cross country skiing and snowshoeing in Bethel, Maine

The town of Bethel, Maine is a historic village that offers 130 km of groomed xc ski trails. It is home to three xc centers, The Bethel Inn, Carter's XC Ski Center, and the Outdoor Center, that provide groomed and tracked trails. The Bethel Inn trail network traverses the golf course offering vistas of the surrounding mountains. Carter's XC Ski Center ranges from trails along the Androscoggin River to the top of Farwell Mountain offering views of the Presidential Range and Sunday River Resort's alpine trails. The trails meander through the woods to a picturesque covered bridge. All centers are canine friendly as are several inns. The family pet is welcome to accompany the visit to Bethel but some restrictions or trail fees may apply.

Bethel was settled in 1774 and it has retained its small town lifestyle. One will not find nationally recognized retail or restaurant chains in Bethel village or any red traffic lights, either. In 1999 and again in 2008, the town set the record with the Guinness Book for the World's Tallest Snowman, a towering 113 feet, 7 inches. Besides xc skiing and snowshoeing at groomed Nordic ski centers, there's dogsledding trips and snowmobile rentals available. Many of the businesses in Bethel including the xc ski centers below organize special events on winter weekends and vacation weeks to encourage people to get out and enjoy the snow.

The Mountain Explorer is a free shuttle that links the xc ski areas, the village and Maine's largest alpine ski area, Sunday River in Newry, ME. The access road to the alpine ski area has restaurants and Main Street has many of the area's shops and restaurants, the Bethel Inn Resort as well as the Bethel Historical Society's Museum of Regional History and the Broad Street National Historic District. Check directly with the inns or other lodging establishments found at the Bethel chamber's Web site.

The Bethel Inn trails are behind the Bethel Inn, and it links with 35 km of marked and groomed trails. For a full page of info click Bethel Inn. Rental gear and lessons are available. If you’re a novice xc skier, this is a great place to learn as many of the field trails are quite gentle with mountain vistas. A special package includes the trail fee and entrance to the outdoor heated pool, sauna, and fitness center. There is a health club, spa, pub, and a restaurant at the Inn (800-654-0125). CCSAA member

The Carter's XC Ski Center (207-824-3880, www.cartersxcski.com) in Bethel has beautiful views of the Mahoosuc and Presidential mountain ranges, and the land has been in the Carter family for generations. Carter's XC Ski Center in Bethel is on 1,000 acres and has 55 km of groomed trails and 3 lodges. For a full page of info click Carter's XC Ski Center.

Bethel is 70 miles northwest of Portland, ME and 15 miles from the New Hampshire border. It is where US Route 2 and Maine Routes 5 and 26 converge.