The Best Outdoor Adventures in Bangor 

MAINE IS KNOWN FOR ITS NATURAL BEAUTY, AND THE GREATER BANGOR AREA IS NO EXCEPTION. LOCATED ON THE BANKS OF THE PENOBSCOT RIVER AMID HANDSOME FORESTS AND ROLLING FARMLANDS, BANGOR ENTICES RESIDENTS AND VISITORS ALIKE TO GET OUT AND ENJOY THE OUTDOORS.

Parks and Trails

Bangor’s waterfront has been recently revitalized and walkers love to stroll along its scenic banks, have a picnic lunch, or just enjoy the view.

There are also many parks where you can stretch your legs or simply grab a bench to catch up on some reading. Cascade Park, a longtime favorite, features a regal fountain, inviting picnic tables, benches, and even a waterfall. The park is a pleasant place for outdoor gatherings and an amazing backdrop for a wedding.

The Bangor City Forest (the Rolland F. Perry City Forest) is home to hundreds of wild animals, including deer, moose, bears, turkeys, beavers, birds, and rabbits. Walk, hike, or bike the nine miles of groomed trails on over 680 acres of land at the forest, as well as four miles of access roads. There you may find yourself admiring a doe and her fawns or marveling at the vibrant autumn colors of changing leaves.

photo of person cross country skiing
Cait Bourgault Photography

The nearby Orono Bog Boardwalk adds an educational slant to a delightful walk. The University of Maine in Orono also features an educational garden. The Lyle E. Littlefield Garden is filled with plants and trees of many kinds and is a teaching garden for the school’s horticulture students. Take a leisurely stroll and learn the names of the beautiful plants around you. Windswept Gardens is another haven for plant-lovers. Located on Broadway in Bangor, take a stroll through the two-acre display gardens, complete with croquet court and pagoda pavilion.

If you’re looking for a little adventure, Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Old Town is a great trip. You can enjoy a self guided canoe or walking trail. Canoes are available free of charge on site!

Scour the Greater Bangor area in search for hidden geocaches and travel bugs using your GPS device or smartphone. There are 296 caches within a five-mile radius of Bangor and more than 987 within a 25-mile radius of Bangor.

Warm Weather Sports

Can’t wait to hit the links in the spring? The region has some of the best golfing available. Visit Bangor Municipal Golf Course for a game or two while you’re in town. In addition to the 27-hole golf course, there is also a grass tee driving range, two practice greens, a shortgame practice facility, a fully stocked pro shop, and a staff of PGA professionals that offer a wide variety of instructional programs.

Looking for more adrenaline pumping action? Don’t miss the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race, held each year on the third weekend in April. This race is one of the largest paddling events in the country and is the largest in New England, covering 16.56 miles. Try your skills and participate or be a “vulture” and watch as many try to conquer the rapids. Thrill seekers can go whitewater rafting on the Dead River or take a plane ride with Scenic Flights of Acadia.

photo of white water rafters on penobscot river
Penobscot River
Photo by Northeast Whitewater

Wildlife Watching

Are you a bird watcher? A good place to take a bird or nature walk is the Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden. There are smooth manicured trails, and in the spring and early summer, red-winged blackbirds and bluebirds sing as bitterns hide in the marsh. Maine Audubon has another sanctuary off Essex Street in Bangor called the West Penjajawoc Grasslands. This area features a beautiful green field with mowed paths that are easy to traverse, and where you can often find bobolinks in the spring and early summer. Hirundo Wildlife Refuge and Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge are two sanctuaries that are home to over 200 different bird species and 45 species of mammals.

If you’re hoping to see a moose during your visit, consider hiring a registered guide or join a moose safari. These moose experts know just where and when to take their guests to spot moose. The Maine Guide Service offers moose tours year round, and within the entire Maine Highlands Region—a great day trip if you’ve got the time! While you’re in the Maine outdoors, you are bound to spot some other native wildlife and beautiful views, too.

photo of moose standing in moosehead lake in front of mountain
Moosehead Lake
Photo by James Ogden

Winter Fun

There are more than a dozen Maine Snowmobile Association-recognized clubs within The Maine Highlands tourism region.

We have many trailside accommodations in our area, with access to thousands of miles of groomed and maintained trails. For the snowmobiler without a snowmobile, there are many rental locations that are more than willing to help get you on the trail.

photo of person on snowmobile on maine lake in winter
Photo by Taylor Dow

There is nothing more beautiful than a freshly snow-covered forest in the early morning. Spending time in our woods is one of the best ways to truly experience winter. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing provide the peaceful escape that many seek when visiting. There are miles of groomed and ungroomed trails specifically for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Another unique adventure in the Greater Bangor Region is the opportunity to take sledding to a whole new level, either behind a team of dogs or at Hermon Mountain. There are many formal sled-dog races and opportunities to try out dogsledding in our area.

Hermon Mountain provides a lift to the top of the mountain and over 600 feet of “chutes” for specially-designed tubes—riders can experience the thrill of a lifetime! Hermon Mountain also offers downhill skiing and snowboarding, which is the perfect combination of winter activities to excite the whole family.

photo of sled dogs pulling a sled and rider
Justin Russell Photography

Looking to take to the ice? Whether in an arena or on a frozen pond, or man-made rink, the Greater Bangor Region has plenty of indoor and outdoor ice skating opportunities.