Driving through miles of undeveloped mountains and dense forests, on the Old Canada Road, you’ll be wandering the same paths Benedict Arnold trod, leading a band of soldiers from New England to lay siege to the French settlement at Quebec. You’re in the far north of Maine, the backwoods, the logging life, and the remote country where lives are connected to road or river.
Occasionally, along the route, sparkling lakes spread out below your feet as you cross the majestic mountains in your path. The original Old Canada Road didn’t go this way. It cut straight from Waterville to Quebec City and was only a rod (16½ feet) wide. It lives on in the stories of old-timers, the archives of historical societies, and the under the brush that has claimed its space.
Not many towns dot today’s road which follows US 201 for 78 miles. Those that do are tethered to the past with classic clapboard homes harkening back to the boomtown days of lumbering. Informational signs along the Byway, both in English and French, tell the tales of logging’s heyday. Moose crossing signs dot your journey as you make your way through the Maine wilderness.