Aroostook State Park is Maine’s first state park. It’s located just off Route 1, and only 10 miles south of Presque Isle.
The park is close to 1000 acres of trails in the woods and sits by the shore of 84-acre Echo Lake. Quaggy Jo is a mountain within this Maine state park, offering hikers far-reaching views across northern Maine.
The park is a four-season destination with fine examples of Maine flora and fauna as well as plenty of outdoor adventures. Along with camping, these include boating, swimming, fishing, birding, hiking, skiing, skating, and snowshoeing.
Activities at Aroostook State Park
Aroostook State Park is good for a day visit or a week-long camping trip, as there’s plenty to do, along with being outdoors. Whatever you plan, prepare for fun and relaxation in or on the water, sitting by a campfire, or getting out on the trail or sliding after the latest snowstorm.
It’s a good idea to have cash on hand for your day fee. One activity you’re not likely to engage in is use of your cellphone as reception here is iffy.
Boating at Aroostook State Park
There’s a public boat launch and dock at Aroostook State Park. Echo Lake is 84 acres with a maximum depth of 9 feet.
It’s primarily used for fishing, personal watercraft, jet skis, and motorboats. The park has a limited number of canoes and kayaks for rent during the summer.
Swimming at Aroostook State Park
Swimming is readily accessible at a grassy spot on the shores of 84-acre Echo Lake. There’s a grassy picnic area with parking, tables, a playground, and changing rooms. There are no lifeguards in attendance.
Hiking at Aroostook State Park
Aroostook State Park has a variety of hiking trails. Take your pick of these:
- Notch Trail is a moderate ¼-mile that follows a brook
- South Peak Trail heading up Quaggy Jo Mountain is ¾-mile each way, moderate, and can be accessed from the campground
- North Peak Trail is a 1 ¼-mile hike each way and accessed from day parking
- The QuaQuaJo Nature Trail is a 1-plus-mile loop through a forest filled with flora and fauna
- Ridge Trail is an easy mile hike between the North and South Peaks
Biking at Aroostook State Park
Although biking is not listed as an activity within the park, there are plenty of road options nearby. There are routes around Echo Lake and to nearby sites of interest. Plus, Presque Isle is a mere 6-mile ride north.
Fishing at Aroostook State Park
You can fish from a boat or the dock on Echo Lake as long as you have a Maine fishing license. You can get yours quickly right online.
There are also several outfitters in Presque Isle that’ll set you up with any gear you need. The fish most often caught here are Brook Trout and Banded Killifish.
Birding at Aroostook State Park
Birding is a year round activity here. Aroostook County is home to a wide array of variety of birds. There are bald eagles who are here year round as are wild turkeys.
Small varieties you’re likely to see any time of year include nuthatches, juncos, blue jays, mourning doves, crows, and ravens.
The density of the woods provides a rich setting for barred and other owls.
Echo Lake is home to diving ducks and gulls, both seasonal arriving after ice-out and departing before the lake freezes.
Warmer spring weather brings purple finch, evening grosbeaks, and an assortment of fly-catchers and sparrows.
The QuaQuaJo and Notch Trails are well suited for warm weather birding. Birding is one more reason to go snowshoeing.
Nature & Wildlife
The area surrounding Aroostook State Park is home to large and small wildlife. This includes moose, bear, deer, coyote, fox, Canadian lynx, fishers, and the usual smaller species, such as rabbits, mink, squirrels, chipmunks. Plus there are snakes and turtles.
Some of these, such as bears, and reptiles hibernate during most or all of the winter. Despite this, the same guidance applies. Give animals the right of way; don’t approach them; keep food securely stored; and get in touch with a park attendant if an animal is acting strangely, as in acting aggressively or sickly.
Pets at Aroostook State Park
Dogs are welcome here if kept on a leash, not left unattended, and not taken on ski trails in winter. As in all parks, pet waste needs to be disposed of.
Camping at Aroostook State Park
There are 30 camp sites, with three being non-reservable. Each site has a table and fireplace with firewood available for purchase. There are tent and camper pop-up sites as well as those that accommodate campers greater than 35 feet. Two sites have water and electric hookups.
Two sites are wheelchair accessible, as is one bathroom. There is a small group walk-in site. Spigots are strategically placed within the campground as are restrooms and showers are available.
Winter Activities at Aroostook State Park
When winter conditions are right, the park is a perfect spot to visit. There’s cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating, snowmobiling, sliding, and camping.
You’ll find a warming hut on the cross-country trail. The cross-country trail is 15 miles long with blue markers indicating the novice trails, yellow for a moderate outing, and red for a strenuous, partially uphill experience.
The 6-mile snowshoe trail goes to the top of Quaggy Jo Mountain. You can skate on Echo Lake when the ice is thick and there’s no snow. ITS-83 snowmobile trail crosses through the park.
Aroostook State Park
87 State Park Road
Presque Isle, ME 04769
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Aroostook State Park: