View Full Version : Caribou Valley Road conditions?

09-05-2015, 07:26 PM
Anyone been on Caribou Valley Road in Maine recently? Hoping to bag the Crockers tomorrow and curious if the family minivan will make it down the road. It's pretty dry in the area lately but there's still the sketchy bridge issue IIRC.

Many thanks!

09-05-2015, 10:15 PM
It was almost three months ago, but my Kia Rio made it through okay. Was expecting it to be much worse. Averaged around 20-25 mph, even hitting 30 mph a couple times. I'd still use caution on the bridges...

09-06-2015, 04:54 AM
It was almost three months ago, but my Kia Rio made it through okay.

How far? All the way to the AT crossing? Last I heard people had given up on getting past the metal bridge, so sounds like there's been some work.

09-06-2015, 06:51 AM
How far? All the way to the AT crossing? Last I heard people had given up on getting past the metal bridge, so sounds like there's been some work.

Last year the metal bridge was gated off. The bridge itself was pretty sketchy. The wooden bridges weren't as bad as I thought they would be, but they aren't going to last too many more years. The broken culverts were worse, imo.

09-06-2015, 01:54 PM
Yup, the road was gated at the metal bridge. There is parking on the left before the gate, 3.9 miles from ME 27.

For comparison: Tower Rd and Round Pond Rd in Pawtuckaway State Park are much worse than CVR. On those roads, I struggle to break 15 MPH most of the time.

09-07-2015, 11:17 PM
Thanks all. We did make it all the way to the metal gate in the family minivan on Sun 9/6. The dry weather meant no mud and better driving conditions. But the one rotted bridge at slightly beyond mile 2.0 made me gasp and is going to give way before long. The many large rocks can be largely avoided.

Not that I have extra time but I'm tempted to write the state of Maine on bridge status (from a quick surf of the 2012 thread it appears bought a conservation easement). To me it's kinda bad.

The Sikes
09-08-2015, 10:38 AM
Just did it a couple of weeks ago. One of the bridges near the end one of the boards pops up. We put some branches underneath and went over it and were fine. The second problem bridge were the holes in the wood as you pass. I got over it but was scared. The have put a barrier before the metal bridge. From there the trail heads to Crockers and Sugarloaf was about 1/2 mile?

09-08-2015, 02:21 PM
Last I knew, CVR was a private road. Only used for logging. No money is going to be spent to maintain it until there is another timber harvest. The snowmobile club may put some effort in to maintaining the bridges, since it is a snowmobile trail, but I wouldn't count on it

09-08-2015, 03:55 PM
Over the 30 years I have hiked in via the CVR road it has only been maintained sporadically to support timbering operations. The main part of the valley was clearcut up to the ridgeline about 30 years ago, and based on my memory walking down the Reddington path to the road last year, its going to be another 10 years or so before the landowner would do a release cut. Thus no real need to upgrade the road and generally most landowners these days prefer that bridges are removed to keep folks out of regenerating areas. This land was in play for quite awhile due to the proposed windfarm and I don't know what entity ended up with it. Release cuts are money losers and generally only done by long term owners so the current owner may just elect to delay timberstand improvement. This ultimately delays the revenue cuts in the future but most short term investors don't care. That in combination with a strong American dollar keeps wood prices depressed so it may be awhile before any serious repairs gets done to these bridges to support logging.

That said, there have on rare occasions been some repairs to these bridges so it may be that the various entities that use this road do try to keep minimal access.

The other possibility for repair is if Maine Huts and Trails builds a hut in this area. I did see reference to this possibility in a set of MATC meeting notes a few years ago but have not seen anything since. The apparent MHT medium term plan is to run the trail to Rangeley and the next logical location for a hut is in the Caribou Valley. If that happened they would have an interest in keeping the road passable.

Lost Dad
09-08-2015, 06:39 PM
The maintenance of the CVR is somewhat shared by the ME DACF BP&L (Maine Dept Ag, Conservation & Forestry, Bureau of Parks & Lands) and Plum Creek. ME BP&L is responsible for recreational access on the CVR up to the border of their "Crocker Mountain Unit" This border is basically the blocked bridge crosssing. Plum Creek owns the land up to the gate and someday hopes to develop this land. After the gate, ME BP&L owns (controls?) a lot of the land, particularly up & over the Crockers.
This document is the 5 year mangement plan for the Crocker Mountain Unit http://www.maine.gov/dacf/parks/get_involved/planning_and_acquisition/management_plans/flagstaff_region/docs/CrockerMgmtPlan-FINAL_4-14-15wAdoptionPage.pdf

Pages (as numbered by the .pdf) 30 & 37 show a good map and the specific details of the ownership & care of the CVR

09-08-2015, 07:51 PM
Looks like Plum Creek could put houses along the road since its zoned residential? I don't know if that would be feasible that close to the river? So much open land up there, not sure if there is much demand for house lots. The wooden bridges could be easily repaired. The metal bridge, looks like the abutments are washing away. It was in pretty bad shape last year. I need to go back up that road again to bag Reddington. Hopefully one of those organizations decide to do some work to it :)

09-08-2015, 08:12 PM
Nice Link Lost Dad !

Mike P.
09-09-2015, 06:28 AM
I believe the last maintenance on the road was the mid-late 1990's. I recall on my first trip in a rental car I could only cross the first two small bridges. (I got to walk up the Sugarloaf ski trails, great views of the Bigelow's but steep as ski slopes are designed to have people go fast downhill....) When I went back to do Redington, you could get past the bridge.

Likely zoned residential as it would be a very convenient place for a 2nd home development for Sugarloaf skiers if you could generate enough interest. (You even have a small air strip in Carrabassett Valley) Likely there proposal if Saddleback could ever generate enough support to expand as they have tried (proposed, drawn up, threatened depending on your POV) to do in the past. At the moment, the people in & around the larger population centers have to drive past too many ski resorts & too long to make the major ME expansion plans feasible. (In the movies, "build it & they will come." sounds great, in reality, when looking for investors, they need to see a bit more before writing a check.)