Katahdin Hike

3:16 p.m. on July 31, 2003 (EDT)

I am planning on hiking Katahdin Mtn in Maine this Labor Day weekend. Working it in with a trip further up-state Maine. I am looking for trail recommendations to take. I am not a hard core hiker but don't want to pass this opportunity up. Also, recommendations for trail head parking is appreciated also.


8:04 p.m. on July 31, 2003 (EDT)
346 reviewer rep
982 forum posts

There are three trailheads for Katahdin -- Roaring Brook, Abol, and Katahdin Stream. Roaring Brook, northeast of the Katahdin massif, is the most popular, and for good reason. The trail system on the north side of the mountain makes several different loops of various length possible, including a trip across the infamous Knife Edge. If you summit Baxter Peak from the north (or even if you don't), the trip by Chimney Pond is worthwhile on its own: a jaw-dropping view from the floor of Katahdin's Great Basin, a spectacular glacial cirque and probably the most impressive mountain setting in the east.

From the north, the Saddle Trail provides probably the easiest access to the summit. If you cross the Knife Edge to Pamola Peak, descending the Helon Taylor trail can be a nice alternative. If you like your knees, avoid descending the Cathedral Trail. Other than that, it's pretty hard to go wrong with trail choice. There are lots of great options.

In contrast, the trails from the southern trailheads (Abol and Katahdin Stream) are both out-and-back hikes. I haven't done either of them...maybe some day when I show up too late to park at Roaring Brook.

Which brings me to parking: only a limited number of vehicles are allowed into the park each day. There are only 50 parking spots at Roaring Brook, and about 20 each at Abol and Katahdin Stream. Once the lots are full, they're closed. This means that, especially on a busy summer weekend, you need to show up very early. The line at the south gate starts forming as early 4 a.m. Officially the gate opens at 6:00, altough during busy times of the summer they may open it at 5:00. (Seven or eight years ago we showed up at 8:30 on a Saturday and got the last spot at Roaring Brook, but that was pretty much dumb luck.)

The official web site for Baxter State Park is baxterstateparkauthority.com

mountkatahdin.net also has a bunch of useful info and photos.

The AMC's Maine Mountain Guide has good trail descriptions and a decent map of the park.

7:36 a.m. on August 1, 2003 (EDT)

Thanks for the great info. I've looked at the webpages you mentioned but wasn't finding which trails headed to Baxter Peak.

The plan now is to leave PA early afternoon and just park at the gate when I get there. Sleep a little till the gate opens up. Once I get a parking spot I can take care of any necessaties before hiking.

12:31 p.m. on August 1, 2003 (EDT)
346 reviewer rep
982 forum posts

From Roaring Brook, you can get to Baxter Peak a number of ways. The most common is to follow the Chimney Pond Trail to Chimney Pond, and then up the Saddle Trail. The Cathedral Trail offers a more direct line (shorter, but quite a bit steeper) from Chimney Pond to the summit. From the summit, you can descend the Saddle Trail, or cross the Knife Edge to Pamola Peak. If the weather is good and you're okay with heights, this is a great ridge walk. From Pamola, the Dudley Trail descends back to Chimney Pond, or you can follow the Helon Taylor Trail back to the parking lot.

On the south side of the mountain, the Hunt Trail (from the Katahdin Stream trailhead) and the Abol Trail (Abol trailhead) both lead to the summit.

I hope this helps. Have a great trip..post a report here and let us know how it goes.

June 21, 2018
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