Moosehorn NWR is a nature reserve in North East Maine. The hike out to Cranberry Lake will take you through heavily forested areas, paths along streams, and ultimately to a large lake that almost always has something interesting to offer. The Park definitely lives up to its namesake.

The trailhead for this hike is easy to find.  Journey to Moosehorn NWR outside of Calais in Maine, and follow the well marked signage along Charlotte road to Headquarters Road in the Baring division part of the park.  Follow the signs to the Headquarters building, and drive past it a few hundred feet until you come to a large white building with a small parking lot.  There are bathrooms and clean running water here.  Leave your car - the hike begins here.

Follow the easy ATV trail towards Mullen Meadow.  This trail continues for 1.35 km, heading southwest.  As you get close to the part of the hike where you disappear into the tree line and go backcountry, you will pass by a small bog on your left, and a large lake area on your right.  Feel free to explore this area too -- it is quite nice.  

To continue on to Cranberry Lake, look for the sign for Headquarters Trail Road, which turns nearly due South and disappears into a heavily forested area.  It is a footpath that is blazed with blue occasionally, but it remains easy to see.  Volunteers from the NWR occasionally cut deadfall and clear branches.  Follow this trail a total of 5.30 km until you reach Cranberry Lake.  The trail does continue further into the trees if you wish to continue, but turning around here and backtracking  gets you a nice 11 km loop.

There are some side trails that you may also wish to explore, and a very nice old grown white pine forest along the path.

Pack List

  • Reasonable boots.  It can be swampy in the wet months because the trail runs close to some streams.
  • Insect repellent in the summer months.  Mosquitoes in Maine are legendary.
  • Water, Sunscreen, snacks.
  • Camera - there's a lot of wild life.  If you're into flowers and fungi, a macro lens can be handy.
Show More
RT Distance 6.8 Miles
Elevation Gain 3280.8 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn, Winter
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Easy Parking


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