In world terms Moosehead Lake may not be a massive body of water, but it is definitely the largest lake in the state of Maine, and it is also the largest lake east of the Mississippi, and taken together they are facts that are worth celebrating.
What facts don’t describe is the true beauty of the lake, which is dotted with many islands and practically surrounded by magnificent forests. Moosehead Lake is located on the cusp of Maine’s North Woods which is the largest remaining undeveloped forest in the Eastern United States.
Although the lake is a known moose refuge, with large populations roaming the forests, the name actually derives its name because from the air it does look like a large moose head, complete with antlers.
The lake covers an area of approximately 40 by 10 miles (64 by 16 kilometres) and it is the headwaters for the majestic Kennebec River.
Moosehead Lake has long been a popular tourist destination. More than a century ago, fashionable visitors arrived by train and summered at the grand hotels on the shores of Moosehead Lake’s clear blue waters to escape the heat, noise and crowds of city life. The lake was first popularised by the writer Henry David Thoreau who loved its pristine wilderness, and even nearby resident Stephen King has used the lake as inspiration for his stories.
Although the lake has about 80 islands, the largest is Sugar Island, which covers an area of about 5,000 acres. Lily Bay State Park is used as a way to get to the Island and there are about a dozen or so camps on the Island today where campers continue to spend their. Part of the Island is covered by State Conservation Land. On the Northeast shore, the state keeps three single-party rustic campsites for the public.
Moosehead Lake is also part of the Appalachian Trail. One popular trail is known as the 100-Mile Wilderness Hike. This hike brings you through Maine from Monson to Abol Bridge in Millinocket. Just short of 100 miles, this trail is known as the most remote section of the Appalachian Trail. It is maintained by the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and is also part of the National Park System.
The Moosehead Lake region offers visitors year round fun in the outdoors. One of the best ways to experience the lake is from the water, and apart from sailing or paddling yourself, one great trip is on the Katahdin, a steamship that is operated The Moosehead Marine Museum in downtown Greenville. Affectionately known as “The Kate”. This steamship was built in 1914 by Bath Iron Works, and was one of five ships that provided transportation services on Moosehead Lake. The views of Moose Mountain, the Spencer Mountains, and Mount Katahdin are quite breathtaking when seen from the upper deck of the ship.