Geography of Oxford County, Maine

Oxford County, located in the western part of the U.S. state of Maine, is a region renowned for its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and diverse geography. Encompassing an area of approximately 2,175 square miles, Oxford County is situated in the foothills of the White Mountains and is known for its rugged mountains, pristine lakes, and vibrant forests. In this comprehensive overview, we’ll explore the geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other significant features of Oxford County. Check homethodology to learn more about the state of Maine.

Geography:

Oxford County is bordered by the state of New Hampshire to the west, Cumberland County to the south, Androscoggin County to the east, and Franklin County to the north. The county is characterized by its diverse landscape, which includes mountain ranges, valleys, lakes, and rivers. The terrain is predominantly hilly, with elevations ranging from sea level along the Androscoggin River to over 4,000 feet in the White Mountains.

Climate:

The climate of Oxford County is classified as humid continental, with four distinct seasons characterized by cold, snowy winters and warm, humid summers. The region experiences a wide range of temperatures throughout the year, with occasional extremes in temperature and weather patterns.

Winters in Oxford County are typically cold and snowy, with average high temperatures in the 20s°F to 30s°F range and occasional sub-zero temperatures. Snowfall is common, particularly in the mountainous areas, and provides opportunities for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. Summers are warm and humid, with average high temperatures in the 70s°F to 80s°F range and occasional afternoon thunderstorms. Fall and spring are transitional seasons, with mild temperatures and colorful foliage.

Rivers:

Oxford County is intersected by several rivers and streams that flow through its valleys and mountains, providing habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation. These rivers and streams also play a vital role in the region’s economy, providing water for agriculture, industry, and municipal use. Some of the notable rivers in Oxford County include:

  1. Androscoggin River: The Androscoggin River forms the eastern boundary of Oxford County, flowing from New Hampshire to the city of Auburn, where it joins the Kennebec River. The river is popular for fishing, particularly for smallmouth bass and trout, and offers opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and rafting.
  2. Saco River: The Saco River flows through the western part of Oxford County, originating in the White Mountains and flowing southward before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean in Maine. The river is known for its scenic beauty and provides opportunities for fishing, swimming, and tubing.
  3. Swift River: The Swift River is a tributary of the Androscoggin River, flowing through the northern part of Oxford County before joining the main stem near the town of Roxbury. The river is popular for fly fishing and provides habitat for brook trout and other freshwater species.

Lakes:

Oxford County is home to numerous lakes and ponds that dot its landscape, providing habitat for wildlife and opportunities for recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming. These lakes vary in size and depth and offer scenic views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Some of the notable lakes in Oxford County include:

  1. Rangeley Lake: Rangeley Lake is a large freshwater lake located in the northwestern part of Oxford County, near the town of Rangeley. The lake is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and abundant fish populations, making it a popular destination for anglers, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts.
  2. Mooselookmeguntic Lake: Mooselookmeguntic Lake is another large lake in Oxford County, located adjacent to Rangeley Lake. The lake is known for its scenic beauty and provides opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing.
  3. Kezar Lake: Kezar Lake is a picturesque lake located in the southern part of Oxford County, near the town of Lovell. The lake is popular for its clear waters, sandy beaches, and tranquil atmosphere, making it a favorite spot for swimming, boating, and picnicking.

Natural Features:

Oxford County is home to several natural features, including mountains, forests, and waterfalls, that showcase the region’s natural beauty and biodiversity. Some of the notable natural features in Oxford County include:

  1. White Mountains: The White Mountains extend into the northern part of Oxford County, featuring rugged peaks, dense forests, and alpine meadows. The mountains offer opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing, as well as scenic drives along the Kancamagus Highway.
  2. Grafton Notch State Park: Grafton Notch State Park is located in the western part of Oxford County, near the town of Newry. The park features towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and scenic overlooks, as well as hiking trails and picnic areas for visitors to enjoy.

Agriculture:

Agriculture plays a vital role in the economy of Oxford County, with the region being one of the leading producers of dairy products, potatoes, and maple syrup in Maine. The fertile soil, moderate climate, and abundant water supply make it ideal for farming and ranching. Agriculture also contributes to the county’s cultural heritage and identity, with many families having worked the land for generations.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, Oxford County, Maine, is a region of breathtaking natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant communities. From its rugged mountains and pristine lakes to its meandering rivers and lush forests, the county offers a variety of landscapes and ecosystems to explore and enjoy. Whether you’re hiking in the White Mountains, fishing on Rangeley Lake, or exploring the waterfalls of Grafton Notch State Park, Oxford County has something for everyone to experience and appreciate in the great outdoors.