Little Lyford Pond Camps
- Be the first to Review
Top Pick for:
P.O. Box 310
Greenville, Maine 04441
Opened in 1873 as a timber camp for those tough-as-bark men who chopped down trees and then rode atop the logs on rapid-churning rivers to the paper mill, Little Lyford made the transition to a sporting camp at the turn of the 19th century. "Sports," as they would call them, would take the long train ride from Boston and New York to fish for native brook trout on the waters of the West Branch of the Pleasant River and hunt deer. In the past two decades, however, many of these rustic(+) More
Opened in 1873 as a timber camp for those tough-as-bark men who chopped down trees and then rode atop the logs on rapid-churning rivers to the paper mill, Little Lyford made the transition to a sporting camp at the turn of the 19th century. "Sports," as they would call them, would take the long train ride from Boston and New York to fish for native brook trout on the waters of the West Branch of the Pleasant River and hunt deer. In the past two decades, however, many of these rustic retreats, nestled deep in the woods across much of northern New England, have shuttered up and long since vanished because of declining business. Many have become private homes, never to be open to the public again.
Little Lyford was headed in that unfortunate direction when the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) made the bold move in 2003 to acquire it and two other historic sporting camps in Maine's famed 100-Mile Wilderness section. Best known for its hut-to-hut system in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the 90,000-member outdoor recreation and conservation organization hopes to convert these historic abodes into a sporting camp-to-sporting camp jaunt in the North Woods. They plan to add additional lodging in the future, but for now people can hike, canoe, or cross-country ski on a 60-mile corridor of pristine wilderness backed by the mountains of the Appalachian Trail and laced with hidden ponds and rivers that are populated with far more moose than humans.
At Little Lyford, seven cottages are nestled in a velvety green grove, surrounded by the tall pines and birches of the northern forest. Thankfully, the lodging has been updated since the days of lumbermen, but each cabin still has a rustic appeal with woodstoves and propane lanterns, along with heating and hot showers. Meals are still served family-style in the main lodge and you'll want a good hardy dinner after spending your day outdoors.
A short walk brings you to Little Lyford Pond, a majestic gem backed by the peaks of Baker and Indian mountains. Other trails lead to the West Branch of the Pleasant River, a tumbling stream teeming with brook trout, and Gulf Hagas, dubbed "the Grand Canyon of Maine," where the same river plunges through a narrow canyon, creating waterfalls and swimming holes. Good for a refreshing dip, Maine-style. The retreat is open year-round, so you can go cross-country skiing or dogsledding from sporting camp to sporting camp.(-) Close
Expert Review of Little Lyford Pond Camps
Active and Adventure Review of Little Lyford Pond Camps
- Many of the logging roads around Little Lyford are closed to motorized traffic, making for peaceful mountain biking.
- Several new hiking and skiing trails have been cleared around the camp, including one to Laurie's Ledge which has a view of Katahdin.
- Gulf Hagas, known as the "Grand Canyon of Maine" is just downstream from the camps.
Chuck and Rose James run the camp for the AMC and are North Woods natives. Chuck worked as a ranger in Baxter during college and Rose grew up in a nearby sporting camp. Rose runs the kitchen and her recipes are collected from years of camp cooking. There’s fresh bread at dinner and locally roasted coffee at breakfast. In the summer the Jameses keep a big vegetable garden for salad greens, fresh herbs, and vegetables. During the fall apples come from the trees next to the camp.(-) Close