Crisp air, superb trails, and relatively little traffic make Rangeley a runner’s paradise.
Rangeley is a great destination for runners of all styles and experience levels. If you’re training for a race, look no further for the ultimate hill work. If you like scenery, you’ll enjoy stunning views that you can only reach by foot. If you’re a purist who craves the solitude of a trail all your own, you’ll find miles and miles of it. Running on a cool mountain morning is also great relief from the mugginess of an East Coast summer.
Road runners can enjoy rolling hills, stunning views, and relatively little vehicle traffic. (There are no traffic lights in Rangeley – we don’t need them.)
The 3.6-mile loop around Haley Pond is a flat, pleasant run that starts and ends in downtown Rangeley. Half of the loop is on a dirt road that circles behind the pond, through the lands of the Maine Forestry Museum. Starting on Main Street, run the length of Depot Street, turn left onto Rt. 16, another left onto Pleasant Street, and you’re back to Main.
Another popular run is the 9-mile loop around Bald Mountain. From the village of Oquossoc, run south on Rt. 17, along the western shore of Rangeley Lake. Take Bemis Road and Herbie Welch Road, to connect with Bald Mountain Road, which hugs the eastern shore of Mooselookmeguntic Lake. Turning right onto Carry Road completes the loop.
Off-road runners love Rangeley’s endless trail network and the Appalachian Trail, which starts about ten miles from downtown. Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust and the Rangeley Lakes Trails Centers oversee 70 miles of recreational trails, all of which are catalogued on MaineTrailFinder.com.
The Rangeley region also has about 70 miles of ATV trails that are open to the public. The size of this network means many sections are lightly used. If you avoid peak days, you often have the trail to yourself. Weekday mornings are perfect. ATV riders are generally courteous and slow down when they spot you. ATV trails maps are available at Rev-It-Up Sport Shop, Rangeley Chamber of Commerce, Lakeside Convenience, and Boss Power Equipment.
The Sugarloaf Marathon, Maine’s oldest continuously running marathon, takes place every May. It follows the stunning Carabassett River Valley for unparalleled race views. The Rangeley Fitness Center organizes shorter runs, such as the annual Stars and Stripes 5K or 10K on July 4, and is a great source of information about other running events.
Good to know
There are a few unique aspects to running in the western Maine mountains for which you should be prepared.
Moose: Don’t be surprised to see a moose or two while you’re out there, or hear what sounds like a dinosaur crashing through trees because you spooked one. They’re generally harmless, but give them space if possible and never get between a moose and her calf.
Shoulders: In Western Maine, most roads near downtown areas have adequate shoulders, but check your route ahead of time. Outlying roads may be narrow, and getting passed by a logging truck is sure to quicken your pulse.
Bugs: They’re a fact of life in Maine. In May and June, black flies provide good motivation to keep those feet turning. Mosquitoes show up by July. Both are easily deterred by insect repellent. The true runner’s nemesis is the tenacious mid- to late-summer deer flies. Click here for “9 Ways to Repel Deer Flies.”