HIKE

Steps to success for hiking in Baxter.

PLAN

Find your trail

Love hiking in Baxter?  Consider Adopting a Trail…

Hiking the Appalachian Trail?  Find more here about how to FINISH WELL…

Parkwide Trail Map

sfma tbf South Branch Pond Trailhead Map RP rb-kl kat Kidney & Daicey Ponds

For basic trailhead maps, click on the area you’re interested in.
For trail descriptions of some trails, scroll down.
For better maps, visit the store.
Download our trails layer. .kml | .shp || contact Eben for metadata details–other Park layers coming soon.

Download Trailmaps:
SFMA
Trout Brook Farm
South Branch Pond
Russell Pond
Roaring Brook/Katahdin Lake
Katahdin
Kidney-Daicey
Entire Park


Katahdin Trail Descriptions

Hiking Katahdin requires an elevation gain of around 4,000’.

If you are not in reasonable shape, this is a very strenuous climb no matter what trailhead you chose.

The average round trip time for a Katahdin hike is 8-12 hours.

For more in-depth trail descriptions, we publish our own trail guide, available in hardcopy at Park HQ.


Abol

Download trail head map.–>

3.4 miles (plus 1 mile on Hunt trail 4.4 miles total one way to Baxter Peak) Elevation gain 3,982ft

This trail is the shortest route to Baxter Peak from a roadside trailhead. The trail formerly utilized the prominent Abol Slide, but was relocated in 2015 after soil and rock movement on the slide increased the hazard to hikers. The relocated trail uses the ridge to the west of the slide and provides a steady, but steep ascent with excellent views. Water is limited after the first mile and the trail is fully exposed after 2.5 miles. On warm days, an early start is recommended. Once on the Tableland you will connect with the Hunt trail (AT) for the last mile.

Difficulty level: Very Strenuous     

Trailhead Parking lot: Abol Campground

Hunt

<– Download trail head map.

5.2 miles one-way Elevation gain 4,188 ft

The Hunt trail is one of the more popular trails to the summit of Katahdin. This is because of the outstanding features along the trail such as picturesque Katahdin Stream Falls, the Boulders on Hunt Spur, the traverse of the Tableland, and extensive views in all directions, as 2.4 miles of the trail is above tree line.

Difficulty level: Very Strenuous    
Trailhead Parking lot: Katahdin Stream Campground

Helon Taylor

Download trail head map.–>

3.2 miles one-way Elevation gain to Pamola Peak 3,413 ft

This trail allows hikers to have a direct route from Roaring Brook trailhead to connect with the Knife Edge trail at Pamola Peak. It is an extremely exposed trail and because of this, hikes should not be attempted in bad weather.

Difficulty level: Very Strenuous     
Trailhead Parking lot: Roaring Brook Campground

Dudley--Closed until 2018

<– Download trail head map.

 

1.3 miles one-way Elevation gain to Pamola Peak 1,988 ft

This trail leaves from Chimney Pond campground. It is a short , but very steep climb to reach Pamola Peak. This trail is almost entirely above tree line. No water available on this trail.

Difficulty level: Very Strenuous    

Trailhead Parking lot: Roaring Brook Campground

Cathedral

Download trail head map.–>

 

1.5 miles one-way (1.7 miles to Baxter Peak) Elevation gain to Baxter Peak 2,353 ft

The shortest climb from Chimney Pond to Baxter Peak. To reach the peak, it utilizes the Saddle Trail for an additional 0.2 miles. It is very steep climbing over three large rock buttresses. The climbing is almost all above tree line. There is no water on this trail.

Difficulty level: Very Strenuous    
Trailhead Parking Lot: Roaring Brook Campground

Saddle

<– Download trail head map.

2.2 miles one-way Elevation gain to Baxter Peak 2,353 ft

This trail is the most gradual ascent. Reach Saddle Brook at 0.8 miles from Chimney Pond campground. This is the last sure water. The most difficult section on this trail would be the 0.2 mile slide right before encountering the Tableland. Hikers should expect to encounter difficult footing, loose stones and gravel on this section of trail.

Difficulty level: Strenuous      
Trailhead Parking Lot: Roaring Brook Campground

Knife Edge

Download trail head map.–>

1.1 miles one-way Elevation gain hiking from Pamola Peak 365 ft (If hiking from Baxter Peak descend 365 ft)

This route is completely exposed and several people have died or have been seriously injured while attempting a traverse in inclement weather and/or high winds. Do not attempt to leave the ridge once you have started. Hiking Knife Edge across and back is not recommended due to its difficulty and the amount of time it adds to the hike – it takes approximately 1 to 1½ hrs. one way. Access to Knife Edge is from the Roaring Brook Campground. Hiking it from the Hunt or Abol Trails means ending at Roaring Brook Campground, an hour by road from your vehicle on the other side of the mountain. We do not provide shuttle service. There is no water on this trail.

Difficulty level: Very Strenuous    
Trailhead Parking Lot: Roaring Brook Campground

Hamlin Ridge

<– Download trail head map.

1.5 miles one-way Elevation gain 1,837 ft

Hamlin ridge is a long open ridge, which offers outstanding views. The trail begins on the North Basin Trail 0.7 miles from Chimney Pond Campground. It then ascends a long ridge to Hamlin Peak, descending to its terminus at Caribou Spring and at the junction of the Northwest Basin Trail. This trail does not access Baxter Peak. You can make a 4.5-mile loop hiking to Hamlin Peak, then following the Northwest Basin Trail back to the Saddle Trail, descending to Chimney Pond Campground.

Difficulty level: Strenuous     

Trailhead Parking Lot: Roaring Brook Campground

Chimney Pond

Download trail head map.–>

3.3 miles one-way Elevation gain 1,425 ft

This trail takes you directly to the Chimney Pond Campground. The Helon Taylor trail leaves the Chimney Pond Trail after the first 0.1 mile. Chimney Pond Trail hike starts gradual and becomes a moderate hike. Some sections are steep and most of the trail is covered in rock. Plenty of water sources on this trail.

Difficulty level: Moderate     
Trailhead Parking Lot: Roaring Brook Campground

North End

The Traveler Loop

<– Download trail head map.

The Traveler Loop(add map link) is combination of four trails that provides an extended hike of more than 10 miles, that includes a three major peaks and extending hiking above treeline.
The trailhead for the Traveler Loop is South Branch Pond Campground.  This campground is best reached via the Matagamon Gate at the northeast corner of the Park.  No parking reservations are necessary for this trailhead.
The Traveler Loop begins with the Pogy Notch Trail (1.5 mi.) and then follows the Center Ridge Trail (2.1 mi.), continuing on the Traveler Trail (3.7 mi.) and finishing with the North Traveler Trail (2.6 mi.).  The Traveler Loop summits three peaks, Peak of the Ridges, The Traveler and North Traveler Mountain and the hike requires a total  elevation gain of 3,700 feet, only 400 feet less than required of a Katahdin hike on the Hunt Trail.
The loop can be hiked in two directions, but we recommend the loop be traversed in a counter-clockwise direction, ascending the Center Ridge Trail from Upper South Branch Pond.  After leaving the Pogy Notch Trail along Upper South Branch Pond, water is scarce to non-existent on the Traveler Loop.  We recommend that hikers carry at least 2 quarts of water per person and more on hot days.  This is a strenuous and long hike with extended exposure above treeline, so hikers should be aware of changing weather and prepared for a beautiful, but demanding hike.  

Preparation for a Traveler Loop Hike is the same as a Katahdin hike.

Easier Day Hikes

If you’re short on time or not up for a big push above treeline, you might try some of these short hikes on Maine Trail Finder.

PREPARE

To Know BEFORE you Come….

Parking Reservation for Katahdin

If you are day-hiking Katahdin, you may want to ensure your parking spot with a reservation.


Register

Please register at one of the two gatehouses coming in.  Please also sign trail registers.


Leave These at Home

Do NOT bring pets, firewood, drones, or more than 12 people per party.


10 (Essential) Things to Pack

download a more detailed list here.

Navigation A good topo map of where you’ll be.
Sun Protection sun glasses, sunscreen.
Insulation Extra layers for variable conditions.  The top of Katahdin does not have the same mild weather as your Portland dooryard.
Illumination Having a flashlight or headlamp is a Park rule.
First Aid You most likely will be a long way from help.

Fire Matches, a lighter, or flint and steel.
Repair Kit For your clothing, gear, and boots.
Nutrition Extra food in case things go wrong, or you find something more to explore.
Hydration At least 2 quarts of water per person on a Katahdin hike. All natural water in the Park should be treated before drinking.
Emergency Shelter A space blanket will keep you warm-ish in case things go wrong.

Remember that your primary goal is not reaching the summit, but a safe return to the trailhead.


10 Things to Do

Know and respect the forecast.

Know what to expect, and when it changes, know your limits.

Limit group size to 12.

This is a Park Rule.

Keep an eye on kids.

Park Rule: for every five juveniles, there must be at least one adult.

Pick a Turn-around time.

If you aren’t up by mid-afternoon, chances are you won’t have time to make it down before dark.

Remember going down is neither easier nor faster.

80% of Park search and rescues happen on the descent.Plan at least as much time for the descent as the ascent.

Stay on the trail.

Toilet duties aside, more than 75% of our most serious search and rescue incidents (i.e. fatalities) began when a hiker left the trail.

Sign the trail register.

This helps us to track use of the trail system, or find you if you get lost.

Get a Parking Reservation.

If you’re day-hiking Katahdin, this is the only way to make sure you’ll be able to park.
If you’re camping in the Park prior to hiking, you don’t need one.

Get here early.

It takes a long time to get anywhere in the Park at 20mph.  Build extra time into your day.

Turn off your phone.

Treat it as an emergency communication device.  Save your battery.


 To make your BSP experience (and everyone else’s) more enjoyable…

RESERVE

Day Use Parking Reservations

who needs one?

those planning to hike Katahdin who are NOT camping in the Park the night prior.  You may take a chance that there will be unreserved spots if you choose to, but you may forfeit your chance to hike Katahdin that day.

where would I need one?

for Katahdin trailheads ONLY.

      • Roaring Brook, for Chimney Pond or Helon Taylor trails
      • Abol, for the Abol trail
      • Katahdin Stream, for the Hunt trail (AT)
      • download trailmap

All other trailheads are first come, first served.


when can I get one?

Maine resident?  After April 1 you can reserve one for any day of the summer.
Non-resident?  Up to two weeks before your hike.
All:  until 3pm the day prior to your hike.  After 3pm, check the info line:  207-723-4636 (723-INFO).
No more than 3 per calendar month.  Each reservation costs $5.
No DUPRs for May–generally there is plenty of space anyhow.

when can I show up?

if you don’t have a parking reservation and there are unreserved spots, we start filling those on a first-come, first served basis at 6am when Togue Pond Gate opens.
if you have a parking reservation, we will hold it for you until 7am.  if you don’t show up, the spot becomes first-come, first served at that time.

why do we do this?

we limit access to Katahdin to preserve the fragile alpine ecosystem and your experience as a visitor.  Remember, as trustees of Governor Baxter’s deeds, we are charged with doing this in perpetuity, which is a very long time.


operations_togue_gatehouse_9_13_ink_liTogue Pond Gatehouse at 7am.

Except for Katahdin access parking lots under the parking reservation system, all other parking lots are first come first serve.


Reservation Office  207-723-5140

Winter M-F, 8am-4pm | Summer 7 days/week, 8am-4pm
Office hours are subject to change without notice.

 

The Park was intended by Percival Baxter to be “available for those who love nature and are willing to walk and make an effort to get close to nature.”