There are several biking trails and roadways that are biker-friendly throughout the St. John Valley.
Essentially, any ATV trail or dirt road can act as a biking trail, provided the biker is aware of the motor vehicle traffic. However, a few biking-specific trail areas allow bikers to enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about ATVs or cars.
The Four Seasons Lodge in Madawaska has miles of trails for every biker to enjoy.
In the winter, these trails are made for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, but in the summer months they are groomed and kept for walking, hiking, and biking.
Bikers can pick and choose from a variety of trails, ranging in difficulty from easy to rough terrain.
If a person is looking for a quick bike ride through the trees around the Four Seasons, the Acadia FCU loop is a perfect 1.2 miles long and stays close to the lodge. The Marathon loop, which incorporates the Acadia FCU loop, the Powerline loop and the Cross loop, is 6.4 miles long and takes bikers through the hillier, more difficult trail system, making this loop perfect for the more experienced bikers. There are a total of 13 loops to choose from at the Four Seasons.
The 10th Mountain Ski Center in Fort Kent also provides bikers with ample trails to cruise along, including trails that have been skied on by some of the world’s finest biathletes during the World Cup Championships a year ago.
Ranging in length of two to three miles, these loops incorporate the hills and curvy twists and turns that make the trails at 10th Mountain some of the most difficult cross-country trails in the world.
The trails are one way to enjoy the 10th Mountain Ski Center outside of the winter months, as many athletes can be found training there during the summer.
For those who would like a straighter, less complicated bike ride, the Heritage Trail that runs from Fort Kent, through St. John and into St. Francis could suit their needs.
Primarily used as an ATV trail, the Heritage Trail can be easily accessed from Pleasant Street in Fort Kent, with several stops throughout, including the Fort Kent Golf Course, the American Dream in St. John, and several other areas throughout.
The trail totals 17 miles from Fort Kent to St. Francis, but bikers can jump on and off as they see fit.
The trail runs through several logging areas, as well as dense forest, giving bikers a variety of scenery as they pedal through.
Road biking has also become a favorite pastime of many bikers in the St. John Valley, though these trips can become rigorous with the hills for which the Valley is well known.
For a flatter ride, the loop from Fort Kent, through Frenchville and St. Agatha to Sinclair, cutting onto Route 161 and back to Fort Kent is a good cruise for the biker looking to put in several miles in a shorter amount of time, as the road remains relatively flat for a good length of the trip.
Bikers looking for a more arduous road trek can start in Fort Kent and head towards Soldier Pond. From there they can bike up the hill to connect onto Route 11 back to Fort Kent. Though the mileage is shorter than the Fort Kent to Route 161 loop, the up and down hills of Route 11 provide a difficult bike ride for even the most experienced cyclists.
For bikers outside of the Fort Kent area, biking from Van Buren to Madawaska and back again, or vice versa for those starting in Madawaska, can also be an enjoyable ride. This trip will take a rider through the smaller, historic towns of St. David and Grand Isle.
There are also several bike tours offered throughout the spring, summer and fall months.
These bicycling tours feature day trips, as well as overnight trips throughout the St. John Valley and into the nearby New Brunswick and Quebec provinces in Canada.
For more information on those trips, visit www.makefreshtracks.com.