The famous question while traveling to Maine is “Where to see Moose in Maine?
With the biggest population in the lower 48 states and only second to Alaska, Maine is definitely the place if you want to see moose.
I’ve always been fascinated with them, not sure if it is because of their size or their beauty but it is really a thrill seeing them in the wild.
One time we were in Maine (Moosehead Lake region) when we got to see 2 male moose locking antlers, wow what a site and even a little scary. Although most of the time we see them it reminds me of how gentle these large creatures can be seeing them with their young and feeding in the bogs.
Moose Population in Maine
At one point the moose population in Maine was over 100,000 but today it is estimated that there are around 50,000.
The numbers are based upon the number of roadkill by automobile accidents as well as the count of killed moose by hunters. Between both, there are about 2,000 to 3,500 moose killed each year.
Although there are few predators of the adult moose, the calves are a different story. Black bears and coyotes go after the young when born. Maine has the most black bear population on the east coast with about 35,000. However, bears are not a predator of the adult moose.
There are 3 parasites in Maine that infect moose: brain worm, ticks, and lungworm. All three of these could mean death to a calf but only brain worm would cause an adult moose to die.
By knowing a little more about moose gives you clues on where to see them. So here’s a list of moose facts:
- Moose eat about 35 to 50 lbs. of food a day and can hold up to 100 lbs. in their stomachs
- They can run to 35 mph and swim up to 10 miles a day
- Diet consists of leaves and twigs of woody plants
- During the summer they eat underwater aquatic plants such as pondweed and water lily
- During the winter they will eat Balsam Fir even though they can’t live on that alone
- Moose need sodium in their diet
- Natural salt licks are rare in Maine that’s why you will see Moose along the road licking the salt runoff
- Average life expectancy is 8 years for a cow and 7 years for a bull however they can live into their teens but rarely past 20
- The average length of a bull moose is 9 feet and the average height is 6 feet
- Moose are made to sustain the long cold snowy winters in Maine
- Best time to see moose is in the morning or around dusk
- The skin hanging under the moose’s mouth is called a bell and both males and females have it.
- Since moose like to eat water plants, bogs and marshes are areas to explore
Best Places to see Moose in Maine
Although you can see moose anywhere in the state, if you’re lucky enough, most sightings are in the northern part. That being said let’s go over the most likely places where you see moose in Maine.
Note: All the places mentioned in this article are places to see moose from the road or short hikes. For other places, try canoeing the lakes in northern Maine.
Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park is a truly Maine’s hidden gem and a true wilderness experience. You can see moose anywhere in Baxter State Park but some ponds are known moose hangouts. This park is a great place to see moose.
Grassy Pond and Sandy Stream Pond during summer is a great place to all day long. These are short family-friendly hikes and I’ve seen moose here every time.
Golden Road is a logging road in Northern Maine. The area is secluded and has woods, ponds, bogs, and lakes. This 96-mile road runs from Millinocket Maine to the Canada border and is privately owned by the paper mills.
This is moose territory and you can spot them anywhere especially in marshy areas. A good place to head is to Compass Pond or Abol Bridge, hopefully, one will be eating there.
One evening we were driving on this Golden Road when we saw a bull, cow and calve walking along the road. We slowed down and watched the cow scooted her baby into the woods. What a sight of a lifetime, unfortunately, we never got a photo, but it will remain in my memory forever.
When driving this dirt road at night, remember to use caution as you never know when a moose can come out of the woods.
To learn more about Baxter State Park and Golden Road read my article here.
Moosehead Lake Region
Moosehead Lake area was the first place I’ve ever seen a moose in the wild some 2o years ago and I have to say that although we go there often, I’ve always seen moose when traveling in that area.
There are many places in this area to spot moose so here are the most common places to look:
- Route 15 between Greenville and Rockwood Maine, you can spot them along the road and in the marshes
- Shirley Bog on 15, 5 miles south of the Greeneville Corner, go west on Shirley Road for 4 miles, bog is on the right
- All along Lily Bay Road heading north of Greenville, for 20 miles to a small town called Kokadjo, if you’re lucky you will see them on the road
- Lazy Tom Bog is in Kokadjo, passed the bridge on Lily Bay Road, stay to your left and you will see a bridge over Lazy Tom Stream, look there and wait a little while.
- Department of Transportation (DOT) in Greenville about 4.5 miles from the visitor’s center on the right, look for moose across from the DOT. This is one of the best places to spot them
- On Route 201, From West Forks to Jackson (this is known as Moose Alley) along the road and there are many logging roads off that road that are great places to spot moose
- Also, the road from Rockwood to Jackman (RT 15), look along the road I’ve seen many moose here. There is several ponds, bogs, marsh area that’s where you look
Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
Established in 2016, Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument begins east of Baxter State Park and is a recreational area with hiking, mountain biking, fishing, canoeing, camping, hunting and snowmobiling covering over 83,000 acres.
The area is a great place to see moose. Watch for them along the Katahdin Loop Road a 17-mile drive around the southern portion of the park.
There are several lakes in this area where moose frequent. Here are some of the places to look:
- Mooseleuk Lake on Jackman Road
- Christina Reservoir on Conant Road, look on the north shore
- Big Machias Lake 20 miles west from Ashland on American Realty Road
- Pratt Lake, continue another 5 miles from Big Machias Lake to Pratt Lake
Rangeley Lake Region
Rangeley Lake Region is in Western Maine. Here are a few spots to look for moose:
- RT 16 from Rangeley to Stratton
- Rt 16 from Rangeley to Wilson Mills, Wilson Mills sightings to the New Hampshire Border
- RT 16/27 between Stratton to Carrabassett Valley
- RT 27 between Kingfield and New Vineyard
- RT 4 from Phillips to Rangeley
- RT 142 between Phillips and Weld
- Rt 27 between Eustis and the Chain of Ponds
I’ve been to Rangeley and didn’t see any moose at the time. On another trip, we were in New Hampshire and decided to take a moose safari and they brought us into the Rangeley area and we did see moose on that trip.
When in moose country and you don’t see a moose why not take a moose safari. Many different types of tours are offered through the areas with the biggest moose population.
You can take a van tour, jeep tour, boat, and even canoe tours that offer close up experiences given by Maine guides. These folks know where to go to see moose. And although not guaranteed some offer another free tour if you don’t see moose.
I’ve been on many moose tours through the years and my favorite was a van tour to several lakes then a canoe ride to get up close to the moose. Boy, what an experience and my whole family still talks about it today.
We got to see a cow with 2 calves and even a bull moose. The guide was the best, reminded us of Daniel Boone (he had the hat) was very informative about moose and where they go and why.
I would differently recommend this kind of tour when you’re in the Moosehead area. We also did just a van tour and another time a boat tour but by far the canoe experience was the best.
For information on moose safaris in the Moosehead Lake area check out this website.
Happy Moose Watching
Although moose are gentle animals you must always remember they are wild animals and caution and common sense should be used when looking for moose.
Always stay your distance especially when cows are with their young and bull moose in the rut. You never want to get even close to a bull moose during the rut season (around October) as this can be very dangerous.
Always remember they are wild animals.
There is nothing like experiencing this mighty large creature in its own environment. I hope you get to see moose in the wild on your next trip to Maine. You won’t regret it. All you need is to know is where to look, have patience and some luck!
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