Wind through the western mountains of Maine on the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway. Trail your way through richly wooded forests, brisk mountain streams, farm fields, and a chain of lakes and ponds. Nature is all around you on the Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway!
Start at Smalls Falls on Route 4 and pass through valleys and over hills before dropping into the village of Rangeley. From the shore of Rangeley Lake, which is the centerpiece for 112 interconnected lakes and ponds scattered throughout the region, continue along Route 17 to the Height of Land. Heading in a southerly direction, follow streams and canyons before giving way to the open fields and farms in the river valley. Along the way, the Byway passes through a region with over 40,000 acres of conserved public access lands offering scenic beauty and multi-season recreational opportunities.
The Rangeley Lakes Region, the Byway's namesake, was settled by a small number of hardy pioneers and woodsmen in the early 1800s. Rugged and remote, this region grew slowly, while sustaining about a dozen family farms and lumber mills throughout the first half of the century. In the 1860s, the small community began to change when fishermen from cities along the eastern seaboard discovered 10 to 12 pound brook trout swimming in the region's pristine waters. As word spread about the unparalleled fishing and the unspoiled beauty of the region, large numbers of sportsmen and their families began the annual trek to the region. Boarding trains, buckboards, and steamships, and accompanied by their servants and nannies, entire families flocked to the shores for three-month summer vacations. By 1925, the Rangeley Region had become a premier destination resort area that attracted visitors, as well as a host of US Presidents, from all corners of the nation.
Rangeley Village, Haley Pond, Rangeley Lake, and Maneskootuk Island
Today the region's cultural history and outstanding scenic, natural, and recreational resources offers local residents and visitors an array of activities that extend throughout the year. During the summer months, treat yourself to a host of festivals, concerts, and museums as well as boating, hiking, fishing, bicycling, and wildlife watching. When autumn paints the hillsides in red and gold, come enjoy leaf watching, hiking, and hunting in the crisp Maine air. A cup of fresh squeezed cider from the Apple Festival, a tour of the Wilhelm Reich Museum, or a drive along the bronzed Byway will round out your autumn day in Rangeley. Winter arrives early, cloaking the region in 12 feet of snow. Between Christmas fairs, concerts, and the annual "Snodeo" festival, join skiers, snowmobilers, and ice skaters and take to the slopes, tails, and lakes. Then, as temperatures rise and the days increase in length, spring ushers in beautiful wildflowers and majestic lupine, as well as the promise of unparalleled fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching.
PLACES TO VISIT
The Appalachian Trail crosses both Routes 4 and 17 and provides recreational access to the extensive trail system and many of the highest peaks in the area.
Height of Land
Height of Land offers beautiful westerly views of hundreds of square miles of lakes, mountains, and forests. It has been considered by some to be the most spectacular overlook in northern New England.
This lake is 16,300 acres in size and has outstanding fishing and scenery.
The Rangeley basin is the geological formation that made Rangeley Lake possible. The best site to view the basin is at the overlook on Route 4 at the Dallas Hill Road intersection and in Rangeley Village park.
Rangeley Historical Society
This museum covers the people and popular activities of Rangeley's past and present.
Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum
The Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum displays equipment, artifacts, photos, and historic tape recordings of people in the logging profession.
The river is one of the most protected in the state. This is because of its outstanding scenic, natural, and recreational qualities.
Wilhelm Reich Museum
Natural scientist Wilhelm Reich's home and laboratory is both a nature preserve and a museum dedicated to the physician-scientist.
From Auburn: Take Route 4 north to Livermore. Follow Route 108 north to Rumford. Cross the Androscoggin River to Mexico. Turn north on Route 2 to Route 17 North. The nationally designated Byway begins just north of the city of Byron.
35.6 miles / 57.0 km
Time to Allow:
Allow approximately 2.5 hours to tour this Byway.
There are no fees.