bigelow preserve public reserved land

Bigelow Preserve Public Reserved Land: Explore Maine Parks

Welcome to Bigelow Preserve Public Reserved Land, a scenic and expansive natural area located in western Maine. This vast expanse of over 36,000 acres is home to the entire Bigelow Range and offers a multitude of outdoor recreational opportunities. From hiking the Appalachian Trail to camping by the shores of Flagstaff Lake, Bigelow Preserve is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

As one of Maine’s premier parks, Bigelow Preserve provides visitors with breathtaking views, diverse wildlife, and access to pristine wilderness. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply seeking solace in nature, this protected public land has something for everyone.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bigelow Preserve is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts in Maine
  • Explore over 36,000 acres of scenic land, including the entire Bigelow Range
  • Enjoy hiking, camping, and wildlife spotting opportunities in the park
  • Take advantage of the convenient access to the Appalachian Trail
  • Plan your visit to experience the beauty of Maine’s wilderness at Bigelow Preserve

Essential Information for Visiting Bigelow Preserve

When planning a visit to Bigelow Preserve, it is important to be aware of essential information and park regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some key details to keep in mind:

Access and Directions:

Bigelow Preserve can be accessed via gravel roads off Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley or by the Long Falls Dam Road from North New Portland. For detailed directions, visit the official website of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. It is recommended to obtain the most up-to-date information before your trip.

Regulations and Conservation:

As a visitor to Bigelow Preserve, it is important to familiarize yourself with the regulations enforced by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. These regulations cover various aspects, including search-and-rescue operations, fishing and boating laws, and ATV and snowmobile laws. Help preserve the park’s ecosystem by preventing the spread of invasive species and following guidelines such as cleaning watercraft and using local firewood.

Communication and Safety:

While visiting Bigelow Preserve, it is essential to be prepared for limited cell phone coverage in the area. It is advisable to have a backup communication plan in case of emergencies. Additionally, observe wildlife from a safe distance and exercise caution when driving on area roads, especially during times of low light.

Regulations Key Points
Search-and-rescue operations Comply with any instructions from park rangers or emergency personnel
Fishing and boating laws Follow all regulations regarding fishing licenses and boating safety
ATV and snowmobile laws Adhere to the designated trails and respect the environment
Invasive species prevention Clean watercraft and use only local firewood to prevent the spread of invasive species
Wildlife observation Observe wildlife from a safe distance and do not feed or approach them
Safe driving Drive slowly on area roads, especially during low light conditions

Park Highlights and Activities at Bigelow Preserve

Park Highlights

If you’re a fan of outdoor adventure, Bigelow Preserve offers a wide range of activities to satisfy your cravings for exploration. From hiking to camping and wildlife spotting, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful Maine park.

Hiking Trails for Every Skill Level

One of the main highlights of Bigelow Preserve is its extensive hiking trail network. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, there are trails suited to your skill level. The park is home to a section of the famous Appalachian Trail, offering both one-day and multi-day hikes with breathtaking views along the way. The Fire Warden’s Trail, Appalachian Trail, and Horns Pond Trail are popular day-hiking loops that take you to scenic vistas and landmarks like Old Man’s Head.

Camp in the Heart of Nature

Camping enthusiasts will love the camping options at Bigelow Preserve. With 91 campsites, including lean-tos and group sites, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Wake up to the sounds of birds chirping and enjoy the serenity of your surroundings. Just remember to secure food properly to avoid attracting wildlife, and be sure to follow all camping regulations to help preserve the park’s ecosystem.

Explore the Water

If you’re a fan of water-based activities, Bigelow Preserve has you covered. The park offers boat launches for both trailers and hand-carry boats, giving you easy access to the stunning Flagstaff Lake. Spend your days fishing, kayaking, or simply enjoying the serene beauty of the lake. Just make sure to follow all fishing and boating laws enforced by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Hiking Trails Camping Options Water-based Activities
Appalachian Trail 91 campsites Boat launches for trailers and hand-carry boats
Fire Warden’s Trail Lean-tos and group sites Fishing, kayaking, and more
Horns Pond Trail Permits required for some areas

Accommodations and Exploring the Area

Exploring Bigelow Preserve

When visiting Bigelow Preserve, there are various accommodation options available to suit different preferences. One option is tent camping at designated campsites within the preserve. These campsites provide a rustic and immersive experience in the heart of the Maine wilderness. Alternatively, visitors can choose to stay at the nearby Maine Huts & Trails system, which offers additional trails and facilities for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

For those looking to explore beyond Bigelow Preserve, there are several nearby parks and trails worth visiting. One such destination is Rangeley Lake State Park, located in close proximity to Bigelow Preserve. This park is known for its trout and salmon fishing opportunities, as well as its stunning natural scenery.

Another nearby destination is the Chain of Ponds, offering lake shore camping and a chance to immerse oneself in the tranquility of nature. Holeb Public Lands is also worth exploring, with its canoeing opportunities and abundant wildlife for visitors to enjoy. These nearby destinations provide additional opportunities for outdoor adventure and exploration.

“Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature at the Chain of Ponds and enjoy the abundance of wildlife at Holeb Public Lands.”

Table: Nearby Parks and Trails

Park or Trail Features
Rangeley Lake State Park Trout and salmon fishing, scenic views
Chain of Ponds Lake shore camping, peaceful atmosphere
Holeb Public Lands Canoeing opportunities, wildlife watching

Services and Facilities at Bigelow Preserve

Bigelow Preserve Boat Launch

When visiting Bigelow Preserve, you can take advantage of various services and facilities to enhance your outdoor experience. Whether you’re looking to explore the Appalachian Trail, camp under the stars, or try your hand at recreational activities, Bigelow Preserve has you covered.

Appalachian Trail Access

One of the main highlights of Bigelow Preserve is its access to the famous Appalachian Trail. As part of the Maine section of the trail, hikers can embark on breathtaking adventures through the rugged terrain and scenic vistas that the trail offers. With its connection to the Appalachian Trail, Bigelow Preserve is a must-visit destination for avid hikers and nature enthusiasts.

In addition to the Appalachian Trail, the preserve also features classic ridgeline trails and trail connections to the Maine Huts & Trails system. These trails provide opportunities for further exploration and outdoor activities, such as mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing.

Camping and Boat Launches

For those looking to spend the night in the great outdoors, Bigelow Preserve offers 91 campsites, including lean-tos and group sites. These campsites are equipped with designated fire rings, allowing you to enjoy cozy campfires during your stay. Please note that some sites may require permits, so be sure to check the map for specific details.

If you’re interested in water-based recreation, Bigelow Preserve provides boat launches for both trailers and hand-carry boats. These launches grant access to Flagstaff Lake, where you can indulge in fishing or other water activities. Whether you’re casting your line for a catch or simply enjoying a peaceful boat ride, Flagstaff Lake offers a serene setting for outdoor enthusiasts.

In conclusion, Bigelow Preserve offers a range of services and facilities to enhance your outdoor adventure. From access to the Appalachian Trail and interconnected trails, to camping opportunities and boat launches, the preserve caters to various recreational interests. So, pack your gear and make the most of your visit to Bigelow Preserve, where unforgettable experiences await in the heart of Maine’s wilderness.


As an outdoor adventure enthusiast, I can confidently say that the Maine wilderness offers some of the most incredible experiences, and Bigelow Preserve Public Reserved Land is no exception. With its vast and breathtaking landscapes, this protected area is a haven for those seeking to immerse themselves in nature.

For those with a taste for hiking, the Bigelow Range and its surrounding trails, including the famous Appalachian Trail, provide endless opportunities for exploration. Whether you prefer a challenging multi-day trek or a leisurely day hike, the scenic vistas and diverse wildlife will leave you in awe.

Camping at Bigelow Preserve is an experience like no other. Pitching your tent by the lakeside of Flagstaff Lake allows you to wake up to the sounds of nature and enjoy tranquil evenings under the starry sky. And if water-based activities are your passion, the boat launches provide easy access for fishing or simply enjoying a scenic paddle.

So, if you’re ready to embark on an unforgettable outdoor adventure in the heart of the Maine wilderness, plan your visit to Bigelow Preserve. Immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of this pristine landscape, and let the wonders of nature rejuvenate your soul.


Where is Bigelow Preserve located?

Bigelow Preserve is located in western Maine, just east of Stratton, about 40 miles north of Farmington.

What is the size of Bigelow Preserve?

Bigelow Preserve encompasses over 36,000 acres of public land and includes the entire Bigelow Range.

How can I access Bigelow Preserve?

Directions to access Bigelow Preserve can be obtained from the Maine Department of Parks and Lands website.

Who manages Bigelow Preserve?

Bigelow Preserve is managed by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, which provides information on all Maine parks and lands sites.

What are the available camping options at Bigelow Preserve?

Bigelow Preserve offers 91 campsites, including lean-tos and group sites, with designated fire rings. Some sites may require permits, so check the map for details.

Can I go fishing at Bigelow Preserve?

Yes, there are boat launches available for trailers and hand-carry boats, providing access to Flagstaff Lake for fishing and water-based recreation.

Is there wildlife at Bigelow Preserve?

Yes, wildlife such as moose and bears are abundant in the area. Visitors should observe them from a safe distance and secure food when camping.

Are there accommodations near Bigelow Preserve?

Accommodations for visiting Bigelow Preserve include tent camping at designated campsites or staying at nearby Maine Huts & Trails system, which offers additional trails and facilities.

What are the nearby destinations to Bigelow Preserve?

Nearby destinations include Rangeley Lake State Park, Chain of Ponds, and Holeb Public Lands, each offering unique recreational opportunities.

Are there services and facilities at Bigelow Preserve?

Yes, Bigelow Preserve offers access to the Appalachian Trail and classic ridgeline trails, as well as trail connections to the Maine Huts & Trails system. There are also boat launches and camping facilities available.

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