Rangeley is in the heart of moose country.
There are 76,000 moose in Maine (the most in the lower 48 states). With a little patience, there’s a good chance you’ll spot one. Here’s what to do and where to see moose near Rangeley.
Where to go
Head to the stretch of road locals call “Moose Alley” – Rt. 16 between Rangeley and Stratton. Other popular places are Rt. 17 south of the Height of Land or Rt. 16 between Oquossoc and Errol, New Hampshire.
Where to look
Gary Langille, president of the Rangeley guides association and owner of Mooselook Guided Adventures, says to look for areas that were logged a few years ago and now have young trees. Moose love to eat the tender leaves and twigs. He adds, “In early spring, you see them by the side of road licking up salt from the winter. As it warms up, you see them in the lakes and ponds looking for vegetation. They also seek out mud hollows to roll and cover themselves with mud to wade off black flies and mosquitoes.”
When to go
Dusk and dawn are the best times of day to spot moose. Go rain or shine – “The weather doesn’t affect a thing,” Langille says. This means moose spotting is a great rainy-day activity.
“Do NOT go near, or get between, a moose and their calf,” says Langille. “They are very protective. They can run 35 mph and they can swim 6 mph. Even in a canoe, you can’t paddle that fast. You will never outrun them. And don’t approach them in the rutting [mating] season. It’s just never smart to get too close to try to take a picture.” Also, please keep dogs leashed.
It’s important to use caution when driving in this area, especially at night. Moose are difficult to see on the road and don’t dart away like deer. They have poor eyesight and are not scared of cars.
Check out these moose facts from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. For a guided moose-spotting adventure, contact Mooselook Guided Adventures (driving and walking excursions) or Rangeley Lakes Cruises (boat and kayak excursions).