Ride Area Review - Trail & Stream
Bingham Maine is “Up North” to almost every part of the United States. Up North is a term that has come to mean much more than geography though. For many it means a cabin retreat in the woods where the water is pure, the air smells of pine, and animals roam freely. It’s a year round, outdoor lover paradise. That describes pretty much all of Maine, but especially an outdoor adventure outfitter known as North Country Rivers.
TRAIL CLUB COUNTRY
With almost 100 ATV clubs Maine probably has more club activity than any other state, and that doesn’t begin to count snowmobile clubs! That represents a small army of active members to work on projects, maintain trails, and when needed let their local and state government representatives know how they feel about issues that impact their favorite hobby. Through the years they’ve created one of the most extensive trail systems in the country. There are a whopping 8000 miles of trails to explore in Maine! The clubs take great pride in their trail system, and the trails are extremely well marked, well maintained, and clean. It’s easy to find your way around too since they have not only trail markers, but also names, directions to towns, adjoining trails, natural sights, fuel or food, etc. You can ride all the way to Canada from your North Country Rivers cabin.
WELCOME TO THE NORTH COUNTRY
North Country Rivers, is located on the northern side of Bingham but is still feels a world away. Knotty pine cabins and smoky camp fires have that effect. Bingham has a population of around 1,000 or so friendly inhabitants, and local attractions are Moxie Falls, the Benedict Arnold Trail, Wyman Dam, and Moxie Lake. Patrick’s Pub is the main hub of North Country Rivers. This is where you register for your cabin and plan your itinerary and the staff is very friendly and helpful in answering questions. They’ve got a shop chock full of the usual T-shirts, hoodies, and even rafting gear rental but the BEST part of Patrick’s Pub is the FOOD. No matter what time of day you will never be disappointed with anything on the menu. We recommend their breakfast buffet; it is awesome! We signed up for our cabin and headed for our new home.
There are several different cabin sizes to choose from at NCR. All of the cabins are beautiful and very comfortable offering WiFi, TV, ample space for the entire family, and they’re pet friendly. After all, pets are family too! Full kitchens come equipped with a microwave, pots, pans, utensils and dishes. Every cabin has its own outdoor grill along with a fire pit for relaxing by the fire at night, and there is plenty of space for your truck and trailer.
If you own an RV or camper, you can bring that also and with over 60 acres of property, you won’t be crowded up against any other group. We always sleep great in the pine cabins, though, and in the morning we were ready to explore the massive Maine trail system.
MILES TO GO BEFORE I SLEEP
There is something exhilarating about the fresh air when stepping out of your cabin in the morning. Our Polaris RZR900 XC was already unloaded and it was pure excitement in the air. There are two ways to explore the trails from North Country Rivers; you can head out on your own, or you can ride with a guide! Since a guide knows the local sights and trails much better than we could hope to it was our best choice to make the most of our day, which we already knew would be over too soon.
The Guided ATV Tour was among the best we have ever had. The NCR guides are more than riding buddies though, they are trained to know the trails and have a knowledgeable background of the history of the area and wildlife. They are also keenly aware of your safety. The advantage of a guide is they can also get your group to fuel stops, places to grab a bite to eat, and small, ATV friendly towns. We had our SureCan strapped to the back just to be safe!
The Kennebec Valley Region of Maine is known for some of the best trail riding in North America, with pristine wilderness to explore. Most of the trails will be forested and we love the earthy smell of the pines. With so many miles of trails you can find anything from mud to rocks but we never found anything so extreme it was impossible to pass. No doubt your guide will have an idea where to go if you’re really looking for a challenge. Stream crossings can be fun, and the trails we tried wound through the forest and over gently rolling hills. There are also numerous waterfalls in the region your guide can get you to. We passed other ATV groups and a few backpackers and hikers as well, but they are rarely found far from the trail head. There is one other group to be aware of on the Maine trails though. The forest is home to all kinds of critters you need to watch out for. Don’t run over the bunnies or little creatures, and don’t run into a bear or moose! It’s not an experience either of you will enjoy. To say we enjoyed our time on the Maine trails is an understatement! We love riding there! Tomorrow would be another type of adventure though.
ALL WEATHER, ALL TERRAIN ADVENTURE
“There's a quality of life in Maine which is singular and unique. It's absolutely a world onto itself” said Jamie Wyeth. Our favorite time to visit Maine is during May and June, but North Country Rivers is definitely a year round operation. During the winter snowmobiles buzz in and out, but as soon as spring breaks it’s back to ATVs and Side x Sides. “Maine is a joy in the summer. But the soul of Maine is more apparent in the winter.” says Paul Theroux, and it’s hard to argue the beauty of the woods when it is blanketed in snow. There is another way to see the area though, and it’s much like the early explorers and Native Americans did; by river.
North Country Rivers also features guided white water rafting expeditions, and once again they’ve got everything you need to make it happen. There was no way we were going to pass this opportunity up. Our raft trip was an extreme adrenaline rush and midway through our day on the water we paddled to shore where a great outdoor meal was waiting for us. With choices of steak and seafood with all the fixings along with drinks for lunch we were ready for a nap but it was back in the raft to complete our adventure. Our raft trip lasted from 8 am to about 330 pm. There are several trips to choose from ranging from kid friendly to advanced.
BUCKET LIST CHECK-OFF
If you’re an avid trail rider you need to add Maine to your bucket list, and if you’ve got a family with kids we highly recommend North Country Rivers. There is much to do for the whole family and kids have plenty of space to explore and play. Whether you come for the trails, the snow, or the raging rapids there are activities for all. We’ll see you there!
NORTH COUNTRY RIVERS
36 Main St, Bingham, ME 04920
(800) 348-8871 Local : 207-672-4814