If you’re looking for a quintessential New England experience, then check out the best things to do in Rangeley Maine.
Nestled in the heart of breathtaking western Maine is the Rangeley Lakes Region. Just 130 miles from Portland, Rangeley is a hidden gem that offers the best of outdoor adventures for the whole family.
Rangeley is a four season resort town that maintains its small town feel while welcoming tourists all year long. Whether you’re an avid nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking relaxation in a pristine environment, you’ll find Rangeley to be truly special.
The Rangeley Lake region consists of 7 lakes; Rangeley Lake, Mooselookmeguntic Lake, (try to say that 10 xs fast!) Cupsuptic Lake, Upper & Lower Richardson Lakes, Kennebago Lake, and Umbagog Lake.
The area is peppered with a plethora of rivers, coves, islands, and the Western Maine Mountains. Basically, it’s a wilderness and wildlife heaven that offers activities for all seasons.
If I’ve learned anything about Rangeley and its inhabitants it’s that they love their land and cherish the community and environment they live in. There’s so much beauty and history here, you can understand why!
Let’s dive into the 17 best things to do in this charming town.
The 17 Top Activities & Attractions in Rangeley, Maine
#1 Get to Lakeside Park!
Located right off Maine St in the center of town.
#2. Go Camping & Fishing in Rangeley Lake
Rangeley Lake Park is famous for catch and release fishing for trout and landlocked salmon.
Rangeley Lake spans about 10 square miles within the park and provides some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Maine.
1 State Park Rd. Rangeley
Open May – October 1 – 9AM – sunset
A fee is charged at the gate, but you can park outside the gate and walk in, including Oct – May.
Reservations are required for camping spots.
#3. Visit the Rangeley Outdoor Sporting
Expect to see a lot of duck hunting stuff and fly fishing gear! The exhibits change with the seasons and feature specimens, vintage gear, archaeological finds, and lots of historic artifacts.
8 Rumford Rd., Oquossoc, ME
Open Tues – Sun
10AM – 4PM
Adults $8, Children under 12 Free
#4. Check Out the Rangeley History Museum
Learn about the pioneer families who created a logging industry from the forest trees and built farms. Eventually, Rangeley became a popular resort area with grand hotels and camps in the style of the Gilded Age of the late 1800’s.
2472 Main St. Rangeley, ME
Open July & Aug Sat -Sun
12PM – 4PM
#5. Maine Forestry Museum
There are also original paintings by the famous Alden Grant that depict the logging life of the early 1900s along with beautiful winter scenes and the hard working life of people at the time.
Add to that some hiking trails on the grounds of the museum and you’ve got a fun activity for the family.
221 Stratton Road, Route 16, Rangeley, ME
Open June – Aug Wed -Sun 10:30 – 3:30
Sept – Oct Thurs – Sun 11:30 – 4
Oct 7-8 11:30 – 3:30
Adults $7, Teens $5, Children Under 12 Free
#6. Visit the Wilhelm Reich Museum and
Learn about Orgonon
This is the site and home of the infamous psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. If you aren’t familiar with his work, you’ll be amazed at the impact he had and the innovative research he accomplished in spite of enormous hurdles.
Reich built this home and research institute and called it Orgonon after his studies of human behavior, sexuality, energy, and even the weather! The museum offers great head-set self-guided tours.
You can sit inside his energy box called the Accumulator and see the Rain Making machine, the Cloudbuster. You’ll learn the history and fate of Reich, take a stroll on the grounds and will understand why he loved Rangeley and made it his home.
19 Orgonon Cir, Rangeley, ME
Open July – Aug Wed,Thur, Sat
Sept – Sat only
1PM – 5PM
#7. Drive along the Rangeley Lakes
National Scenic Byway
This picturesque route winds through forests, alongside the tranquil lakes of the region, and has many stunning view points to stop and enjoy and take photos.
The Byway follows Route 4 from Madrid, Maine then on Route 17 and then goes east on Route 16. Some of the most noteworthy spots along the route are Saddleback Mountain and the Appalachian Trail.
There are three special overlooks along the drive for you to pull out and soak up the views.
Height of Land is on Route 17, 10 miles south of Oquossoc.
Shelton Noyes is on Route 17, 3.5 miles south of Oquossoc.
Whip WIllow Farm is on Route 4, one mile south of Rangeley.
#8. See the Views at Quill Hill
A very generous and dedicated man named Adrian Brochu worked on the road for 19 years to allow others to access what he said was “the best view in Maine.”
There’s parking, picnic tables, fire pit, and wheelchair accessible trails.
Oddy’s Rd. off of Route 16 between Rangeley and Stratton. Then drive another 4.5 miles to the top of Quill Hill on the gravel road.
Open 24/7 – May – October
Donation of $10 per car and $5 per person suggested.
#9. Hike to Smalls Falls
Smalls Falls is a lovely 54 waterfall about 12 miles, (a 15 minute drive), south of Rangeley. The falls are really easily accessed from the parking area. Take the stairs from the parking lot down to the bridge and enjoy the falls in the cozy forest surrounding you.
Then continue on to take the simple 0.5 mile hike up to the top of the falls for some more beautiful views.
The trail has a lot of roots and can be slippery, so watch your step! You think you only need sneakers because it is a short trek, but I was happy I had my hiking boots for the mud and slick roots.
#10. Hike to Angel Falls
This adventure is 29 miles, (about a 45 minute drive), from Rangeley, (18.5 miles south of Oquossoc). The 1 mile out and back hike to the falls is well worth the drive to see this cascading waterfall. From the parking lot, Angel Falls is a 1 mile hike .
However, Angel Falls is not as easily accessible as Smalls or Cascade Gorge, because the trail crosses streams multiple times. If the water is high due to rains, then you can’t do it without being deep in water and taking risks with the slippery rocks. Be sure to check the conditions before you head out.
Sadly, we had to miss this experience on a recent trip because there had been so much rain.
#11. Cascade Stream Gorge
Cascade Stream is a 90 foot deep gorge with several waterfalls that cascade down on top of each other. You can enjoy great views from different spots along the trail and sit on rocks to relax and watch the falls.
This area is also known for its vegetation and wildflowers so keep your eyes peeled! We found blueberries and mushrooms along the way!
#12. Ski, Hike, & Dine at Saddleback Mountain
The mountain snow drains into the Kennebec River and Sandy River, and the Rangeley Lakes. The Appalachian Trail even runs along a ridge of Saddleback. The views are absolutely spectacular.
Needless to say, this area is one of Rangeley’s biggest recreational spots, both in winter for all the snow sports and in the other seasons for such great hiking trails. The dining area in the lodge is open all year and we had a great dinner there one night.
#13. Kayaks & Canoes & Pontoon Boats. Oh MY!
Ecopelagicon Rangeley Adventure Company
Rangeley Region Lake Cruises and Kayaking
Rivers Edge Sports
Oquossoc Cove Marina
#14. Take an Exciting Seaplane Tour
Acadian Seaplanes offers many different packages. Not only will you see the bird’s eye view of the area, but you’ll see birds! And maybe moose!
I think a Fall foliage flight would be my first choice! By the time you can pronounce Mooselookmeguntic, you could have reservations already!
#15. Jet Skis on the Lake!
Rangeley Jet Ski Rentals
#16. Take a Drive on the Barn Quilt Trail
Do you know about Barn Quilts?
Barn Quilts are large quilt murals that are painted on wood and placed on the outsides of barns and homes. The tradition began in the early 2000’s when a woman honored her mother’s love of quilting by painting the design on their farm’s barn in Ohio. Since that time, the art trend has grown substantially and is very popular in New England. The quilts typically celebrate the agriculture and community, the heritage of the family and their barn, and the American tradition of quiltmaking.
The Maine High Peaks Barn Quilt Trail is a project that had over 600 children from around the region paint 25 barn quilt murals. You can drive around and see these historic farms and beautiful quilt paintings in Rangeley and 7 other towns near by. Check out the Maine High Peaks Barn Quilt Trail map below and on their website.
#17. Rangeley is a Winter Wonderland
Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, winter festivals that include sled dog races and ice hockey!
Plan now for February’s FREE Winterpalooza when you can enjoy pond hockey games, cardboard sled races, ice skating, curling, Dog keg pull races, firewood toss contests, saucer bowling, and dog sled races. You can have a horse and wagon ride through town and find hot cocoa and plenty of treats.
Basically, any activity that involves snow and ice, it’s there! Yes, the lake freezes and the whole place becomes a winter wonderland. And for cozy indoor time, check out the Saddleback Lodge or Moose Alley Bowling and any of the restaurants in town.
Rangeley gets over 200 inches of snowfall each year and has been named one of the best New England Winter Towns. So, you can just imagine the perfect white snow against the backdrop of the lake and mountains. I can’t wait!
Where To Stay In Rangeley, Maine
Rangeley has a number of resort “camps” on the lake, plenty of vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, and some great inns.
The most well known are the historic Loon Lodge Inn and Rangeley Inn, both with dining as well. Neither of these are available on digital travel platforms, so contact the hotels directly for info. They are both quite historic, lovely, and worth stopping in for a drink or a meal even if you don’t stay there! They are both close to all the tourist attractions in the Rangeley Lakes Region.
Loon Lodge and Restaurant was built in 1899 and is beautifully restored and offers guest rooms with views in the main lodge and in the Pickford House on the property. The Lodge and Restaurant are located on Pickford Rd on the east shore of the lake.
Rangeley Inn and Tavern is right on Main St. also built at the turn of the century. ( Fun fact: A wing of the building, the Ellis Wing, is named for my sister-in-law’s family!) This is known as a grand hotel which welcomed guests who would take the train from Boston and New York to vacation in Rangeley. The rooms are all renovated and have access to Haley Pond behind the property.
Maine Fun Facts
~ The common Loon makes its home on Rangeley Lake. The distinct bird has a white and black plumage with red eyes and has a very specific call.
~ Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust hosts an annual Loon count that you can volunteer for! In 2023, 104 volunteers helped to count the loons. They found 196 adult loons and 6 chicks and 5 natural nests. Next year’s count is on July 20 if you’re in town
~ Maine has over 40 towns that are named after foreign countries and cities. Yes, there’s a Paris, an Egypt, a Madrid, a Rome, a Stockholm, a Lisbon, a Dresden, a China, a Belfast, and on and on!
~ The largest quantity of lobster are found off the coast of Maine.
~ Rangeley Lake is 148 feet deep.
~ The famous Grey Goose streamer fishing fly was first tied by a local Rangeley woman in1924, named Carrie G. Stevens!
~ Rangeley is just 20 miles from the border of Canada and ablouit 3.5 hours from Quebec City.
~ Rangeley is the site of the Doc Grant’s Restaurant which is halfway between the Equator and the North Pole. The Equator is 3107 miles south and the North Pole is 3107 miles north!
Now, you’re ready to enjoy all the best things to do in Rangeley, Maine!
Rangeley, Maine, is a New England paradise with a blend of adventure, outdoor activities, history, and something to captivate every type of traveler.
The highlights of Rangeley are the summer lake activities and the winter ski slopes. But Rangeley also offers a host of adventures and relaxing things to do for any mood you are in and for everyone in your party.
From a romantic getaway to a full on family vacation, Rangely is a fabulous option!
So pack your gear and let me know what you think!