Where to look for moose in Maine and tips for watching them

Photos by Cheryl Landes

Maine has an estimated 76,000 moose, which is the highest population in the United States outside Alaska, so if you know where and when to go, you have a good chance to see one or even a few.

The best places to see them are in swampy, boggy areas, but I’ve also seen them on strolls in the woods or hanging out at the side of the road. They love to stand in shallow water, where there are a lot of tender grasses they can munch on. They also roll in the mud to protect themselves from mosquitoes and flies.

Here are the prime spots to see moose in Maine:

  • U.S. 201 from The Forks to the Canadian border, which is nicknamed “Moose Alley“. During one of my drives on Route 201 from The Forks to Jackman, a mother moose and her calf stopped traffic in both directions while they stood in the middle of the road for 45 minutes at the summit between the two towns. We watched them from parked cars with the engines turned off. Mom and baby finally sauntered across the road, and everyone resumed their trips.
  • State Route 27 between Carrabassett and Eustis
  • State Route 6 from Dover-Foxcroft to Greenville. I’ve seen many moose grazing in fields along this road during drives at dawn.
  • Moosehead Lake, practically anywhere around the lake. One of their favorite hangouts is Lazy Tom Bog on Spencer Bay Road, 20 miles north of Greenville. Sometimes they’re even spotted in the town of Greenville.
  • The Golden Road, west of Millinocket
  • Baxter State Park, 17 miles north of Millinocket

Tips for moose watching

The best times to see the moose are at dawn and dusk. If you decide to go out on your own, remember that moose stress out easily and are unpredictable. If you see a moose, please keep these tips in mind:

  • Never approach a moose; keep a safe distance.
  • Do not make loud noises, because this scares moose and they might charge.
  • If you’re driving and a moose is standing in the road, do not try to go around it. Stop and wait for it to either cross the road or move away from the road. Moose have charged cars that have tried to go around them, and the car and driver usually lose.
  • Always keep an eye out for moose when you’re driving in Maine. They can appear out of nowhere, and they run fast. One time when I was driving in Baxter State Park, a moose appeared out of the woods and started running on the shoulder alongside my car on the passenger side. I was driving the speed limit in the park, 20 miles per hour, and the moose kept up with me. Two miles later, the moose suddenly veered to the right and disappeared in the woods. In this case, when the moose appeared, I continued driving, because if I had stopped, it could have scared the moose and the moose might have charged my car.
  • If you hit a moose, your car could be totaled. That moose who kept up with my car in Baxter State Park was an adolescent as tall as my car, a 2002 Honda CR-V. If the moose had decided to run in front of me and I couldn’t have stopped quickly enough, my car would have suffered severe damage, and I would have been hurt in the process.
  • Be extra careful after dark, because moose have dark coats and easily blend in with their surroundings. Often you don’t see them until you’re next to them.

See also:
Armchair photo tours: Moose watching near Millinocket, Maine


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