For a scenic North Woods drive, set off on the roughly 20-mile stretch of this private east–west logging road near Baxter State Park northwest of Millinocket. Have patience with ruts and bumps, and yield to logging trucks (keep right!). From Millinocket follow the signs for Baxter State Park from Route 157. This scenic drive begins about 9 miles from town, at the crossover from Millinocket Lake Road to the Golden Road, the latter named for the huge sum a paper company paid to build it.
The North Woods Trading Post, a great stop for takeout and souvenirs and the last place to gas up before Baxter, is at this junction, across from Ambajejus Lake. From here it's about 9 miles on the Golden Road to one-lane Abol Bridge, which has parking areas on both sides. Take photos of Baxter's Mt. Katahdin from the footbridge alongside the bridge: this view is famous. Abol Bridge Campground, with a restaurant and store, is right before the bridge. Just beyond it is an access road for Debsconeag
Lakes Wilderness Area. From here the road flows alongside the West Branch of the Penobscot River.
At the western end of the drive, the river drops 70-plus feet per mile through Ripogenus Gorge, giving white-water rafters a thrilling ride during scheduled releases from Ripogenus Dam. The Crib Works Rapid (Class V) overlook is off the Golden Road about 10 miles from Abol Bridge. (Turn right on Telos Road; parking is on the right after the bridge.) To drive across the dam on Ripogenus Lake and view the gorge, return to the Golden Road and continue west to Rip Dam Road, which veers right about a mile after Telos Road. Returning to the crossover at the North Woods Trading Post, turn left for Baxter or right for Millinocket.