Backcountry Ski Adventures in Maine

Get off the grid and into the grooves this winter! Glide along freshly groomed trails by day and enjoy warm fires by night on a lodge-to-lodge skiing adventure in the Maine Woods.

Here’s your chance to explore more than 90 miles of maintained ski trails connecting AMC’s network of eco-lodges. Ski-in and drive-in options are available.

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Planning Your Trip

What to Expect

AMC’s unique lodge-to-lodge ski trail network provides groomed, but untracked, backcountry skiing between AMC’s Gorman Chairback Lodge and Cabins, AMC’s Little Lyford Lodge and Cabins, Medawisla Lodge and Cabins, and family-owned partner West Branch Pond Camps. All locations offer dinner, breakfast, and trail lunch, hot showers, and private cabins or shared bunkhouse space. A daily gear shuttle allows skiers to travel light between lodges.

Parking and Shuttles

The AMC has one winter parking lot serving Gorman Chairback Lodge and Little Lyford Lodge. Both Medawisla Lodge and West Branch Pond Camps are drive-in accessible and have their own parking lots. Heavier gear (sleeping bags, additional clothing, toiletries, and snowshoes) is left in sheds at the winter parking lot. AMC staff will shuttle this gear by snowmobile to your destination or between camps. Skiers can plan a multi-day route that returns them to their car, or can arrange for a shuttle van operated by Northwoods Outfitters than runs between parking lots and Greenville. This enables a multi-night outing starting at West Branch Pond Camps and continuing to Little Lyford and Gorman Chairback.

Trail Distances and Routes

Ski distances from the winter parking lot to the lodges are:

To Gorman Chairback:

  • via Long Pond Trail 13.4 km (8.3 mi)
  • via Gorman Chairback Lodge Trail 11.7 km (7.3 mi)
  • via Trout Brook Trail to Long Pond – across ice (6 mi)

To Little Lyford:

  • via Hedgehog Gate Trail 11.3 km (7.0 mi)
  • via KI & Upper Valley Roads 9.9 km (6.2 mi)

To West Branch Pond Camps:

  • via Upper Valley Rd. to Brook Trail to Pleasant River Trail (14 mi)
  • via Hedgehog Gate Trail to Upper Valley Rd. to Brook Trail to Pleasant River Trail (15.9 mi)
  • via Hedgehog Gate Trail to Upper Valley Rd. to East Side Trail (13.3 mi)

Ski distances between the lodges:

From Medawisla to West Branch Pond:

  • via Lake Trail to Long Ridge Rd. (8.8 mi)
  • via Emmit Brook Trail to Long Ridge Rd. (8.2 mi)

From Medawisla to Lyford Pond:

  • via Long Ridge Rd. to East Side Trail (17.2 mi)

From West Branch Pond to Little Lyford:

  • via Pleasant River Trail 13.7 km (8.5 mi)
  • via East Side Trail (11 mi)

From Little Lyford to Gorman:

  • via Lodge to Lodge Trail (6.5 mi)
  • via Upper Valley Road to Deadwater Trail to Long Pond Road to Gorman Lodge Trail (7 mi)
  • via Upper Valley Road to KI Road to Gorman Lodge Trail (7.5 mi)

*ask about shuttle options

Transportation and Start Times

Guests should plan to be on the trail no later than 1 p.m. in order to get to each lodge before dark and in time for dinner at 6 p.m. From Greenville, plan 25 minutes to get to the winter parking lot for Little Lyford and Gorman Chairback; 27 miles to Medawisla; and 55 minutes to West Branch.

Equipment

You will be backcountry skiing in a remote setting, and will likely encounter few-if any-other people during the day. AMC does not regularly patrol the trails. Your party should be self-sufficient and prepared for full winter conditions and changes in weather. Each person should bring a trail map and compass (and know how to read both), extra fleece layer & socks, face/eye protection, waterproof shell, headlamp, waterproof matches, medications, lunch & hot beverages. You will also want to bring at least one sleeping bag, camp stove, and first aid kit for your party. You will receive a “what to bring” list with your reservation, but feel free to browse AMC’s helpful gear guides to get started. Again, heavier gear like sleeping bags, towels, snowshoes, and boots can be put on the gear shuttle.

Due to the varying conditions of backcountry trails, including ice, you may want to consider using backcountry skis with at least a partial metal edge. Northwoods Outfitters in Greenville rents backcountry ski equipment (866-223-1380).

Road and Trail Conditions

Current road and trail conditions for AMC’s Maine Wilderness Lodges are posted daily. You can also contact AMC’s Greenville office for information on local roads and trail conditions (207-695-3085).

Reservations

AMC Reservations can arrange for your gear shuttle, passenger shuttle, and stays at any of the lodges on the lodge-to-lodge ski route. Call 207-358-5187 for information, availability, rates, and trip planning assistance.

Self-Guided Backcountry Ski Adventures in Maine

Lodge-to-lodge skiing in the Maine Woods is an experience like no other. Travel light as you ski the backcountry and have a private cabin with wood stove, hot shower or sauna, and home-cooked dinner waiting for you at day’s end. Our cross-country ski trail network is groomed without set tracks-intermediate skills and comfort with backcountry skiing are required.

Take a look at our trail map and choose an itinerary that works best for you. We will shuttle your gear ahead to your next overnight destinations. We can also shuttle you and your party if you are interested in a longer outing. Call us at 207-358-5187 and we can walk you through the details of planning a trip.

Self-Guided Trip Options

Take a look at our ski trail map and choose an itinerary from below that works best for you. We will shuttle your gear ahead to your next overnight destination. We can also shuttle you and your party if you are interested in a longer outing. Call us at 207-358-5187 and we can walk through the details of planning a trip with you.

Gear shuttle is required between all locations. Gear must be in the winter parking lot gear shed by 2:00 PM to ensure delivery. Vehicle shuttle to Medawisla Wilderness Lodge and West Branch Pond Camps is required for trips beginning at that location. Please note that the vehicle shuttle departs North Woods Outfitters in Greenville, ME at 2:00 PM.

2-Night Itineraries

Little Lyford to Gorman Chairback

3-Night Itineraries

Medawisla to Little Lyford** to Gorman Chairback

West Branch to Little Lyford to Gorman Chairback

Little Lyford to Gorman Chairback and back to Little Lyford

Little Lyford to Gorman Chairback (two nights*)

4-Night Itineraries

Medawisla to West Branch to Little Lyford to Gorman Chairback

Little Lyford (two nights*) to Gorman Chairback (two nights*)

* Spending two nights at Little Lyford and Gorman Chairback allows for snowshoe exploration into the frozen waterfalls of Gulf Hagas (The Grand Canyon of Maine) or climbing up to the Appalachian Trail to enjoy summit views of the 100-Mile Wilderness and Moosehead Lake Region.

** Optional shuttle available between Medawisla and Little Lyford if reservations are full at West Branch or your itinerary limits you to a 3 night lodge-to-lodge trip.