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Rangeley: a north woods town on Rangeley Lake by Saddleback Mountain: away from it all!




Drive 110 miles (177 km) north from Portland, Maine and you can be in Rangeley, a small town (population 1200) well away from any city bustle.

Rangeley is surrounded by forests and perched at the edge of broad Rangeley Lake, with even larger lakes (Mooselookmeguntic, Richardson, Aziscohos, Umbagog) and many small ponds nearby.

To the east rises Saddleback Mountain (4116 feet/1255 meters), one of Maine's tallest, with one of the state's three best ski resorts on its northern slopes. More...

It's just over 20 miles (32 km) to the border with Québec as the crow flies, but there's no straight road north between the 3700+-foot peaks of West Kennebago and East Kennebago mountains, so Rangeley is not on the easy road to Canada.

In fact, Rangeley is a destination, not a town along the way. People come here to get away from it all, to go hiking, canoeing, hunting and fishing in summer, skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in winter.

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad

This historic narrow-gauge rail line offers 50-minute scenic rail excursion from the town of Phillips, 23 miles southeast of Rangeley (map), into the Maine woods over part of what was once the longest two-foot-gauge line in the USA (120 miles). More...

Hunter Cove Wildlife Sanctuary

Owned by the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust (tel 207-864-7311), this sanctuary 2-1/2 miles (4 km) west of town along ME Route 4 toward Oquossoc, is a good place to get the feel of nature. Walk its 3 miles (5 km) of trails along the shore of Rangeley Lake through forests of pine, spruce, poplar, cedar and alder watching for birds, bears, bobcats, coyotes, deer and—if you're lucky—a moose.

Wilhelm Reich Museum

The Wilhelm Reich Museum (tel 207-864-3443), a mile farther west, then north to 19 Dodge Pond Road, is located at Orgonon, the estate on which psychoanalist Reich (1897-1957) late in life carried out some of his investigations into "orgone," a supposed sexual energy force existing in all living beings.

Where to Stay & Dine

Rangeley has a...range of accommodations, from the historic and North Woods-atmospheric Rangeley Inn & Tavern to the modern, comfortable Saddleback Motor Inn.

For food, the inn and motor inn have dining facilities, but for breakfast or a quick lunch my favorite is the BMI Diner, across the street and a bit west from the Rangeley Inn.

Sarge's Pub & Grub, across from the inn, is the best local watering hole, with a selection of beers on tap, including local Carrabassett brews.

—by Tom Brosnahan

Saddleback Mt Skiing

Sugarloaf Skiing

Shawnee Peak Skiing

Maine Skiing Homepage

Scenic Train Rides

New England Outdoors

Maine Homepage


Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Rangeley ME

Above, snowy Main St, Rangeley, ME.

Below, old-time backwoods parlor
at the Rangeley Inn & Tavern.

Rangeley Inn, Rangeley ME

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