the lake!

Boating and Camping

Lake outdoor Maine
Boating on Lake Recreational Place. Scenic Lake and the Boat.

Boating on Moosehead Lake is a very popular adventure activity at Lily Bay State Park, and boat launches are available at Dunn Point and Roswell Cove. Motorized and non-motorized boats are allowed to launch off from here.

In addition to a boat launch, Lily Bay State Park has an abundance of camping sites available, split between two campgrounds – Dunn Point and Rowell Cove. Both campgrounds feature showers, boat launches, recycling, showers, playgrounds, restrooms, and firewood available. 

In terms of camping, there are 90 walk-in camping sites and reservable campsites that can accommodate campers ranging from small, pop-up campers to a greater than 35′ trailer for those looking to vacation here. There is no electrical service available at any campsites, making it the perfect excuse to reconnect with nature and remain off-grid. Several of the campsites are located on the waterfront of Moosehead Lake.


Lily Bay State Park which connects to Moosehead Lake, also features a trail system that allows visitors to enjoy a peaceful walk along the lake’s edge. The 1.3 mile Dunn Point Trail is an easy, flat trail along the shore that features wildlife spotting and mixed growth forest that hikers can enjoy year-round. In the winter, this trail is used by cross-country skiers.

In addition to the Dunn Point Trail, the .8 mile Rowell Cove Trail offers an alternative destination. This trail offers several spots to sit on the shore of Moosehead Lake to enjoy the view and relax. There are also several geological formations to view along this trail.

In addition to enjoying the scenery, many visitors have reported seeing wildlife such as fox, white-tailed deer, and moose while on their journey. Make sure to bring your camera!


Lily Bay State Park is the best area at Moosehead Lake to swim in the water. The State Park offers a beach for visitors to swim at, though this activity should undoubtedly be saved for the warmer months when the water is warm.

Fishing & Ice Fishing

Fishing man at the lake. Fishing from a boat,

Whether you take the boat launch from Lily Bay State Park and fish in Moosehead Lake or take a boat from the Moose River in the village of Rockwood, Flyfishing is a popular spring and summer activity in the Moosehead Lake Region. There are several pools, pocket waters, and rapids to fly fish at where you can find Brook Trout, Landlocked Salmon, and Smallmouth Bass. Shallow water fishing is also available in Lily Bay and Spencer Bay throughout the summer.

Moosehead Lake is also a popular vacation destination in the winter for Ice Fishing. Fishermen flock to the area to seek brook trout, cusk, salmon, and togue under the frozen water of Moosehead Lake. The area behind Mount Kineo is a popular location for rough weather ice fishing during the winter. This is also where the deepest water in Moosehead Lake is located. Don’t forget to bring a portable ice shack before you arrive as the weather and the winds are unpredictable. Please note that before February 15th, all salmon caught on Moosehead Lake must be released without removing them from the water. Also, make sure that you have your up-to-date fishing license and fishing regulation book.


Hunting outdoor
Hunters with hunting equipment going away through rural forest at sunrise

For those that are looking for some extra outdoor adventure, the Moosehead Lake area features many hunting opportunities. With much of the seasons taking place in the fall and spring, visitors can hunt for deer, bear, moose, wild turkey, migratory birds, and other species. Specific rules and permits apply.

ATV Trails

Riding ATV outdoor
Two atv riders race in forest, front view.

A group of local ATV trail volunteers maintains well-marked trails through the region that allow for people to have a full-day adventure exploring the region on trails. Several local businesses also rent ATV’s to visitors. You can ride the trails from Greenville to The Forks, Rockwood and on to Kokadjo if you’d like. Make sure you stay on the marked trails while riding. Keep your eyes open as you might spot a moose or two while you’re riding!


Woman in a motor sled race

There is a lengthy snowmobiling trail called the Moosehead Trail that offers 160 miles of scenic riding. The trail combines with the Main Interconnected Trail System for frequent riders who want to continue through the state or go further into to Canada. The Moosehead Trail features several stops for coffee, food, and gas along your journey. Make sure you stay safe and check the Main Snowmobile Association website, which maintains trail condition reports so snowmobilers are aware of the safety of ice on ponds and lakes.

In Closing

Moosehead Lake sunset

Moosehead Lake has so much to offer visitors when it comes to outdoor adventures for their next vacation. Whether you are hoping for a laid-back camping holiday with swimming and a hike, or you want to ice fish and snowmobile, this area has that to offer and more. Visitors could spend a week or more at this fantastic location and fill each day with a different activity or a different hike and still find more exploring to do. Don’t forget to look for moose while you’re here! You could even join a moose safari in town if that’s of interest.

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