Backcountry & River Camping

Photo Credits: Staff photos

Scenic campsites in remote settings await those who venture off the beaten path on

Maine's Parks and Public Lands. From wild coastal islands to the mountains and remote lake shores of interior Maine, we have campsites for you.

Remember: Be prepared for changeable weather and variable terrain. Plan outings wisely, don't exceed your ability or that of anyone in your group, and research where you are going. Plan ahead and prepare.

What to Expect

  • Remote campsites are almost exclusively first-come, first-serve; reservations are not generally possible.
  • Sites most often have a rustic picnic table, access to a pit toilet, and fire ring. Sites on the Maine Island Trail typically do not have these features.
  • Backcountry campsites are predominantly accessed by boat (often canoe or kayak) or foot.
  • Untreated firewood from outside of Maine has been banned. Please Buy It Where You Burn It!
  • Off-season and Winter Camping information.
  • Winter Camping Flyer (PDF).

Where to Go

Want to leave the car or truck behind and explore the wild backcountry? Here are some suggestions:

Paddling/Boating +

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Backpacking/Remote Hiking +

  • Deboullie Public Lands - The 21,871-acre Deboullie Public Lands offer remote campsites on crystal-clear trout ponds surrounded by low rugged mountains in a sea of forestland in north-central Aroostook County. Over 22 miles of hiking trails await exploration as well as several water-accessed campsites. Guide & Map (24x18-inches PDF 7MB). Call (207) 435-7963, the Northern Public Lands Office, to have a copy of the Guide & Map mailed to you.
  • Nahmakanta Public Lands - An extensive network of hiking trails lead visitors along lake shores, up to open ledges, and through deep forests in this 43,000-acre public land. The Appalachian Trail courses through Nahmakanta and interconnects with miles of hiking trails maintained by Maine Parks and Public Lands. Six pristine water-accessible campsites on Nahmakanta Lake as well as several hike-to campsites are available to paddlers and hikers. Guide & Map (24x18-inches PDF 3MB). Call (207) 941-4412, the Eastern Public Lands Office, to have a copy of the Guide & Map mailed to you.
  • Bigelow Preserve - The Bigelow Preserve encompasses the entire seven-summit Bigelow Range - including 4,150 feet West Peak, one of only 10 Maine summits over 4,000 feet in elevation. The Appalachian Trail and associated side trails enable several backpacking options on this remarkable public land. Guide & Map (24x18-inches PDF 2MB). Call (207) 778-8231, the Western Public Lands Office, to have a copy of the Guide & Map mailed to you.
  • Mahoosuc Public Lands & Grafton Notch State Park - Some of the most challenging terrain along the Appalachian Trail as well as the 38 mile Grafton Loop Trail provide a memorable mountain setting for backpacking in western Maine. Guide & Map (24x18-inches PDF 1.5MB). Call (207) 824-2912, Grafton Notch State Park, or (207) 778-8231, the Western Lands Office, to have a brochure mailed to you.
  • Cutler Coast Public Lands - Primitive campsites perched atop dramatic coastal cliffs in an unspoiled stretch of Atlantic coast are reached via miles of rugged hiking through a boreal forest and along an undeveloped coastline. Guide & Map (16x9-inches PDF 1.25MB). Call (207) 941-4412, the Eastern Public Lands Office, to have a copy of the Guide & Map mailed to you.
  • Appalachian Trail - 281 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) are in Maine. Mahoosuc, Four Ponds, the Bigelow Preserve, and Nahmakanta are prominent Public Lands crossed by the AT.

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Looking for a remote camping experience with the convenience of easy access to your vehicle?

Many public Lands provide car-camping sites in remote settings. These primitive camping sites are reached by traveling over gravel logging roads and generally share the same characteristics of the sites described above. Search for camping in Public Reserved Lands.