Maine Huts & Trails is truly a year-round destination. From the snowiest winter months to long, balmy summer days, there's really never a bad time to experience a Maine backcountry adventure… as long as you plan ahead and come prepared. The most popular seasons are summer and winter, when we offer a full-service experience. During early spring and late fall, the huts are in 'self-service season.' Here's what to expect:
Spring Self-Service Season
March 27th - June 22nd, 2017
From late March until late June, each hut is staffed with a volunteer caretaker to keep the systems running; there are no meals provided, and no gear shuttles available, so guests are on their own for all food and gear. The rates are much lower, so it's a great time to experience a hut trip on a budget. Temps can range anywhere from the single digits or lower in March to the mid 60s in June.
The natural freeze/thaw cycles and frequent rain keep the trail conditions variable, so be sure to check with the Kingfield office for closed trail sections. So why come this time of year? Spring in Maine is all about waterfalls and fishing. With the snow melting from the mountaintops, the waterfalls around Poplar Hut and Grand Falls Hut are spectacular. Trout and salmon are especially active in the Dead River and in the Grand Falls area. See more about fishing at Maine Huts & Trails.
Be sure to check out our blog post "Why Mud Season is Secretly the Best" to learn more about this under-rated time of year in Maine!
Summer/Fall Full-Service Season
June 23rd - October 22nd, 2017
The huts come alive from July through October. The trail crew will have had all spring to clear away winter debris and freshen up the trails, and new, enthusiastic hut staff are trained and ready to go. As an overnight guest, you'll be served three fantastic meals per day (check out sample menus) included with every stay, and have the option of sending your gear up with a gear shuttle for an additional charge. Day visitors can buy lunch at the huts on the weekend, including beer and wine.
The weather from July-August is very pleasant, averaging 65-85°. Humidity can be high, and occasional thunderstorms are to be expected, sometimes without much warning. It's wise to bring a waterproof layer even when skies look clear. The hottest days can get into the nineties, but many trails are along the water, so it's easy to cool off in a cold mountain stream or waterfall. Nights are typically in the 50s, so bring a warm layer to wear by the fire pit at night!
September through October is a really special time to experience Maine. The forest transforms with fall foliage, and the air is crisp, clean and cool with brilliant blue skies. Temperatures can vary widely – sometimes getting into the high 80s in September to 40s or lower in October. It's not unusual to see snow, though it doesn’t usually stay long. Be aware that hunting season is in full swing, so it’s important to wear highly visible clothing (blaze orange is a must) to be sure hunters can see you.
Fall Self-Service Season
October 23rd - December 14th, 2017
November through December is another self-service season, with the same policies as spring. Weather is a little bit of everything… you might come for a ski and end up on a bike, or the other way around! Temps are chilly, usually highs in the 40s to lows in the teens… it will often get below zero at night. The huts are heated even during self-service, but dress for warmth on the trail.
Winter Full-Service Season
December 15th, 2017 - late March, 2018
Skiers, snowshoers, and fat-tire bikers all enjoy the trails throughout winter. The huts are fully staffed, meals are included, and day visitors can buy lunch at all the huts. Winter in Maine can be pretty intense, but it is spectacular. The forest will be blanketed with all types of snow, and temperatures range from 20 below to 40 above, but you'll warm up quickly on the trail. Dress in warm, breathable layers to stay comfortable.
So which season is right for you?
Check out our 'Adventurer Type Quiz' to find the best fit for your trip. But why not try them all? You'll have a different experience every season, and your favorite might surprise you!
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