A.T. CommunitiesTM
A.T. CommunitiesTM
Rangeley / Maine


By Linda Dexter

Rangeley is the perfect place to hear the loons calling across open waters on warm summer evenings or to snuggle up in a cabin during snowy winters. Situated on the shores of Rangeley Lake and nestled in the heart of the vast Rangeley Lakes region, Rangeley is full of New England charm and natural beauty. Ten of the fourteen 4,000-footers in Maine are located in the Rangeley area known as the High Peaks Region. In addition to high peaks, a chain of lakes connects over a thousand square miles of non-stop scenic beauty. Nine miles from the A.T. crossing, Rangeley is an important stop along the Appalachian Trail.

Noted for its outdoor recreation opportunities, Rangeley hosts thousands of visitors a year. Hiking, paddling, camping, and fishing are the traditional summer activities. And an abundance of snow in winter provides opportunities for skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. In the middle of town on frozen Haley Pond, ice-skating, pond hockey, curling, and ice fishing are enjoyed by people of all ages. Fat biking, birding, and stargazing are also growing in popularity year-round because of the vast natural resources of the area. If you’re looking for dark skies, this is the place. In fact, Rangeley is currently in the process of getting an official “dark night sky” designation from the International Dark-Sky Association.

Local organizations, such as the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, High Peaks Alliance, Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, and Maine A.T. Land Trust work continuously to protect land and create trails for public use in the area. More than 10,000 acres have been protected over the years to ensure that the Rangeley region maintains its unique character.

Seven miles from downtown Rangeley is the quaint village of Oquossoc in between Rangeley and the Mooselookmeguntic Lake. Not far from Oquossoc is an iconic Maine overlook — Height of Land — where the A.T. crosses again in this incredibly scenic stretch of the Trail. No matter what your taste, Rangeley is a beautiful recreation destination that will keep you active and entertained for your entire visit.

Piazza Rock Scenery – By Laurri Dienier
Appalachian Trail Community logo
From top: Milky Way over blooming lupines in the Saddleback Ski Area – By Kyle Haley; Piazza Rock – By Laurri Dienier/ photos courtesy of the Rangeley Chamber of Commerce
hike the trail

Take a vigorous (but not difficult) hike along the 13-mile stretch of the A.T. between trailheads on Routes 17 and 4. Or, if you’re not up for an all-day hike, follow the Trail from the Route 4 trailhead, north to Piazza Rock. This popular, moderate hike is a nice introduction to the outdoors and a good all-day outing for families and children. Everyone will be awed by the Piazza (covered porch) Rock — a giant slab of granite perched to provide shelter and be scrambled upon. Further exploring brings you to a series of caving trails that may cool you down with their summer ice storage. The Trailhead is located south on Route 4 approximately nine miles from downtown Rangeley. This section of the Appalachian Trail is 1.8 miles one way. There are a few steep ascents and descents aided by rock or wooden steps.

Height of Land – By Tom McMahon / photo courtesy of the Rangeley Chamber of Commerce
Height of Land – By Tom McMahon / photo courtesy of the Rangeley Chamber of Commerce
Take in the Town

Visit the library in a historic stone building or take in any one of the four museums displaying our diverse history of trout fishing, logging, and science. Moose Alley Rock, Roll and Bowl provides great live music, a bowling, arcade and table games. And the Lakeside Theater hosts first-run movies and live performances.

Rangeley recently celebrated its Eighth Annual Trail Town Festival, held on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Exhibits displaying information about the A.T. and the lands surrounding it are manned by people who are happy to educate you and maybe teach you a trick or two if you get lost in the woods, like using a bottle cap or an acorn for a whistle. Several games with an A.T. theme can be enjoyed by everyone. This year’s event featured a corn hole game with Katahdin and Springer as the goal. Live music, food, vendors selling hand-crafted items, and our popular ice-cream eating contest all make for a day of fun for everyone.

Other festivals include: the annual Logging Parade and Festival in July where a live outdoor concert is hosted by the Rangeley Region Health and Wellness Center (past performers include Foreigner, Clint Black, The Steve Miller Band, The Beach Boys, and Credence Clearwater Revisited), Art in the Park — with local artists and craftsman — and the Maine Outdoor Film Festival in August. And the Rangeley Friends of the Arts have a full calendar of summer events including live performances, movies, concerts, art shows, and the annual street dance.

Satiate Your High Peaks Hunger

With 22 restaurants to choose from, including fine dining, a sports pub, pizza joint, and bistro, Rangeley offers a variety of food styles that will satisfy all tastes and budgets. New to the area’s epicurean scene are the Portage Tap House on the Carry Road in Oquossoc, which offers several craft brews from Maine and oven fired pizza, and Parkside and Main, where you can enjoy your meal on their outside deck with a lake view. And the Loon Lodge, an old inn and restaurant with a beautiful stone fireplace and pub, offers fine dining with a view of Rangeley Lake.

Stay a While

An overnight stay is Rangeley is easily accommodated by the many rentals available with private cabins, motels, and a beautiful, newly renovated historic downtown hotel. Relax in comfort at the historic Rangeley Inn and Tavern or stay lakeside at the Loon Lodge on Rangeley Lake. Or, if you prefer to sleep outdoors, try out Bald Mountain Camps on Mooselookmeguntic Lake. Whether you are looking for myriad choices for outdoor adventure or just peace and serenity, once you visit this “jewel of the western Maine mountains,” you’ll want to come back for more.

Find out more and plan your trip at: WildEast.org/Rangeley and rangeleymaine.com
Learn more about all 48 A.T. Communities at: appalachiantrail.org/ATcommunities