Are dogs allowed at the Huts or on the trails?
The humans behind Maine Huts & Trails love dogs! We understand how much our four-legged friends round out our experiences. There is a 'but' here - but, we hope you understand we cannot accommodate pets. When it comes to pets, please know we have given every question and instance careful consideration, including:
The health, safety, and comfort of all of our guests
State health codes prohibit pets, recognizing allowances for service animals, in commercial food service establishments
The well-being of wildlife. Maine Huts & Trails operates under a state LUPC permit and landowner leases that prohibit domestic animals from adversely impacting wildlife.
The well-being of your pet in the backcountry
To meet these ends:
Pets are NOT allowed inside the Huts.
Dogs are not allowed on the trails from December 1 through April 14 to respect and protect winter wildlife, and to preserve the groomed trail surface for skiers.
Dogs are permitted on the trails from April 15th until November 30th, and must be on a leash or under voice command at all times. Be sure your dog is safe during hunting season by providing a blaze orange bandana or vest.
TO HELP MAINTAIN A GREAT EXPERIENCE FOR EVERYONE ENJOYING THE TRAILS, PLEASE PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG!
Are food, beer, and wine available for purchase during self-service season?
Food, beer, wine, and baked goods are only available during full-service season. There is nothing for sale at the huts during self-service season. If the mood strikes, the caretaker might decide to bake something for the guests, and accept small donations in return.
Are the Huts staffed during self-service season?
The huts are staffed by volunteer caretakers during self-service season. Caretakers live at the huts for at least two weeks at a time, and are responsible for keeping the energy systems running.
Can I book my stay online?
Please know we are approaching our overnight rentals a little differently this year, we are renting by the bunk room instead of by the bunk, which is how we used to do things. Another part of our new way forward is striking a balance between the human touch and on-line ease in our reservation process. We know we can't make our reservation process fully automatic, nor would we ever want to. At the same time, we are growing our capacities back to greater strength and we are not in a place where we can have a lot of wonderful colleagues answering the phones. Our online reservation process will get you started. MH&T staff are working hard to finalize your reservation and help make your experience with us truly wonderful.
This link will take you to the start of the reservation process, in which you will be asked two starting questions:
What kind of trip experience are you looking for, Full Service or Self Service?
Would you like to visit one hut for one night, one hut for multiple nights, or a multi-night trip to two or three huts?
From there the reservation process will ask you how many people are in your party and the dates of interest for your trip.
Reservations can also be initiated by leaving a message for our reservations team at (207) 265-2400 or emailing email@example.com.
Please be prepared to leave your name, contact information, and the trip type and dates you are interested in.
Can I drive to the Huts?
No. To preserve our backcountry feel, we do not allow vehicles to drive right to the Huts. Poplar and Flagstaff Huts are the most easily accessed, just two miles or less from the nearest trailhead.
Click here for more infomation about transportation.
Can you accommodate guests with food allergies or dietary restrictions?
Of course! During full-service seasons (when meals are included), we are happy to provide vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or allergen-free meals as long as this is requested at the time of booking. Allergies and/or dietary restrictions cannot be accommodated after you arrive at a Hut. We must know in advance, so please be sure to mention any dietary restrictions when you make your reservation. If you or someone in your group did not specify allergy or dietary requirements at the time of booking, please call (207) 265-2400 ASAP to have this added to your reservation.
Do the Huts have electricity or cell service?
All the Huts have electricity. We create all our own power using renewable energy systems. There are cell phone boosters that allow for emergency phone calls only, but you must power down your cell phones for your stay. You cannot charge electronic devices at the Huts.
Do the Huts serve alcohol?
We offer a great selection of beer and wine for purchase. Alcohol not purchased at the hut may only be consumed in your bunkroom due to liquor license restrictions.
Do you have backcountry skiing?
We like how adventurous you are! Although you are in the backcountry on our trails, we will clear up some terminology; we have Nordic backcountry trails. Over 45 miles of our 80 mile trail system are groomed and not always steep enough to make good use of your tele or backcountry set up. You and your skins are absolutely welcome on the trails, but at this time steeper terrain is something we will keep looking into for future winter play.
Do your Huts have toilets and showers?
Yes. Our state-of-the-art composting toilets and hot showers are available in the main lodge.
Does the hut crew accept tips?
Yes. The hut crews work long hours- cooking, cleaning, bar tending, and more to make your stay the best it can be. Tipping is customary and appreciated; most guests tip around $5 per night.
How are trails marked?
The groomed ski trail is marked with white diamond trail markers with the Maine Huts & Trails logo. Other Maine Huts & Trails sections are marked with blue blazes. Our trails occasionally intersect old logging roads and other trails, so it’s important to be familiar with these markings. Click here to see the trail signs.
Purchase a map online and have it mailed to you or pick one up at our office at 496C Main Street, Kingfield, ME.
How can I become a volunteer caretaker?
See the full list of responsibilities and apply HERE >>
How can I replicate these green systems in my own home?
Heating: We heat our Huts and water using extremely efficient TARM wood gasification boilers. Find out more here: TARM
Human Waste: CLIVUS composting toilets are a great choice for a camp, or if you’re thinking about doing serious renovations to your home. Find out more here: CLIVUS
For a more in-depth explanation of the renewable energy produced at the Huts, click here.
How do I get to the Stratton Brook/Poplar/Flagstaff/Grand Falls trailhead?
Please refer to the Driving Directions page on our website.
How far in advance do I need to reserve?
Sooner is better, especially if you plan to stay for a weekend in February or March, as those are our busiest months. Most people book a month or more in advance, but it’s always worth a call, even if you’re planning a last minute getaway.
How is trash dealt with during self-service season?
During self-service season, guests are responsible for packing out any trash that accumulates during their stay. Exceptions include brown paper towel that can be composted at the hut, and uncooked produce scraps, which can also be composted. Any other trash could attract rodents, bugs, or even bears, so it's really important that no waste is left at the huts.
How long have the Huts been in operation?
Poplar Hut opened in February of 2008
Flagstaff Hut opened in January of 2009
Grand Falls Hut opened in October of 2010
Stratton Brook Hut opened in December of 2012
How long will it take me to hike or ski Hut to Hut?
It usually takes about 4 to 6 hours to hike from Hut to Hut, and 3 to 4 hours to ski or bike from Hut to Hut. In the winter, be aware that daylight is in short supply in western Maine; darkness can fall as early as 3:30 PM in late December. Give yourself plenty of daylight hours to ski or snowshoe.
How long will it take to drive from Kingfield (Maine Huts & Trails headquarters) to the Stratton Brook/Poplar/Flagstaff/Grand Falls Trailheads?
Times vary, see below:
Stratton Brook Hut (Stratton Brook/Route 27 Trailhead): 25 minutes
Poplar Hut (Gauge Road Trailhead): 15 minutes
Flagstaff Hut (Long Falls Dam Trailhead): 65 minutes winter; 45 minutes summer
Grand Falls Hut (Big Eddy Trailhead): 75 minutes winter; 55 minutes summer
Grand Falls Hut (West Forks Trailhead ) 85 minutes
How safe are my vehicle and its contents at the trailheads?
We encourage guests to remove any valuable items from their vehicles. If you wish, you may park at the Maine Huts & Trails Headquarters at 496 Main Street in Kingfield or at the Carrabassett Valley Town Office parking area at 1001 Carriage Road, Carrabassett Valley, ME 04947 and be shuttled to a trailhead to begin your trip. Shuttle arrangements must be made in advance and standard shuttling charges will apply.
How much does it cost?
Rates vary by season, day of the week, membership status, and length of stay. Please see the Rates page or call reservations at (207) 265-2400.
I want to paddle to the Flagstaff Hut, where can I put in?
There are several put-in options depending on how far you want to paddle:
0.3 mile from the Flagstaff Trailhead (via the Shore Trail): 2-mile paddle, approx. paddle time 0:45 to 1:30 hours
Long Falls Dam Road boat launch: 2-mile paddle, approx. paddle time 0:45 to 1:30 hours
Round Barn (E. Flagstaff Road) put-in: 4-mile paddle, approx. paddle time 1:00 to 2:00 hours
Bog Brook Road boat launch: 5-mile paddle, approx. paddle time 1:30 to 3:00 hours
Stratton/Eustis boat launch: 21 to 28-mile paddle, approx. paddle time 7:00 to 14:00 hours
If I do a one-way trip, how do I get back?
Maine Huts & Trails works with a local transportation service to provide shuttles to travelers. Guests need to arrange shuttles directly with All Points Transportation by calling: 207-329-3482. Advance reservations are required.
Is bedding provided or should we bring sleeping bags?
We provide beds with a mattress and a pillow. Please bring a pillow case and sheets or light sleep sack during warmer months and a light sleeping bag during cooler months. Many guests find that bags rated for anywhere from 20° to 40° are more than sufficient in the winter, as the bunk rooms are heated.
Is hunting allowed on the trails?
No. In Maine, hunting is not allowed within 300 feet of any recreational trail or dwelling. Also, most of our trail corridor passes through private land, so even hunting 300 feet away from the trail or a hut would only be allowed with a landowner's permission. Still, we recommend wearing some hunter orange clothing while using the trails during hunting season. You can find hunter orange gear at most local convenience stores in Maine, like Tranten's Too in Kingfield.
Is it possible to have a wedding at the huts?
Yes! But it's definitely not for everyone. If you’re looking for a more casual alternative to a traditional celebration, a hut wedding might be for you. Here are a few things to consider:
• Gear shuttles are only set up to bring backpacks; so if a traditional wedding dress is part of the plan, that could pose a challenge.
• Since the huts are off-the-grid, sound systems are not an option. Consider having a small acoustic band that can carry all their own equipment.
• We will make a cake, but we are not professional bakers. Think vegan sheet cake, not a multi-layered fondant.
• Bathroom sinks and mirrors are minimalist, public, and the lighting is not makeup friendly. There are no full-length mirrors to see yourself before you walk down the aisle/trail.
• The huts might not be accessible to everyone you want to invite. Photographers, bands with equipment, and all guests must be able to hike at least 1.8 miles along uneven terrain.
If you love the idea of an off-the-grid celebration, but still want a few traditional touches (and great-grandparents) consider having the ceremony in Carrabassett Valley or Kingfield, and hike out to the huts for a honeymoon, bachelor/ette party, shower, or reception.
Is tent camping allowed at the Huts or on the trails?
Yes, camping is allowed but we do require that campsites be:
At least 1/4 mile from any of the Huts
At least 250 feet from lakes or streams
At least 250 feet off our trails
Mindful of Leave No Trace ethics. For more information please visit http://www.lnt.org/.
Is there coffee at the huts during self-service season?
There will not be coffee made and ready to pour like in full-service season. If you bring your own coffee, you will be able to make it on site. There's a french press available that's perfect for small groups. If you need to make more, you can brew coffee by pouring hot water over your grounds into an airpot that serves about 10 people. There are instructions provided at the hut, and your caretaker will be happy to help.
Is there composting during self-service season?
Yes. When you're staying during self-service, you do all your own cooking and clean-up, including composting. Since there's wildlife nearby, it's important to only compost raw fruits and vegetables and coffee grounds. Don't compost any oils, fats, or processed foods, since that could attract wildlife.
Is there food at the huts during self-service season?
While the volunteer caretakers will sometimes offer baked goods, you should be prepared to bring in all your own food, including any oils or spices you need for cooking. There is potable running water.
Is there heat and hot water during self-service season?
Yes. There is always hot water, and the main lodge and bunk rooms are heated throughout fall, winter, and spring.
Is your food sourced locally?
We source as much of our food locally as possible. For a full list of local farmers, click here. If you know of a local farmer not listed, please let us know.
Self-service responsibilities: Are cleaning products provided during self-service season?
Yes! When you stay during self-service season, you're responsible for leaving the hut as clean as when you arrived. There are non-toxic sprays at the huts to wipe down counter tops and tables. There's also a fully stocked cleaning closet with mops, brooms, paper towels, and any other cleaners you may find you need. Guests are responsible for washing their own dishes by hand, and there's a three compartment sink with dish soap and bleach provided.There are instructions on how to clean and sanitize the kitchen, and your caretaker will be happy to help.
What are the arrangements for luggage to be brought into the Huts?
Gear shuttles are available from most trailheads to the Huts and from Hut-to-Hut during full-service seasons. There is a strict weight limit of 25 lb. per bag*, so pack light! Please visit our Gear Shuttles page for pick-up and drop-off times and locations and our Rates page for seasonal shuttle rates.
*Charges will apply for bags weighing more than 25 lbs.
What are the sleeping arrangements?
The majority of bunkrooms at the Huts are shared accommodations, with bunk space for 4-12 people. Each Hut also has a couple of private bunkrooms which sleep 2 people and must be reserved in advance.
What can I expect at the Huts?
All Huts are attractive and energy efficient structures and blend harmoniously with their natural surroundings. Each Hut features state-of-the-art alternative energy systems. All Huts provide sleeping accommodations, including a mattress and pillow on each bunk, modern bathrooms with hot showers and state of the art composting toilets. Every overnight stay includes three meals per person, made with healthy, locally sourced ingredients.
What do most people do?
Maine Huts & Trails allows for a wide-range of activities including paddling, hiking, biking, swimming, skiing and snowshoeing. About half our guests choose to go Hut-to-Hut while the other half select a single Hut as a basecamp. For ideas on “what to do” at each Hut, click here (link to all activities overview)
What if I lose my member trail pass?
If you've misplaced your member trail pass, give us a call at (207)265-2400 to order a replacement. You'll need your trail pass to access your Member Benefits at the huts.
What is included and not included with a self-service visit?
Self-service stays include lodging only. Guests have full use of the commercial kitchen, and pack in and pack out all their supplies, like food.
What is the difference between the Huts?
Stratton Brook Hut is the highest Hut in elevation, at just over 1900’. It can be accessed by the renowned Oak Knoll Trail, a favorite of mountain bikers and hikers. The views of Sugarloaf and the surrounding Bigelow Range are worth the journey.
Flagstaff Hut is located on the shores Flagstaff Lake, and is perfect for beginners. The trailhead is a two mile flat walk from the Hut. Canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddleboards are available for free to members and overnight guests, first come first served.
Poplar Hut is closest to the Kingfield Headquarters and Sugarloaf. It is excellent for beginners and day trips. A trailhead is two miles from the Hut, but is uphill almost the whole way. The area features well-traveled trails and a small swimming hole, and the spectacular Poplar Stream Falls Waterfall.
Grand Falls Hut is the most remote Hut, situated roughly 8 miles from the nearest trailhead at Long Falls Dam Road. This Hut features magnificent views, the Grand Falls Waterfall, and excellent trout and salmon fishing.
What is the Maintenance Fee?
Operating a network of 80+ miles of multi-use recreational trails and waterways comes at a significant cost.
The Maintenance Fee helps us to maintain your access to inspiring backcountry adventures by making necessary repairs and upgrades to equipment, bridges, service roads, and structures. This fee also goes towards ensuring that the trail conditions are in the best possible shape, including the winter months where consistant grooming of the trails is crucial to providing a top-notch Nordic Skiing experience.
We thank you for your help in creating an unforgettable backcounty experience in the Western Maine Mountains and Lakes region for all to enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the area.
What is your cancellation policy for extreme weather?
Individual, group and Full-Hut reservations cancelled on short notice due to weather deemed extreme by our reservations manager may be rescheduled without being subject to the cancellation fee of $25.00 per person or 25% of the Full–Hut rate. No refunds will be issued.
What is your cancellation policy?
What procedure is there for medical evacuation?
Since we strive to provide a backcountry experience, we encourage all hikers to be mindful of their abilities and carry a first aid kit and a whistle. Each staff member is trained to follow established emergency protocols which are posted at each Hut. For more serious injuries, the Carrabassett Valley Emergency Rescue is only about 2 miles from Poplar Hut and about 10 miles from Flagstaff Hut. Each Hut has direct radio contact with the CVER dispatcher.
What should I pack?
Some key items to remember are: sheets or sleeping sack, pillowcase, rain jacket, and a map. For a more detailed list, see our Packing List.
What will the trail be like?
The trails from Stratton Brook to Grand Falls are gently rolling hills, suitable for beginner hikers, bikers, snowshoers, and skiers.
The trail from Grand Falls to the Forks is for advanced skiers only. For more detail, please visit our Trail Descriptions page.
Conditions: In the spring and during rainy periods, the trails may be wet. In the winter, grooming conditions may vary. Be sure to visit our Trail Conditions page before you head out on the trails."
What's it like to cook at the huts?
It's a lot of fun! Each hut has a fully equipped commercial kitchen with a large oven, 6 burner gas stove, fridge, freezer, sinks, and plenty of counter space. Everything you need to cook is there- you just bring the food. Plates and bowls are available.
When do I pay?
For regular reservations, payment must be made in full when you book your trip. For groups (12 or more people under one reservation) and full Hut rentals, we require a 25% non-refundable deposit due at time of booking and the remaining balance is due 30 days prior to arrival.
When does winter trail grooming start?
The trails are ready to be groomed when the ground is completely frozen, and there's enough snow to clear the tops of natural contours of the trails. We are as eager to get out there as you are. Before the first grooming of the season, we actually pack the trails with a snowmobile to prepare the surface for the groomer. Then when the trail hardens, it's ready to be groomed. We do our best to keep the Maine Hut Trail groomed throughout the winter, starting around mid-December until the ground begins to thaw... usually in late March. Always be prepared to encounter a variety of surface conditions throughout the season.
For the detail oriented personalities, grooming is a combination of practiced skill, Mother Nature, and grit - not necessarily in that order. It is hard work. There are 5 steps to grooming:
1) The snow
2) Pass #1: Packing - Often after any consequential snowfall the first step in grooming is to pack the trail with the run (or two or four) of a snowmobile
3) Pass #2: Dragging - A simple skid is pulled behind a snowmobile to smooth the snow surface.
4) Pass #3: Grooming - The grooming crew pulls a specialized Ginzu groomer over the trail to further pack the surface and lay down some glorious corduroy.
5) Pass #4: Track Cutting - The step that cuts the parallel tracks for cross country skiing.
Track cutting is tricky. Because Track cutting works best on flat wide surfaces, we are going to focus our track cutting over by Flagstaff Hut, between Big Eddy and the Half-way Yurt. Experience has taught us that track cutting up to and around Stratton Brook Hut and Poplar Hut isn't particularly effective. Rest assured our trail crew will be out there grooming the best possible experience for nordic skiers, snowshoers, and fat-bikers alike.
When should I plan to arrive at the Hut?
We serve a family-style dinner promptly at 6:00 PM, so we recommend you plan to arrive by 5:00. If you’re new to the system, give yourself extra time on the trails.
Where are some other good spots to hike in Maine?
Our trail passes through the Bigelow Preserve, and crosses the Appalachian Trail, both offer great trails to extend your adventure. Another family-friendly Maine hike that our staff loves is Tumbledown Mountain.
Where are the dining room tables, chairs, and artwork from?
The dining room chairs at all the Huts are crafted locally using high-quality Maine lumber. The chairs at Poplar, Flagstaff and Grand Falls Huts are made by W.A. Mitchell- Fine Furniture of Maine in nearby Farmington. And at Stratton Brook, the chairs are made right here in Kingfield at the Reinholt Fine Art Gallery and Furniture Studio.
The dining room tables at all the Huts are made by Native Woods, LLC. in Wilton (about a 30 minute drive from Kingfield).
All of our photographic artwork is done by John Orcutt Nature Photography, based in Kingfield. Orcutt is also the lead designer and architect of all 4 Huts!
Where can I rent skis, bikes and/or snowshoes?
Cross country ski equipment and/or snowshoes are available from the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center. Call (207) 671-3560 to reach the OC rental team.
The Outdoor Center is a great partner. They will set you up.
Where is the nearest medical care center?
- For Poplar Stream Falls and Stratton Brook: Franklin Memorial Health Center, Farmington, ME.
- For Flagstaff Lake Hut and Grand Falls Hut: Redington Fairview General Hospital, Skowhegan, ME.