Millinocket was established as a lumbering colony in the early 1900s, and today it is a meals, supplies, and lodging hub for those visiting Baxter State Park and the wilderness surrounding it. At 204,733-acre Baxter, the flora and fauna come first. All of the roads are dirt, and no motorized bikes or ATVs are permitted. Traffic is strictly limited, particularly along the park road that leads to the trails up mile-high Mount Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Just outside the park’s southern boundary, the west branch of the Penobscot is an excellent spot for whitewater rafting, and several rafting companies have set up shop here.
Cross-country skiing is a popular pastime in winter, and there are more than 350 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in the region. A small dockside airport transports anglers and hunters to remote wilderness camps via puddle jumper. The local area offers great fishing as well, with catches including land-locked salmon, trout, bass, pickerel, and whitefish. Katahdin Iron Works, a state historical site, dates back to the late 1800s. It is also the starting point for the hike into Gulf Hagas, a 2.5-mile long canyon with dramatic waterfalls and gorges.