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Bethel, ME to Portland, then South

Rome, Georgia
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Bethel, ME to Portland, then South

This weekend, my wife and I will be driving up to Bethel, ME through Vermont and NH, and hope to go in search of Moose.

We hope to spend at least a half a day/evening there before heading to Portland, and then south through CT over the long weekend.

Any suggestions on places to look for Moose near or on the way to Bethel? Must see's in that area?

How about any must see sites along the route from there to Portland? I look forward to any recommendations.

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Central Maine
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1. Re: Bethel, ME to Portland, then South

Welcome to the Maine Forum --

If you have half a day (roughly) for your moose expedition based in Bethel, there is a loop drive you can take that should give you a very good chance of seeing one or more moose -- although nothing is guaranteed when it comes to moose....

From Bethel, head east on US Rt 2 and Maine Rt 26 east toward Rumford for about six miles, to where Rt 26 makes a left-hand turn toward Grafton Notch State Park. Follow Rt 26 north for about 30 miles, through Grafton Notch State Park into New Hampshire, to the town of Errol, NH. In Errol, turn right onto NH Rt 16 north and follow it for about 40 miles (at the NH-Maine border, NH Rt 16 becomes Maine Rt 16, so just continue following that route). After visiting Rangeley (nice little lakeside town), head west (back the way you came) on Rt 16, but when you get to Oquossoc, ME, turn left onto Rt 17 south toward Mexico and Rumford ME. Follow ME Rt 17 south for about 40 miles to US Rt 2 in Mexico, ME. Then follow US Rt 2 west for about 25 miles back to Bethel. Not counting stops for moose, photos, food, or other reasons, this should take you between three and three and one half hours of driving time. MNot a short drive, but if you want to see the moose, you've got to get to where they are (or at least where they may be).

Traditionally, several sections of this loop produce a high percentage of moose sightings on a regular basis.... especially the section of ME Rt 16 between Oquossoc ME and Rangeley ME (that's why I had you drive all the way into Rangeley and then backtrack to get back to Rt 167) and near the small ponds along the southern section of Rt 17 from Oquossoc to Mexico ME. Although I don't drive that way as often, I've heard that sightings are also frequent along the section of Rt 16 between Errol NH and Oquossoc ME....

In addition to the possible moose opportunities, there are a couple of other stops along this route that I would recommend if you have time... On ME Rt 26 north of US Rt 2, soon after you enter Grafton Notch State Park, you'll see a sign for Screw Auger Falls on your left. A great example of how moving water can cut into even rocks over time... and after you leave Oquossoc headed south toward Mexico, you'll find yourself heading steadily uphill... as things begin to flatten out, watch for the Height-of-Land Scenic Turnout -- fantastic view of the Rangeley Lakes woods-and-water! And parts of US Rt 2 between Mexico and Bethel can be scenic as you wend your way alongside the Androscoggin River.

Rome, Georgia
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2. Re: Bethel, ME to Portland, then South

Thank you for all of the information. I believe this is the drive I will try. It looks similar to a suggested route I stumbled on on the Bethel visitor's page last night they labeled as the "Magical Moostery Tour."

Rome, Georgia
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3. Re: Bethel, ME to Portland, then South

The drive you discussed was fantastic. We drove it counter clockwise (to Rangeley via Rumford Falls, then Erroll and then Grafton Notch)

Especially so during that peak fall season weekend that I was there. Alas, no moose though. I think our timing was a little too late in the morning for their most active times.

Thanks again for the suggestion. It was the exact route the Inn keeper we spoke with suggested too.

The view from Height of Land, and then another scenic turnout a little ways past that of Rangely Lake on the otherside were worth the drive alone.

Southern Maine
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4. Re: Bethel, ME to Portland, then South

Thank you for reporting back. You hit some of my favorite parts of Maine. I'm surprised you didn't see any moose, especially on the stretch through Erroll. It probably was the time of day. (Or they're hiding for the hunting season...)

Central Maine
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5. Re: Bethel, ME to Portland, then South

Thanks for the Trip Report -- many people don't take the time to let us know how things went.

Glad you enjoyed the drive -- like CB, it's one of my personal favorites (in any season).

Sorry the moose didn't cooperate, but they're know for being independent....and time-of-day can make a difference, although over the years I've seen them almost any time of day..... But I've also had my share of hearing folks say "You just missed one."

Since you didn't see one this trip, you'll just have to come back for another visit -- but am very glad you had a good time on this one!

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