Maine Outdoors: Exploring Natural Beauty in Bethel and Newry
The New England state of Maine is dream destination for explorers seeking dramatic landscapes, can’t-miss adventures and relaxing escapes from the coast to the mountains.
Surrounded by mountains, lush forests, covered bridges and cascading waterfalls, the villages of Bethel and Newry, located in Western Maine, offer a plethora of opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation in all seasons. Chances are, you’ll go for summer fun in the sun and decide to head back to hit the slopes during the snowy season.
Explore the quaint and quiet towns of Bethel and Newry, both established near the turn of the 19th century and just a 10-minute drive from each other. Find a selection of campgrounds, cozy inns, bed-and-breakfasts and chic resorts, all perfect bases to soak up the local charm and set off for thrilling outdoor recreation in any season.
Outdoor pursuits in the foothills of the Mahoosuc Range of the White Mountains include hiking, fishing and golfing in summer. Active kids and teenagers, especially, will enjoy a turn in the skate park along the Androscoggin River in Bethel. Adventurous types might want to follow the river and kayak all the way to Newry. In winter, bundle up for a horse-drawn carriage ride.
Mountain biking along a trail outside Newry
Sunday River Ski Resort
Halfway between the two towns, the posh yet unpretentious Sunday River Ski Resort offers several options for both accommodations and activities in all seasons. The area is especially beautiful in autumn, when the surrounding forest is ablaze with brilliant colors of fall foliage. Snowfall makes winter sports possible as early as October, with the Perfect Turn Ski & Snowboard School open mid-December through early April.
In warmer months, stroll the manicured grounds or venture into the natural landscapes. Play a round on a championship golf course that winds naturally through several elevation changes. Try zip lining over riverbeds and through forests, mountain biking on challenging trails, and riding the Chondola lift to the top of the Mahoosucs to see the vistas of eight mountain peaks surrounding the Sunday River Valley. Take lessons to learn how to kayak, stand-up paddleboard and become accurate at archery.
Lively start along the zip lining course in Sunday River Ski Resort
Rugged Hiking and Beautiful Waterfalls
While in the region, you won’t want to miss a chance for backcountry hiking on summit trails and seeing waterfalls. From Newry, follow Bear River Road, also known as Route 26, and drive north for about 15 kilometers to find Grafton Notch State Park. Here, you can hike 19 kilometers through rugged terrain on the Appalachian Trail, see falcons and songbirds, and find swimming holes along with two waterfalls: the seven-meter-tall Screw Auger Falls along the Bear River and Mother Walker Falls, a 12-meter-wide gorge that is nearly 300 meters long. Screw Auger is Maine’s most-visited waterfall; you’ll see why as you watch the water cascade in steps down the rocks. Read posted signs along your hike to learn the history of the falls, which were created by melting glaciers.
The soothing waters of Screw Auger Falls
Fly into Maine’s Portland International Jetport (PWM), rent a car and drive about 112 kilometers north to reach Bethel. Those opting to fly into Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) in Massachusetts will drive about 285 kilometers to get there.