Flagstaff Lake, Maine’s fourth largest body of water, centers the communities of Eustis and Stratton on the north-eastern edge of the Western Lakes and Mountains region.
This 27-mile long lake, so popular with hikers, naturalists, fishermen, hunters, canoeists, and kayakers, is manmade. In 1949 the settlements of Flagstaff and Dead River were clear-cut, burned and flooded by Central Maine Power to make a hydropower reservoir for use at low-water times of the year.
The area teems with wildlife and fish and the addition of unique campsites along the shores of the lake ensure the area’s popularity with sportsmen and outdoors fold of all kinds.
In this area are the amazing Cathedral Pines, the largest natural stand of giant Norway pines in the U.S. In winter snowmobilers travel miles of trails stretching to Canada.
Near Stratton and Eustis you’ll see Grand Falls, the largest horseshoe falls north of Niagara.
Established in 1976 and rising just east of Stratton is the spectacular 35,000-acre Bigelow Preserve, which has many splendid peaks stretching to the horizon in the Bigelow Range. The million-dollar view from the Eustis Ridge Picnic Area on Route 27 makes it a popular site for wedding and other special occasions.
Carrabassett Valley Region
If you follow the sparkling Carrabassett River from its source just below Flagstaff Lake, you’ll see it flows down past the town of Carrabassett Valley, then Kingfield and on to North Anson where it meets the larger Kennebec River. By taking this journey you’ll pass through one of the most beautiful valleys in the western Maine region. Towering on either side of the river is a series of mountain ranges that include six commanding peaks that reach above 4,000 feet.
The rolling terrain of these mountains creates countless ponds, streams and woodlands that make a visit to this area a visual treat anytime of year. Hiking, biking, camping, birding, sightseeing, fishing, swimming, canoeing and whitewater rafting are just a few of the activities that could fill your spring and summer. It’s an understatement to say the fall foliage is magnificent.
When the snows come and cover the mountains they transform the area into a winter sporting paradise for downhill and cross country skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and ice skating.
The major mountain peak on the western side of the river is Sugarloaf Mountain in the town of Carrabassett Valley. It is the second tallest mountain in Maine at 4,237 feet.
On Sugarloaf Mountain, towering above the area in both a figurative and literal sense is Sugarloaf. It is a year-round resort. In winter it draws skiers from around the world and has become one of the most popular ski areas in the northeast. It has the only lift service above the tree line in the east and a dramatic 2,820 foot vertical drop. You can pick from 134 trails and glades that range from easy to challenging on more than 650 acres. At its base you’ll find a charming alpine village with a variety of accommodations and services.
If you’re a snowmobiler climb aboard your machine and take an exhilarating ride along the 228 miles of the Black Fly Snowmobile Loop. The loop takes you on scenic trails around Franklin County and reaches north to Eustis, west to Rangeley, east to Carrabassett Valley and Kingfield and south to Farmington.
While winter brings the most visitors you have plenty to see and enjoy all year.
Kingfield, named after William King who would become Maine’s first governor, offers you charming accommodations, fine dining, shops and a welcoming atmosphere. It’s the home of Stanley Museum where you can see displays of the accomplished Stanley family, including models of the Stanley Steamer automobile invented by the Stanley twins. Each summer the Kingfield POPS, an outdoor musical and art festival features a variety of musical groups including concert, big band, folk, fiddle and jazz. Visit the Stadler Gallery for an excellent rotating display of paintings, photography and sculpture by Maine contemporary artists.