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Above: The north-northeasternmost point of the U.S. that's publicly accessible.  This is where I met Keith and Sue loading wood.  In the video I said that the north-northeasternmost point is only a few hundred yards away, but it's actually about a mile from here, on the shore of the St. John River. (1:19)
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The north-northeasternmost point of the United States is located just east of Madawaska, Maine in the extreme northern part of the state.  Three of the 16 extreme compass points are located in this area: 

  • The north-northeasternmost point of the U.S. is near Madawaska.
  • The northeasternmost point of the U.S. is about 20 miles to the east, between the towns of Grand Isle and Van Buren, Maine.
  • The east-northeasternmost point of the U.S. is another 25 miles to the east, along the U.S./Canada border near the town of Hamlin, Maine.

An ambitious person can visit all three points in one day and that’s exactly what I hoped to do.  I had camped the previous evening in a state park in New Hampshire and got up at 5 a.m. for the long journey to northern Maine.  In my previous cross-country journeys, I’d traveled across central and coastal Maine, but I’d never been to this part of the state.  Northern Maine is a lot different than the rest of the state, as I discovered.  It’s very remote and rural, and it feels almost like part of Canada rather than the U.S.  

Around 4 p.m. and after a long day of driving across the rolling hills of Maine, I reached the town of Madawaska, which according to a sign on the outskirts of town, claims it’s the “Northeastern town of the United States.”  Well to be technical, Madawaska (population 4,035) is the north-northeasternmost town of the United States while its neighbor, Grand Isle, Maine (population 435), about 25 miles down U.S. Highway 1, is the northeasternmost town.  Nevertheless, I liked their spirit.

It was getting late in the day and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to visit all three geographic extreme sites before sunset.  And on top of that, I was planning to camp that evening at Aroostook State Park, which according to my map was at least an hour past the third site.  So needless to say, I had to hustle.

Looking at my GPS and maps, I realized that the north-northeasternmost point of the contiguous United States lay on the southern shore of the St. John River, which separates the U.S. from Canada.  The point was about a mile north of Highway 1.  Driving along Highway 1 east of Madawaska, I found what appeared to be a couple of dirt access roads leading to the northeasternmost point, but on each road there were signs posted that said, “Private Property” or "No Trespassing."  One of my rules of this trip was to stay on publicly-accessible land: I didn’t want to trespass or go any place I could get into trouble (or shot), like on private land or military installations.  Instead, as always, I would stay on publicly-accessible land and get as close to the point as possible.

So I continued driving east on Highway 1 for another mile until I saw another dirt road off to my left.  There were no “No Trespassing” signs posted here, so I decided to give it a shot.  I drove down the dirt road for a half-mile, then the road ended at a clearing, where a guy with a front-end loader was loading wood into a big truck.  I parked there, got out of my Tacoma and walked over.  A woman nearby was walking a dog and I approached her.  “Hi there.  You’re probably wondering why someone from Oregon is here,” I said.  “Hi.  I’m Sue,” she said with a smile. 

Sue told me that she and her husband Keith, who was operating the front-end loader, owned a small firewood company here and they were loading up wood for a delivery.  I told Sue my story:  that I was traveling around the United States visiting extreme geographic sites and I informed her that this was the north-northeasternmost point in the United States that’s publicly accessible.  She was pretty amazed by that (or at least she pretended to be, I’m not sure which), and I asked her if I could take some pictures.  “Sure, you go right ahead,” she said again with a smile.

Ten minutes later, Keith had finished his work and they both got in their truck to head out.  I walked over and introduced myself to Keith as they both sat in the cab, then I explained to Keith what I was doing here.  He was just as surprised as Sue to learn that this was the north-northeasternmost point in the U.S. that’s publicly accessible, and he gave me their business card and we said goodbye.  Nice folks.  I wanted to linger here a while, but I had two more sites to visit that day and the sun was setting fast, so it was back in the truck and down the highway.

Summary:

  • I visited this site on September 28, 2016.  
  • The coordinates of this point are: 47° 20.615' N, 68° 13.885' W. 
  • To see a Google Map of the north-northeasternmost point, click here.
  • To see the panorama photo I created at this site, click here.  

How to Get There:  

To get to this point, go to Highway 1, just east of Madawaska, Maine.  There are a couple dirt access roads on the north side of Highway 1 that lead to the north-northeasternmost point, which lies on the St. John River.  However, these roads have "Private Property" and "No Trespassing" signs, so don't take them.  Instead, continue driving east on Highway 1 for about a mile.  There you will see a large sign on the north side of the Highway that says, "Madtown Logging."  OK, even though this is probably private property, I didn't see any signs telling me to keep out, so I drove down this dirt road for about a half-mile until I reached the end, which was where I met Sue and Keith chopping wood.  

Come to think of it, all of this land on the north side of U.S. Highway 1 is probably privately-owned, so I guess the closest place to the north-northeasternmost point that's publicly-accessible is on the shoulder of Highway 1.  But Sue and Keith seemed pretty nice, so I don't think they'd mind if you wanted to take some pictures.

The North-Northeasternmost Point

 

 

Above:  The north-northeasternmost point of the contiguous U.S. is east of Madawaska, Maine.  The north-northeasternmost point, shown with the green dot, lies on the southern shore of the St. John River.  This site is on private property, however, and isn't accessible to the public.  Therefore I got as close as I could, the site shown with the red dot.  I created the blue line, with a bearing of 112.5 degrees, to help me determine the north-northeasternmost point.