Rangeley, Bald Mt. and Mingo Springs

About a month ago, pal Steve and I assayed a golf trip to scenic Rangeley, Maine, driving north on ME-4 through Farmington and on through Phillips, Strong and tiny Madrid (Mainers pronounce it MAD-rid, accent on the first syllable!) and then up the east shore of Rangeley Lake to the four-season destination of Rangeley. Rangeley is one of my favorite spots in Maine, and a place to which I would seriously consider re-locating; smack in the western mountains, hard aside the beautiful and remote Rangeley, Mooselookmeguntic and Richardson Lakes, within an hour of gorgeous Flagstaff Lake (all with world-class fishing), Rangeley is also home to Saddleback Mountain, one of the premier ski destinations in the state. Summer and winter, and with an attractive and engaging “downtown” and a cornucopia of outdoor activities to offer, Rangeley could occupy a person year-round.

We began our adventure at Rangeley Lake State Park. Typical of Maine state parks, RLSP offers well-forested and mostly private campsites, each with picnic table and fireplace, along with clean and modern bathhouses complete with showers. I regret that for some reason I did not photograph our campsite here, but you can view any other Maine state park blog post on this site and you’ll get the idea. What is odd about RLSP is that the “beach” is really more of a grassy lawn, with three stone staircases down to the water. At low water (as was the case when we visited) there is also a small strip of sand beach below the bank of the lawn, but I suspect that for most of the summer, you would be stepping from the staircase right into the water. The Little Guy fit easily into our campsite and we enjoyed the trailer without hookups for the duration of our stay, adding more water late in the week to the freshwater tank via a four-gallon jug which we filled and carried from the nearby spigot.

As for the golf, we found Mingo Springs to be an attractive and enjoyable course. Though not quite on par with Maine’s very best, the course did offer a number of attractive lake and mountain views, and some challenging holes as well.

Of equal interest was the climb to nearby Bald Mountain, which we completed on the last day of our trip. The Bald Mtn. trailhead is located by traveling west from Rangeley on ME-4/16 to Oquossoc, then across the Carry Road to Haines Landing (see the Cupsuptic Lake post for a photo of this lovely spot), and then about a mile south on the Bald Mountain Road. This is a fairly short but rugged trail; an hour’s worth of steady climbing brings you to the summit and its observation tower, from which spectacular 360-degree views can be enjoyed. The photos really do not do justice to the experience.

After enjoying the tower views, we climbed back down to the summit and ate our lunch at one of the two available picnic tables.

When we left Rangeley, rather than take ME-4 back through Farmington, we instead opted for scenic ME-17 and the Height-Of-Land, as Steve had never been there. I did a complete post on this glorious spot back in 2016 if you wish to read it, but here is how it looked on our September 2022 trip:

In my opinion, it is impossible to overstate the magnificence of the Rangeley Lakes region as a year-round vacation destination. From the hiking, paddling and world-class fishing available in the summer, to the skiing and world-class snowmobiling available in the winter, there is no end to the outdoor fun to be had in the Rangeley Lakes. Spend a week or a month there!

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