Canton is a small, rural village in Central Maine whose primary industry is tourism, specifically camping and outdoor recreation. Canton is home to Anasagunticook Lake, named by the tribe of Native Americans who once lived here. The area also contains the Androscoggin River which flows through town, and many streams and brooks, as well as trails, such as the Whitney Brook Trail.
The dog-friendly Whitney Brook Trail meanders and loops its way along the b6rook from which it gets its name. It traverses forest and fields full of wildflowers, along roads and deep into the woods. There are several trailheads, all located on individual loops of alternate trails along the main Brook Trail. There are granite benches along its length, and at the south end is a picnic area in Canton Heritage Park where you and your fur-pup can take a rest and a casual meal. The total length of the linear trail is 1.7 miles, but the loops along its way increase that distance substantially. Many forms of wildlife live in the floodplain upon which the trail sits, including amphibians, water fowl and other birds. Vernal pools create a shifting natural landscape with the seasons and the floods.
Canton is not easy to get to, but the trip to the town and its surrounding communities will be worth it. This is the Maine many people envision: near wilderness, more trees than people, quiet, surrounding nature. A woofderful place for you and your nature-loving pooch to visit!
Canton shares Anasagunticook Lake (also known as Canton Lake) with the town of Hartford, and it provides recreational opportunities for humans and dogs alike. The southern part of the lake is known to locals as The Beach and it is the destination for those who want to swim in pristine waters surrounded by peace and quiet. The lake welcomes boats, both motorized and paddle, and Fido is welcome to share a ride on the water with his human. Fishing is available from shore or a boat, and the lake contains perch, bass, trout and pickerel – all delicious when cooked fresh! Come for a few hours, bring a grill and a picnic, and stay for the day. Or try a hike along the northern rim of the lake on the Thorne Mountain Rd Trail. Anasagunticook Lake is a gem in the midst of the wild! Pawrrific!
Jay is one of Canton’s next-door neighbors, and home to several dog-friendly trail systems and a park. The North Jay White Granite Park is a now unused white granite quarry. An easy 1-mile walking path through a nearby orchard affords a view of the quarry, along with picnic spots for a casual snack or meal with your furry bestie. A small outlet trail leads directly to the quarry itself. Another trail network, The French Falls River Walk, follows the eastern shore of the Androscoggin River for .5 mile, and features huge boulders and rocky outcroppings overlooking the river. Finally, a 10-trail network making up the Jay Recreation Area Trail System is not to be missed. The hikes range from easy to moderate, and feature varying surfaces of dirt/forest floor, rock/ledge and grass. There are 3 free parking areas. Pawsome!
Wilton, another neighbor of Canton, features the leashed dog-friendly Foothills Land Conservancy, which contains a 1.4-mile network of trails of gravel and grass. After crossing a field, the main trail provides views of wetlands on the northern edge of Wilson Pond. Water birds and turtles can be seen, and there is ample evidence of wildlife in the tracked mud that you and Fido may not see. The Conservancy is open year-round and is amenable to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter. Another significant trail system in Wilton resides in Kineowatha Park, a large park on the shores of Wilson Lake with swimming beaches, a dock to launch your canoe, kayak or boat, and picnic tables, as well as an easy 2-mile network of trails through pine forest, grassy fields and along the beach. Fido is welcome here, on leash.
Turner is a small town a few short miles from Canton, and is home to the Androscoggin Riverlands State Park, a 2,675-acre expanse along the Androscoggin River that features many dog-friendly activities. It boasts 12 miles of multi-use trails, 10 miles of hiking trails and 6.6 miles of mountain bike trails. The 7-mile Ridge Trail is popular for its riverside path that features a ledge outcrop overlooking the river and a bridge over one of the river’s connecting streams. There is a convenient boat launch for motorized boats, canoes and kayaks for great days out on the water. This is a park that can provide an exciting trip down the river, or a leisurely walk with your furry bestie alongside it. Don’t miss it!
Only 20 miles from Canton and well worth the drive lies Weld, a rural area that is set beside Webb Lake and surrounded by mountains. It is also home to Mt. Blue State Park, a dog-friendly park that features a plethora of outdoor activities including camping, hiking, biking, swimming and boating. A leashed Fido is welcome to join you for all of them. Take him for a walk along the lake while the rest of the family kids play at the playground, or swim on Lake Webb’s lifeguarded beach. Be aware that dogs are allowed on state park beaches from October to April only. Open year-round, Mt Blue State Park is perfect for snowmobiling with your pup perched in front of you on your machine, his ears flying and tail wagging; or cross-country skiing/snowshoeing with him on a leash beside you. Pretty pawsome!