Explore Half Day and Day Loops - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Half Day and Day Loops Map
13 hours ago

Tough trail particularly along the Knifes Edge. Coming down off Pamola peak onto the Knifes Edge is the most difficult part. It’s essentially a technical rock climb but after that it becomes a little easier. The views were fantastic and worth every drop of sweat.

Amazing hike starting from and ending in Roaring Brook Campground up the Helon Taylor, across the Knifes Edge and down the Saddle to the Chimney Pond. Very challenging hike, from the steep ascent to the perils of the Knifes Edge (my wife and 13 year old son agree was “the most emotionally and physically challenging mile” ever) and down the scree of Baxter peak to the loose and steep descent of the Saddle, then to the mind numbing and feet pounding 3.3 miles of slow descent over the rocks back to the Roaring Brook campground. Other than the last two miles probably the most amazing hike east of the Mississippi. Something amazing about the way that Katahdin rises from the forests of northern Maine. There’s just not much like it anywhere. Did a 13 mike round trip of four peaks that included Mount Washington last year and it didn’t compare to this one. Epic.

Be prepared for wind and rough rocks on the Knifes Edge. We had thin but rubber palmed work gloves and i was glad we did. It was 50 degrees and very windy up there on an 80 degree August day and there’s some white knuckle spots for sure.

One note- recorded this with another App as well, and using maps - this is actually a 10.5 mile hike, not the 9.6 or so that this app recorded. Took us 8.5 hours or so with minimal stops really. Two adults and 12 and 13 year old boys.

5 days ago

Grueling, difficult, brutal, and absolutely exquisite. Quite possibly the finest hike I've ever been on. Starting up Helon Taylor from the Roaring Brook trailhead gives a gradual but sturdy ascent to about 3500 feet before the scramble begins on the Skywalk moving up to Pamola Peak. For those not wishing to do Knife Edge, an out-and-back from Helon Taylor to Pamola would be a fine hike by itself. After departing Pamola to Knife Edge you'll run into an essentially technical climb down and then back up the Chimney Peak, which is by far the hardest part of the hike. If you struggle with that part, don't worry it's not like that the rest of the way. From there you wind and scramble 0.8 miles up down and around the boulders and sharp rocks of the Knife Edge to South Peak, and then along another 0.3 miles to Baxter Peak where you can touch the most recognizable sign in the hiking world. The Knife Edge is amazing, and completely worth it. It's not as scary in the moment as the pictures and videos make it seem, I can assure you. It is not without its moments of terror however, so as always you must maintain a healthy respect for the mountain. Down from Baxter Peak taking the Saddle trail is rocky with tough footing, but a pleasant stride. Turning down the mountain the trail turns into a slide of sorts with loose rocks and dry dirt. Slippery but safe, trekking poles are an absolute must. Gradually the trail descends with decreasing severity until reaching Chimney Pond. There is an excellent stream/water source about 3/4 of a mile up from Chimney Pond where we filtered some of the most crisp water I've ever tasted. The rest of the way down to Roaring Brook Campground was pleasant, though you'll certainly be a little bushed from the preceding 10 hours or so of hiking. We emerged at Roaring Brook Campground, with many scrapes and bruises, but with an excellent hike in the books. In all sincerity, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better day hike in the Northeast, if not the whole country.

The only reason I give this a 4/5 is because there’s not too much to look at hiking up and down, pretty steep and thick vegetation at parts - but the view at the top is well well worth it. Definitely a strenuous long hike but worth it.

11 days ago

Summitted Katahdin via the Hunt Trail which was challenging but very manageable. We decided to descend via the Abol Trail for some variety. This Trail is very steep through the boulder slide area so be cautious. We encountered a light rain part way down which made everything slick. I took one fall....it happens...so, don’t lose your focus. Lots of twists and turns for the feet and legs. My knees were really tired and sore and I needed two doses of aspirins to manage the pain.

18 days ago

Thought it was a great way to go down after ascending on Hunt Trail. Also think it would be a great way to go up. Yes, it is steep and you are scrambling as you get closer to the top, but I find this is the norm in the little bit of hiking I have experienced in the northeast- get up by going strait up:)

On my bucket list

Challenging hike with diverse terrain and amazing scenery!

Probably the prettiest and most unique hike I’ve done out east. One of he most memorable days of my life. Knife’s Edge is amazing, sweeping views in every direction throughout. Went in July, tons of bugs on the way down- bug spray and bug screens highly recommended.

1 month ago

A great rock climb to the summit!

We clocked it at 17 miles not 11 but the peaks were beautiful and totally worth it.

2 months ago

Great scramble to the Table Lands, amazing view, very meaningful location to the be the end (or beginning) of the AT.

2 months ago

I took this trail back down after using the Hunt Trail to summit Katahdin. The bouldering at the top I found to be more difficult than Hunt because some parts the route takes you had boulders that were a bit taller than me so there were parts where I just had to drop which is a little scary considering how steep it is and it looks like you could just keep sliding all the way down at some points! But there were beautiful views, a bit warm as we were facing the sun with no wind that day and the new switchbacks made that part of the decent easier. This is still definitely not an easy trail however as even the trail below tree line is still at a decent incline. We didn't see any streams on this trail except a tiny trickle that crossed it once so I wouldn't rely on filterable water being on this trail if you're getting low. I believe the part through the boulders is just around a mile and you are scrambling and climbing basically the whole time, gloves for hand protection would have been nice! The last (or first) mile to the campground is pretty gradual which is nice as well! This trail was nice because the distance was shorter than the Hunt, but it's still quite steep and on tired legs can be quite challenging. Keep in mind if you are camping/parked at Katahdin Stream, the tell campgrounds are separated by about 2 miles of road which while an easy walk, can seem long after a day on the mountain! I did prefer Hunt Trail however for the views and access to water at the stream if need be and the scramble, while seemingly longer I felt has more manageable boulders but this trail was definitely a different challenge I enjoyed!

So beautiful! This was my second strenuous hike ever, Katahdin being the first. This hike was not nearly as difficult (Stratton Pond, up Firewarden across West peak and the Horns, down Horns Pond) but the difficulty lies in the length. From parking back to parking, we clocked over 14 miles. I assume the listed distance on this page is just the loop because it is well beyond 10.9 miles from start to finish. We completed this hike in less than 8 hours so it is very doable for a day hike!

3 months ago

one of my favorite hikes, 3rd favorite in Maine (first being Bigelows loop, second being travelers loop), difficulty is definitely over exaggerated imo, nonetheless make sure you stop by chimney pond on the way back down or your way up to Katahdin (depending which way you go) breathtaking beauty with amazing views of Katahdin, but please respect the park rules, no swimming in chimney pond allowed

We took a vacation through maine and the last big thing was to hike both peaks of katahdin and check off 2 more peaks of the list of 67, it was a great and challenging hike, and it can definitely kick your butt at some points but well worth it at the top!

5 months ago

Great scramble up to the table lands!

9 months ago

Hiked it in June of 1999. From South Gate 8 miles to Katahdin Stream Campground. Stayed in Walk-in Lean-to No. 2 one night and 3 another night. (Lean-to’s 1 – 3 or tent sites 24 & 25 are the best sites in the Campground. Lean-to’s best for 2 people or 3, maximum. If with a group, lean-to’s 4 – 8 are best.)

The Horns is a great hike for views. First hiked on September 25, 1992. Stayed at Cathedral Pines Campground. Hiked 10 mile loop with nasty downhill. Last hiked on October 3, 1999, taking dirt road to Firewardens Trail to the top of West Peak, then over to South Horn. From there took Horns Pond Trail down to Firewarden's Trail to the car. Not an easy hike. Took 8 hours.

It's a strenuous day hike, but definitely doable and with time to spare to enjoy the excellent views from the ridge if you have decent weather and are in good shape for it. I think going up the steeper Fire Wardens Trail and coming back down via the slightly easier Horns Pond Trail to save the knees is the way to go.

Would you suggest this hike for a day hike?

Beautiful hike.....the views from both Bigelows are 360 and stunning. Many AT though hikers....record high temps the day I hiked.....90 degrees on 9/24. The temps made it a " hard" hike for me....a cool breeze would have been fantastic!! Well worth the effort of doing the entire loop.

10 months ago

Our route was Helon Taylor over Knife Edge, down Saddle and Chimney Pond to Roaring Brook. Helon Taylor is a nice direct route to Pamola. The trail starts off easy to moderate and gets tough nearing Pamola. The views on the way make up for it. The Chimney was dramatic and almost technical. Once on Knife Edge it's an unrelenting rocky spine that you want to take slowly. Wasn't sure about the Sky Walk leading up to the hike but actually found it to be a really cool part and not all that scary. Felt safe the whole way through and the unparalleled views keep your mind in another place. Saddle Trail was a steep slide and tested your leg strength after the earlier climbs. Once at Chimney Pond you have over 3 miles to go back to Roaring Brook so no cake walk after an already long day. 11 hour total hike for us. It was warm that day. Extra fluids and protein were absolutely necessary. Must definitely be in hiking shape. Best and toughest day hike for me to date. DO IT!

10 months ago

I made it to the summit of Mt. Katahdin yesterday! This trail is absolutely challenging but manageable with wonderful hiking buddies who knew my abilities and let me take as many breaks as I need and helped carry water and food:-)! I would not recommend going down this trail if you are hike beginners. I went down by hunt trail, which is a very scenic doable trail, and I highly recommend.

9/10 Started at Roaring Brook, to Helon, Pemola,knifes edge, to summit then down saddleback. The weather couldn't have been better! Total of 9 hours. It was my first time hiking Katahdin. Definitely challenging for someone who has a fear of heights. Ultimately a rewarding hike.

I would call this on the easy side of moderate, never got too steep very gradual. Since it is on a ridge it is hard to know when you've reached the summit, we went to about 3.5 miles and decided to turn around. There are so good views but they are limited.

We took Katahdin stream up to Baxter Peak . The weather wasn't too bad once we summit Katahdin stream. It started snowing on our way to the junction and turned into an ice white out after that. We made it to the peak and at the junction took Abol down. It's hard to make out the white marks on a clear day and being what it was, not likely we would see our way down Katahdin stream. Abol is better marked with blue paint and easier to distinguish. It gets rough quick at the peak and knowing what I know now I don't know that I would have continued past the junction with weather that bad. There is no view, it's difficult to see, and you are almost guaranteed to slip on the rocks (they ice up rather quickly). If you're experienced with rough weather climbing and are well prepared go for it. If not, the mountain isn't going anywhere best to enjoy it on a day when you can actually see the view. It's all dependent on the weather. Date of hike: 9/1/2017

11 months ago

We started at roaring brook campground went up to chimney pond, saddle to the summit of Baxter peak, knife's edge to Pamola, then down Helon. Probably the best hike of my life, we had ideal weather and the views were spectacular.

Yess it's very cool hiking

A short fun leg of the AT, the 2.5 m hike from the road to the summit begins with the first half mile straight up, so stretch before you begin! After that the trail levels off some until the two mile mark then it climbs again, this time up over rings and to the peak.. 3600ft nice views mostly scrub brush , took me 1:45 up 2:00 decent

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