5 Best Sights in Greenville, The North Woods

Moosehead Cultural Heritage Center and Moosehead Lake Aviation Museum

Fodor's choice

At East Cove in downtown Greenville, a former church houses two of five Moosehead Historical Society museums. The center exhibits Native American artifacts and items from the Moosehead Lake region dating from 9,000 BC. Displays about Native American residents spotlight Henry Perley, a guide and author who gained fame as a performer in Wild West shows and movies. Changing exhibits explore local history and culture. The adjoining aviation museum reveals the impact of aviation—from early bush pilots to Greenville's annual International Seaplane Fly-In the weekend after Labor Day—in this remote region. One room focuses on the Air Force B-52 crash here in 1963 that killed seven of nine crew members (you can get information on hiking to the debris-littered crash site, now a memorial). Outside, sculptures honor Henry David Thoreau and his Penobscot guides, Chief Joseph Attean and Joseph Polis, who departed with him from Greenville for Maine's wilds.

Moosehead Historical Society Museums

Fodor's choice

Anchoring the society’s campus in Greenville Junction is the Eveleth-Crafts-Sheridan Historical House, a large 1890s home that’s changed little since the last resident of a prominent Greenville family lived here. Each year there’s a new changing exhibit within the period rooms. The original kitchen, state of the art back in the day, is a highlight of the guided tours; cooks will also savor the museum’s collection of old utensils and kitchen items in a basement gallery. You can even check out the attic. In the home’s carriage house the Moosehead Lumbermen's Museum has exhibits about the region's logging history. A highlight here is a 30-foot bateau used on log drives until the 1960s. Upstairs next to the society's office, a display about hotels on Mt. Kineo, where wealthy Americans flocked to vacation in the rusticator era, is a visitor favorite. In the barn, the Moosehead Outdoor Heritage Museum's covers subjects like Maine Warden Service flight rescues and wildlife—there are bobcat, moose, and caribou mounts. Outside is a sunken garden.

444 Pritham Ave., Greenville, ME, 04442, USA
Sight Details
Rate Includes: $7.50 (includes guided tours of all three museums), Closed mid-Oct.–late June and Sat.–Tues. late June–mid-Oct. (Lumbermen’s Museum open year-round Tues.-Fri., $3 off-season)

Gulf Hagas

Called the “Grand Canyon of the East” and part of the Appalachian Trail Corridor, this National Natural Landmark has chasms, cliffs, four major waterfalls, pools, exotic flora, and intriguing rock formations. The West Branch of the Pleasant River flows through the 3-mile, slate-walled gorge east of Greenville in a remote, privately owned commercial forest, KI Jo-Mary, which allows access via gravel logging roads (always yield to trucks). A fee (cash or check only) is charged from late spring to late fall at forest checkpoints, where you can get trail maps and hiking information.

From either parking area you can hike to one of the showcase falls and mostly avoid the difficult rim trail. A good choice for families with young children: start at Head of Gulf parking area for a 3½-mile round-trip hike to Stair Falls on the gorge's western end. From the Gulf Hagas parking area, it's a 3-mile round-trip hike to spectacular Screw Auger Falls on the gulf's eastern end. Gulf hikers who start from this parking area must ford the Pleasant River—usually easily done in summer, but dangerous in high water—and pass through the Hermitage, a stand of old pines and hemlock. A loop route that follows the rim and the less difficult Pleasant River Tote Trail is an 8- to 9-mile trek; there are shorter loops as well. Slippery rocks and rugged terrain make for challenging progress along the rim trail.

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Lily Bay State Park

Nine miles northeast of Greenville on Moosehead Lake, this 925-acre park has good lakefront swimming, a 2-mile walking trail with water views, two boat-launching ramps, a playground, and two campgrounds with a total of 90 sites. In winter, the entrance road is plowed to access the groomed cross-country ski trails and the lake for ice fishing and snowmobiling.

Mount Kineo

Accessible primarily by steamship, Kineo House was a thriving upscale summer resort that sits below its namesake's 700-foot cliff on an islandlike, 1,200-acre peninsula jutting into Moosehead Lake. The last of three successive hotels with this name was built in 1884 and became America's largest inland waterfront hotel. It was torn down in 1938, but Kineo remains an outstanding day trip. Trails to the summit of the spectacular landmark, now part of Mount Kineo State Park, lead to a fire tower that rewards with a 360-degree sweep of Maine's largest lake and rugged mountains. Hikers scramble on the challenging Indian Trail, but it also has amazing views. All hikes begin on the Carriage Trail, a flat, shore-hugging remnant of the halcyon hotel days. You can play a round on the 9-hole Mount Kineo Golf Course, one of New England's oldest. There is no road access, but you can take a 15-minute boat trip to Mount Kineo from Rockwood on the golf course's seasonal shuttle (fee). Historic summer "cottages" line the greens near the small clubhouse, which has a snack bar and welcomes hikers.