If you’re looking for a family guide to skiing the Maine Huts and Trails, you’ll love this article. While some skiers may flock to popular places like Whiteface Mountain in New York, Keystone Mountain in Colorado, or even the Swiss Alps, families who live near Maine will find an awesome escape right in the Carrabassett Valley. Not only will you have a chance to sharpen your cross-country skiing skills, but you can also enjoy stunning scenic views.
In this family guide to skiing the Maine Huts and Trails, I share tips I learned on my own adventure to Maine Huts and Trails to give you some pointers on visiting with kids. From accommodations to renting gear, how to get there, and more, keep reading to learn about some of the best cross-country ski trails in Maine for families!
What is Maine Huts & Trails?
Before you start planning a skiing adventure in Maine for families, let’s learn a little more about Maine Huts & Trails. This is a non-profit organization that aims to provide Western Maine’s Mountain Region with exciting backcountry trails and eco-lodges. Though it may not be the best choice for extremely young kids or beginner skiers, it’s a fantastic choice for skiing in Maine for families who are intermediate skiers and want a bit of a challenge. They own 4 huts (Flagstaff, Poplar, Grand Fall, and Stratton Huts) that are off-the-grid and offer 80 miles of trails. About 45 miles of these trails are groomed for cross-country skiing in Maine, ideal for families.
Accommodations for Families: The Maine Huts
At Maine Huts & Trails, the “Hut” isn’t just one hut. There are four well-maintained huts, sponsored by retailers like LLBEAN or New Balance. We stayed at Flagstaff Hut because it seems the most kid-friendly, and it’s only a 2-mile distance from the trailhead (Long Falls Dam Rd. Trailhead). Flagstaff Hut has one main hut with a great room, fireplace, and cozy reading area for dining, chatting, and relaxing. Hot showers, toilets, gear drying rooms, and kitchen are all located in the main hut. Sleeping quarters are located in separate huts, just a few steps away. Modeled after European huts, guests stay in shared bunk rooms with a variety of configurations.
As a family of 4, we had our own private sleeping quarter with 4 beds. One important pointer on our family guide to skiing the Maine Huts and Trails is to bring your own sleeping bags as bedding isn’t available.
For more places to stay in Maine, check out our list of the 8 Best Maine Hotels For Families!
How to Reach Maine Huts & Trails with Kids
To preserve the country feel of the place, guests can’t drive to the huts. Depending on which hut you choose to stay in, you’ll have to park your car at different trailheads and ski or hike to your hut. To get to Flagstaff Hut, we drove to the Long Falls Dam Rd trailhead, where we parked our car.
One tip we learned on our family guide to skiing the Maine Huts and Trails is don’t use Carriage Road to get to the Long Falls Dam Road. It’s very dangerous, as the road is narrow and not paved during the winter. Sometimes log truckers drive here and there’s simply not enough space for two cars heading in opposite directions. Make sure to read all safety materials by Maine Huts and Trails for families if you’re going to go there for your next outdoor adventure!
How to Get Around Maine Huts & Trails with Kids
Cross-country skiing at Maine Huts and Trails for families is simple. Since we stayed at the hut during the December holidays, it was a full-service stay with gear shuttles, breakfast, packed lunch, and dinner. We didn’t want to backpack our belongings, so we arranged for the Hut’s gear shuttle to pick up our bags. We simply dropped off our backpacks at a gear drop-off shed located at the trailhead (suitcases aren’t allowed, only backpacks with a maximum weight limit of 25 lbs). During the off-season (late March-June, Nov-early Dec), there are no meals included and no gear shuttles available. Guests are on their own for all food and gear needs, making the rates much lower.
Skiing at Maine Huts & Trails with Kids
After dropping off our backpacks with the gear shuttle, we skied to the Hut, which took about 1.5 hrs. If you have younger kids, it may take 2 hours, but it shouldn’t be more than that. Long Falls Dam Road Trailhead is especially convenient to reach with young kids since the path is flat. If you’re really worried, you can always practice first. We rented ski equipment at the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center and spent a few hours practicing first.
Looking back, however, I think we would have been fine without the practice. Since it was our first-time cross-country skiing in Maine, we considered taking lessons offered at the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center, but couldn’t due to timing reasons. Still, my kids, ages 7 and 10, were fine because they had watched YouTube videos a few days before our trip.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List For Families This Winter
Things to Do Off-the-Grid at Maine Huts & Trails (Besides Skiing)
What I really liked about taking this off-the-beaten-track skiing vacation in Maine is that families can be completely offline the entire time. So, when we weren’t cross-country skiing in Maine, we enjoyed some quality relaxation. For example, guests can’t charge their phones at the hut to conserve energy. There are no TVs and no computers – just the hut, nature, and other guests. At some point, you’ll end up talking to these other guests. Surprisingly, there were many families during our stay.
Meals are arranged by tables, so although you sit with your family, there’ll be new people to speak with as well. My kids loved learning how to play new card games from other children. Aside from the trails, there’s also nearby Flagstaff Lake. We had so much fun walking on the frozen lake and marveling at the beautiful nature, away from the sounds of cars and buses. Certainly, visiting Maine Huts and Trails with kids is a great opportunity to connect as a family!
What’s the Best Part About Visiting Maine Huts & Trails as a Family?
Of course, my kids enjoyed cross-country skiing at Maine Huts & Trails, since it’s ideal for families. I really appreciated the clean air and the quiet time for reflection while I was hiking in the snow. It’s also interesting to see the technology behind the huts. In the evening after dinner, guests can take a tour of the hut to learn more about the latest off-the-grid technology.
Obviously, I also appreciated the full-service amenities, which meant no cooking and cleaning for me. The food was very good – hearty and healthy is how I would describe it, using local ingredients when possible. The staff working at the hut were all very family-friendly. Several of the staff had worked for Camp Chewonki, which runs educational programs with an environmental focus for kids.
So, Would I Recommend it for Families?
So, would I recommend cross-country skiing at Maine Huts and Trails for families? If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure and some of the best cross-country ski trails in Maine for families, yes! It’s a nice way to get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy some fresh country air. And, if your family wants a more upscale experience, the huts are certainly a notch above a typical cabin or campground. However, be aware, they can smell a bit musty if you don’t air them out during the day. Overall, I felt good about the trip not only because it was fun and relaxing, but also because I feel good about supporting businesses that promote nature preservation.
RELATED ARTICLE: Best Ski Resorts With Snow Tubing Near NYC For Families
We hope you liked our Best Guide To Skiing The Maine Huts and Trails for Families by FLT Contributor Chia Chan! Whether you’ve never tried Nordic skiing or already feel like a pro, this cold-weather destination has something for everyone, including some of the best cross-country ski trails in Maine for families. Enjoy cross-country skiing in Maine with your kids!
Considering a Summer Visit to Maine? Here are the Best Places to Visit in Maine with Kids this Summer!
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision.
*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.
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