Maine is a great place for camping and overlanding, with plenty of opportunities for dispersed camping (free camping on public lands) in its many defined wilderness areas. Here are some regions that offer great potential for dispersed camping in Maine:
We are going to start in the Maine North Woods, which refers to the northern half of the state. It is a vast area of forests, lakes, and mountains in northern Maine, including the Baxter State Park, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and the Moosehead Lake region.
1. Moosehead Lake Region - This is a beautiful region located in northern Maine, and it offers many opportunities for dispersed camping. Both sides of the lake, which are commonly referred to as the Rockwood side and the Kokadjo side, have some amazing free waterfront campsites on logging roads. Your best reference in this area would be your Maine Gazetteer.
2. Allagash Region - The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a 92-mile-long river corridor that offers some of the best canoeing and camping opportunities in Maine. The river is surrounded by dense forests and provides access to many remote campsites. This area is very wild and remote. You will need to be well versed in wilderness safety and we recommend being equipped with a satellite phone and CB radio (to help monitor movement of logging trucks). To camp in this area, you will need to obtain a permit from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Just getting to this region along route 11 there are plenty of available wilderness ares to explore. Watch for Moose on the roadway!
3. Baxter State Park - Baxter State Park is a wilderness park located in north-central Maine, and it offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the state. The park has many backcountry campsites, including some remote sites that can only be reached by hiking. To camp in the park, you will need to obtain a permit from the park office, and you will need to follow strict Leave No Trace principles. When dispersed camping in these regions, it's important to be prepared for the wilderness and to follow all regulations and guidelines for the specific area you are camping in.
We will now shift our focus to other regions south of Maine North Woods!
4. The Down East region: This area of Maine includes the Acadia National Park and north towards the Atlantic Canadian border. We regularly recommend skipping the lines in high tourist season at Acadia national park and heading north. There are some amazing public lands and many opportunities for dispersed camping in the surrounding inland forests as well as coastal public lands. Some of these lands include Culter Land Reserve, Machias River Corridor, Spring River Lake, and Cobscook.
The Western Mountains: This region includes the White Mountains of New Hampshire up in to the Kennebec River Valley, which offer excellent opportunities for dispersed camping in the forests and along the many rivers and streams.
Some great locations in the Western Mountains include:
5. Rangeley Lakes Region - This region is located in western Maine and is known for its beautiful lakes and mountains. There are many opportunities for dispersed camping in this area, including on public lands such as the Rangeley Lakes Public Reserved Land, which has several campsites along the shore of the lake, and the Bigelow Preserve, which has backcountry campsites.
6. Kennebec Valley Region - This region is located in central Maine and is known for its rivers and forests. There are many opportunities for dispersed camping in this area, including on public lands such as the Kennebec Highlands Public Reserved Land, which has several campsites along the trail system, and the Dead River Public Reserved Land, which has backcountry campsites.
To find specific campsites for dispersed camping, there are several resources you can use:
1. Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands: The Bureau manages many state parks and public lands that offer camping opportunities. You can visit their website or contact them directly for information on specific camping locations and regulations.
2. Maine Appalachian Trail Club: The club maintains many campsites and shelters along the Appalachian Trail in Maine, which can be used for dispersed camping.
3. Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry: This department manages many public lands in Maine, and can provide information on camping regulations and permits.
4. Maine Atlas and Gazetteer: This is a detailed map book that shows roads, trails, and public lands in Maine, and can be a valuable resource for finding dispersed camping locations.
Remember to always practice Leave No Trace principles when dispersed camping, and please try to be aware of and follow all regulations and guidelines for the specific area you are camping in! for