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Highlights: mountain views, museums, rural, wildlife
|Patten—Sherman Mills—Island Falls Loop||33||Challenging terrain for experienced cyclists|
|Patten—Smyrna Mills—Island Falls Loop||46||Varied terrain, steep hills, for experienced cyclists|
The 33-mile loop is very scenic and challenging with mountain views—including Mt. Katahdin, the state’s highest peak—and picturesque farms. The north Maine woods and Mt. Katahdin provide the dramatic backdrop for the extremely challenging 46-mile loop. This loop takes cyclists through woods, open farmland, small lumbering communities, and over hills that heave the roads from ridge to ridge—hills that make this ride memorable. The final stretch between Patten, Sherman, and Island Falls lies in the shadow of Mt. Katahdin, and the views of the peak are awe-inspiring. Be sure to stop at the Lumberman's Museum in Patten. They have an incredible display of lumbering artifacts.
Special features: Spectacular views of Mt. Katahdin; Lumberman’s Museum (Patten); abundant views of wildlife including moose, birds, and deer
Road conditions: Generally fair to good. Touring or hybrid tires recommended.
Cautions: Pavement rough in some areas. Fast-moving logging trucks on all roads. Give them plenty of passing room! No services between Patten and Smyrna Mills (26 miles), so carry food, water, warm clothes, and a tire repair kit.
Starting point: Both rides begin at Patten Academy Alumni Park, which is opposite the junction of ME 11 and ME 159 north of downtown.
Although the Park Loop Road in Baxter State Park is not part of the tour, Tour 5 is close (23 miles) to the northern entrance to the park. The Park Loop Road is gravel through the entire length of the park. There is considerable traffic in the summer on the south half of the loop. The road can be dusty or muddy depending on the season. Bicycling is not allowed in any other part of the park. This is a remote wilderness area with few services available. Therefore, planning ahead is very important. Take basic tools, spare parts, warm clothing, food, water, etc. It is also important to make reservations well in advance if planning to camp in the park. Several commercial campgrounds are available just outside the park perimeter. For more information on the park’s services, attractions, limitations, and maps, contact the Baxter State Park: www.baxterstateparkauthority.com or call: 207-723-5140.