Snowmobile Trail Report, Jan. 21, 2021

Gary Marquis, Special to The County
3 years ago

This report is not the one I enjoy writing at this time of year.   It seems that 2020 rubbed off on 2021.  The potential snowstorm that we were supposed to get last weekend ended up being more sleet and rain than snow.  Some parts of The County saw 6 inches while most of us saw a measly 2 inches, but something is better than nothing.

The clubs that have railbeds and logging roads are reporting decent conditions and the clubs that have wooded sections that go through swamps or open fields are reporting poor conditions.

The County is known for its interconnecting trail system between towns from one end to the other.  Unfortunately, there are not a lot of connections going on.  There are a few loops that you can ride and be generally happy with.

Caution must be used when riding through fields, so please make sure that you stay between markers or where the groomer has been.  This doesn’t mean that the occasional rock has been turned up and you must ride with caution — these are very early season conditions.

Please use common sense on the lakes.  Portage Lake is marked, and they recommend staying near the markers.   Long Lake does not have markers on it yet.   If you don’t need to go on the lakes, then don’t.  Hopefully the next couple of nights will help freeze them better.


Soldier Pond is reporting that their 96 and trail 73 are both done and in pretty good condition.  There are some rough areas so please use caution.  Watch out for the moose.

Washburn Snowmobile Club reporting that they are going to do their system except for 61 tomorrow, this is trail 105 and ITS 83N.

Nordic Lakers reporting that they have not been through their system and are waiting on more snow.  Their section of 105 is still holding up OK but there are rocks so please be careful.  Trail 81 has a reroute on it and they have not been out through this trail yet — this is a trail to avoid.  Sledders can access North Star variety from trail 88. There is a small stretch that is not groomed to the store. It is marked; please follow markers as this business access has changed.

Portage Lakers are reporting that they are waiting for more snow.  They do report a section of logging road on 85 that has been plowed and has very little snow.

Caribou is reporting that they have groomed to the Sullivan road on ITS 83 and have also groomed into town.  Note:  Par and Grill has a new access trail. It is signed.  Must ride along Aldrich drive and cross Route 89 at a diagonal.  Once there is more snow the groomer will use the snowbank.   The crosstown trail to the AVR is also groomed and in OK shape.  83B and trail 88 are groomed and in good condition.  Remember trail 88 is currently a dead-end trail.  Caribou has also opened County Sports, First Choice Variety and Gary’s Yamaha.   The rest of our trail system which includes trail 89, ITS 90E, 83A and 90W will not be touched as we have many open fields to cross. We will get them at the next big storm.   If sledders are staying at the Caribou Inn and Convention center or Russell’s Motel, the best advice is to keep sleds on your trailers and park at the Otter Stream Park and Ride, which is located off Route 89. Follow the street signs.

Fort Kent is reporting that they have panned their entire system.  Very early season conditions — they have uncovered rocks, some water holes, very rough and open terrain.  No signs are up.

Eagle Lake is reporting good conditions as they are on a lot of logging roads, which does make for a smoother trail.   They are contending with two logging operations.  The first one is just as you get on the 120 from 85 and the other one is on the Southern end of 85 where they meet with Portage.  Both areas are well marked.

Fort Fairfield is reporting that they are waiting on more snow.

St. Francis Sno-Angels are reporting that they have fixed the water hole on ITS 92 on the way to Chamberlain Store.  Trails are 80 percent condition and they are going to do the rail bed and Carter Brook trail Thursday night.

Central Aroostook Snowmobile Club is reporting that their ITS 83 section of rail bed is in decent shape.  They have not been out with the groomer as they are waiting for more snow.

Ashland is reporting they may go out this weekend and see what they can do.  They are reporting only 6 inches of snow and over half of their trails are through rugged sections.

Allagash is reporting that they have panned to Chamberlain’s store on 92 and panned the Deboullie trail 120.

Frenchville is reporting that they have opened and groomed ITS 85, the airport trail and their Fort Kent trail.  They have also done 81B and 73B.  Fields still need more snow.

Red Arrow is reporting that they have panned their entire system and plan on doing it again on Thursday.  They are planning on putting up signs over the weekend.

Chapman Ridge Runners are reporting that their entire system is signed and pass at your own risk as they are waiting for more snow.

Aroostook River Snowmobile Club 105 from Mapleton to Washburn is groomed and in great shape. ITS 88 is groomed from the club house (the trail beyond the club to Ashland is passable and will be groomed this weekend) to the intersection behind Chandler Farms.  From there we did not go over Haines Hill to connect with PI, but it is passable.  83a and 76 from Chandler Farms have been done.  76 is a dead end as the river crossing is not frozen. The J Trail(81A) is also groomed. With all of that said everything except the rail bed (105) is extremely rough and very dangerous.  If you like your A arms and skis, please stay on marked trails.  There is only about 6-8 inches of snow cover and there are hazards everywhere — open water, rocks, logs and lots of other hazards.  We do not have enough snow to groom anything a second time. Please be careful and tread lightly, because what we have may be all we have to work with for a while.

Easton is reporting they are waiting for more snow, more fields and not much for snow.

Madawaska is reporting that they have panned and are reporting not bad conditions.  Fields are still skimpy. Please use caution.

Grand Isle is reporting they are waiting for more snow.

Presque Isle Snowmobile Club is reporting they are waiting for more snow.  Their rail bed trails are passable and in decent shape.

Van Buren is reporting their 105 is in good shape.  They have groomed 79 to the lake.  They have also done 96 and their section of 81 back to town.  This should make for a good loop ride.

Limestone Snow Hawks are reporting that they are trying to pan and filling in holes.  Still need snow in the fields.

Caswell (Pleasant Ridge Riders) are reporting trying to get out this weekend to pan.  Need more snow.


Bowlin Matagamon Shin Pond Snowmobile Club:  All trails were groomed Sunday night 3/1 into the early hours of Monday 3/2.  Monday is a scheduled non grooming day due to lower traffic. Tuesday was a beautiful warm bluebird day with excellent riding. Unfortunately

Tuesday night was too warm to groom. We received some rain Wednesday morning that did no damage followed by snow flurries.  Wednesday night is usually our other scheduled non grooming night but due to not being able to groom Tuesday groomers will be out tonight when temps fall below freezing. All trails will be groomed after starting tonight and there will again be great conditions in time for the weekend.

There are weeks of great riding still left so don’t get caught watching your grass grow and get up here.

East Grand Snowmobile Club is reporting that trails have not been groomed, they need a foot or more before they can get out.  They recommend staying off the trails until more snow.

Molunkus Valley Snowmobile Club

Linneus Sno Sports volunteers have been busy clearing brush and have not been able to mark every hazard so please use common sense.  Have not been out as they are also looking for more snow.

Oxbow-Masardis Snowmobile Club reporting We are working on getting ITS 85 open between Shin Pond and Oxbow for the weekend. If all goes well, we will have the connection with Libby’s Camps at least signed open. The base is thin after grooming but with caution it is rideable. Still unsure about ITS 85 north of Oxbow currently.
The major issue we are deal with is the continued use of the trails by 4×4 pickups. With the limited snow cover they can drive most anywhere. This is a real safety issue for us as it damages the trail base in areas that have frozen water holes that will support a snowmobile but not a pickup. In compliance with Maine State law it is illegal to operate a vehicle other than a snowmobile on snowmobile trails without landowner permission.
We will update our progress later in the week.

Big Valley Sno Club (Island Falls)

Meduxnekeag Ramblers Snow sled club is still out clearing brush from the storm back a month ago, the railbed is clear of brush and are going to have the trail to St. Croix finished by the weekend.  Still need more snow.

Patten Rockabema Snow Rangers are looking for help this Saturday at 10am.  Looking to finish bridge work on ITS 81.  They are also looking for more snow.

Benedicta Snow Gang are reporting not doing anything waiting for more snow.

Eastern Maine Snow Riders(Macwahoc) reporting that more snow is needed.

For the most up-to-date grooming information of our trail system and groomer tracking please visit