Explore the most popular Camping trails in Baxter State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

10 PM and 2 beers in, my friend & I decided to hike Mt Katahdin via Saddle Trail in the morning, WOW! We started hiking at 9 am not knowing if we would be able to summit. The 3.3 mile hike to Chimney Pond was moderate, fairly rocky terrain. We heard mixed reviews about summiting Mt Katahdin due to possible snow/ice conditions. From Chimney Pond to Mt Katahdin took us 2.5 hours to cover 2.2 miles. To our surprise, our day went from hiking to on our hands and knees climbing huge boulders in a practical vertical accent. As insane as it was, we did always have good grips and we weren't falling or using microspikes! The wind at the top could wake up a dead person. It was a bit much. Never the less, we continued and proudly made it to the summit of Mt Katahdin at 2 PM. The views and picture with the sign were worth all the struggles! On the way down we heard moose calls! But did not see them. We returned to our car at 6:15 PM. If anyone plans on doing this hike in the next week before the park closes, give yourself plenty of time and bring head lamps as it gets dark around 5 PM. Overall it was a fun hike and we're glad we did it. For some perspective, my friend and I are avid New York State Adirondack Mountain Hikers, and we agreed this was the hardest hike we've ever done. We would recommend it though: bring headlamps, water, and a good attitude!

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

I just want to say how great Baxter sp is and how good the rangers are there. Hiked Oct 14. Drove from Acadia( way too crowded) Went up Helon across knife down saddle to chimney back to parking lot. We got robbed because it was so cloudy and windy at the peak but the knife's edge is fun regardless. If you go during this time bring extra layers. gloves and a hat. The wind was ferocious. The hike very strenuous, took 9 hours and we are experienced.

Parked at Katahdin Steam > up Hunt Trail > over Knife Edge > down Helon Taylor > Hired a driver out of Millinocket to drive us from Roaring Brook parking back to Katahdin Stream Four of us did this trail last month, and all of us concurred that it was the hardest hike any of us had ever done. A year ago I did the W-Trek in Patagonia, and this was definitely harder if distance is taken out of the equation. Boulders going up and boulders going down. I highly advise a little planning for this trip. Leave time to plan around bad weather. If you don't live in Maine, parking spots open up 2 weeks ahead of time. Reserving a parking space is a must! We arrived at Baxter State Park 45 minutes before the gate opened and were probably 20th in line to get in. The trail took us exactly 13 hours including lots of breaks and lunch before starting across Knife Edge. I openly admit I am a ridiculously slow hiker. We had no intentions of it taking that long, but the last hour was in total darkness. Bring a headlamp just in case. Also, must packs are 4-6 liters of water and gloves. There are no words nor are there pictures that can portray how incredible the top of Katahdin and Knife Edge is. I don't consider myself a hiker, back packer, athletic, or a risk taker, but now that the pain from this hike has subsided, I think I might do it again.

views are stunning. even w/ lots of breaks, & slowing my pace many times; we finished in under 9 hrs. We did NOT do counter-clockwise In error but was a beauty, sunny, dry day & was challenging but i doubt find it as difficult as reviews stated, personally. Def worth the hike

What a gem in Maine! I managed to hit this trail during peak leaf color season. The hike started in the multi-colored forest as I scrambled boulders upwards until I was above both treeline and clouds! The Knife Edge was easily my favorite part, and I would have to say that, in my opinion, in tops Angel's Landing in terms of exposure--tread carefully! This unique mountain is a must-do!

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely amazing

Great hike we did Hamlin first no bugs this time of year and beautiful fall colors. Don’t miss this hike

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful and fun trail by itself. The views are amazing regardless of the weather. Tend to spot lots of wildlife every time I’ve gone! Great trail!

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

I did this hike on October 8th and was supposedly the only individual to do it this day (via the registration sheet). I did it counterclockwise, but cut out the first .7 or so via canoe from Lean To 12, which is the at the end of the .5 across the Pond. What. A. Hike. I've done Katahdin 6 times and this is significantly more difficult in terms of endurance as mentioned by others. The amount of up and down between peaks makes this feel like a significantly longer hike- I did it in about 7.5 hours. The views are absolutely worth it- you get to see the entirety of the sourthern portion of the park. Note that moose activity seems to be high in the area- plenty of scat around. Trekking poles are helpful for large portions of this hike in terms of the rock hopping you'll need to do. That said, there are plenty of places where you will need to engage in full body rock scrambles and then the poles are worthless. Make sure to do this counterclockwise. And enjoy!

hiking
1 month ago

Started at Roaring Brook campground. Got to the gate at 6:00. Had to wait to get in (we hired a shuttle). Started on the trail at 7 AM. Hiked into Chimney Pond. Took 90 minutes. We moved at a fast clip. Very cold start of the AM. We weren’t recommended to hike Cathedral due to the snow and ice. Hiked up saddle (first time going up this route). Seemed easier compared to other trails. Top of saddle was beautiful. There was ice and snow - we brought crampons. Baxter Peak was packed. We returned via Abol. (No ice nor snow). Going down Abol was tough for the first 25% ~ very steep. The rest wasn’t so bad. Very tough hike overall. Almost 9 miles.

I did this hike on 10/3. The foliage made the views absolutely breathtaking. This hike is a doozy. I felt it was not as scary as Katahdin but required more endurance since you are going up 3x and down 3x. We were glad we packed the ibuprofen!

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

Took my group 10.5 hours to complete and we are slightly above average hikers. Knifes edge seemed super sketchy/difficult at first and we almost turned around, but I’m so glad we didn’t because it ended up getting easier and was just amazing. The “saddle slide” after Baxter peak just sucks, but it ends eventually. Lots of scrambling so gloves were a life saver. One of the hardest hikes I have ever done, but definitely worth it.

Hiked on Oct 3, 2019. Perfect weather: sunny, calm winds, about 35 degrees F on summit. Headed up Heylon Taylor, over Knife's Edge, up to Hamlin Peak, down Hamlin Ridge to Chimney Pond. Stayed the night there and down to Roaring Brook the next day. I am not extremely in shape but became an avid hiker this past year. This was definitely the most challenging (and beautiful) hike I've done thus far. By the time I had reached the summit and started toward Hamlin, my body was tired and I had slowed down a lot. That being said, it took me about 11 hours to get to Chimney Pond, which included some food and photo breaks. It took about 2 hours to get from Chimney Pond to Roaring Brook. I would describe this hike in two words: Holy Rocks. All different types of rocks. A lot of rock hopping and scrambling. Make sure you wear good hiking boots. I also wore half finger bouldering gloves which definitely helped with all the cold and jagged rocks I had to grab. Knife's Edge sounds scarier than it really is. It is breathtaking. I could see why people with a fear of heights would not want to do it and how a fall in certain places would be very dangerous or fatal. You just have to be sure of your footing. The chimney is definitely tricky, especially because I am short (5' 2") and I needed a boost a couple of times from my hiking partner. My height worked against me a couple of times during the hike but it wasn't terrible. If I were to give advice, it's this: -don't wear a large pack if crossing Knife's Edge (the rangers recommend 15-20 lbs max) -hydrate the day before and bring plenty of water and protein rich snacks -bring something to carry trash (v strict leave no trace policy, no biodegradable food scraps allowed on trail) -definitely stop at chimney pond at some point. the view is incredible

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

One of my favorite hikes. Knife edge is simply spectacular.

It had been more than 20 years since I returned to Katahdin. That's it, which I had the chance to go and I can tell you that this is my most technical hike to date and my most physically hard to date. Even more difficult than my trek to over 5300 meters in Peru. The weather was perfect. Almost no wind and a beautiful sky at the end of September.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Wow. Awesome hike for the views and very challenging terrain. Went up Helon, across Knife's edge to Baxter, and down Saddle. Glad I went that route because the toughest part on Knife edge is right after Pamola. The climb down and up the Chimney was nearly vertical and needed some careful navigation. After that, crossing the ridge to Baxter is tricky footing, but doable (unless the weather was bad, then would not recommend it). A great New England hike that is very tough. As other reviews state, bring lots of water because there isn't really any above the tree line. Poles would help in a lot of places, and in many others its scrambling on hands and feet. Make sure to start early because it does take a long time to complete the loop. Would not recommend for anyone who has bad knees or isn't used to hiking up elevation and uneven, rocky trails.

Very challenging but also rewarding hike. I went the opposite way and took Helon Taylor to Knife Edge to Saddle before taking Northwest Basin and Russell Pond because I wanted to summit Baxter Peak with fresher legs. I also took Russell Pond the whole way back to Roaring Brook instead of Wassataquoik for a portion. The trails offer a variety of settings from windblown rocky peaks to enchanted forrest-like moss covered rocks and downed trees to a picture perfect calm lake with a soaring mountain behind to babbling (and roaring at times) brooks with mini-waterfalls around every corner. Once the Northwest Basin Trail leaves the Hamilin Ridge Trail, you can see it is one that not too many traverse. Despite this, above the tree line the blazes and cairns are easy to spot. Near where the trail hits the first of two major descents the trail converges with a downhill stream. If it hadn't rained the day before, it would likely just be wet and slippery with leaves and moss. It is extremely slippery for about a half mile. When the trail starts to level off, you find yourself at Davis Pond. This is an excellent place to take a picture as you are looking straight up the side of a mountain - but don't stay in one spot too long as the bugs will come get you. The trail makes a sharp turn to the left and slightly uphill where you will travel on beams of wood off and on until you get to Lake Cowles. This was a tricky part as the trail seems to end, but really it was submerged. Perhaps it was because of the rain, but I would expect that normally, at a minimum you will have to do some rock hoping. However, you might want to prepare to trek through the water directly across the lake to get back on the trail. Shortly after the lake crossing, you start the second major descent, although this one is little easier because the water flow runs parallel instead of in sync with the trail for more of the descent. When the grade decreases again you'll travel go about a mile until your next water crossing. This is another tricky area where I had trouble locating the trail and/or blazes. If I remember correctly, I crossed the stream from one bank to another three times over maybe 30 yards. It required some rock hopping and I also ended up going in the water. After the water crossing, the trail runs somewhat parallel to the Wassataquoik Stream. The trail has many marshy and stream-like sections as well as several smaller stream crossings. Around a half mile out from Russell Pound and after you have passed the intersection with the North Peaks Trail, you will cross the entrance to a pond (more rock hoping or wading). Overall, this section of the trail is pretty easy going as long as you don't mind getting wet and the marsh. Russell Pond Trail is a pretty consistent undulating trail. There were numerous stream crossings with three of them being what I would consider major. Going south, the first two happen within a mile of each other. I assume the water level was higher than normal and swifter than normal due to the rain and may be traversed by rock hoping normally, but when I crossed, I got in the water, leaning into the current and choose my steps carefully. The water got down to 2.5 ft deep where it was easiest to cross and some sections were swift enough that a misstep would take you downstream in a hurry. Be prepared to get wet if you take this trail. Also, the water is very cold. I appreciated it, but it is worth mentioning that my feet were numb for a while after. Before getting to the end of of Russell Pond, there is an excellent place to take a picture of Katahdin, reflecting on Whidden Pond. The challenge/reward aspect of the trails (Northwest and Russell) is incredible, the beauty is spectacular, but that there several instances where it isn't very clear where the trail comes out on the other side of a water crossing and on some sections of the Northwest Basin trail where the blazes were a little hard to find, makes it a four star.

We started with Hamlin peak and went down via the knife edge, very nice hike with great panorama. It took us 7h50m. Be sure to buy your entrance fees before your hike, if you want to start early. You can bring some climbing gloves.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Lots of tricky scrambles and rockslides but worth it for the near constant views including some magnificent views of Katahdin and knife's edge! I am a fairly novice hiker. I hiked solo counter clockwise on a bluebird day and it took me about 9 hours (2.5 hours on the last 2 miles down North Traveler bc my legs were too tired for the descent). Lots of up and down at the start near little knife's edge but a pretty easy stretch in the middle. Little Knife's Edge wasn't terribly scary for me, but there's a stretch not far after that where you scramble up and across the side of the mountain across a giant lava rockslide. I definitely would not have felt good about doing that at the end on the way down, so I definitely concur with the counterclockwise advice! It was sunny and in the 70s and I saw about 10 people on the trail.

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

It’s easy to understand why Katahdin is considered by so many people to be the best hike in the northeast. This is a long, difficult hike with views that are hard to match. The hike up Helon Taylor is difficult but certainly manageable; when you reach Pamola Peak you will have already put in a lot of work, but you’ve really only just begun your adventure. The Knife Edge is challenging and thrilling, with sections of steep climbing and a few spots where you traverse narrow ledges. I never felt like I was in any real trouble but I definitely recognized the potential danger. Baxter Peak was extremely busy on the warm clear day we hiked, so we only stopped briefly for photos and moved on. Hiking down to the saddle was a bit of a drag. The trail is not overly steep but it is loose rock that shifts underneath you, making the going a little slower and more difficult than I expected. Soon enough the crowds thinned out and we began our ascent to Hamlin Peak. This is a nice trail with views that are very nice, although certainly not as magnificent as Knife Edge or Baxter Peak. The hike down Hamlin Ridge Trail, on the other hand, provided panoramic views of the entire range. It is a difficult, rocky descent, but quite worth it for the views. We chose to hike the extra spur over to Chimney Pond, which is well worth the extra 0.6 miles of hiking. The last 3.3 miles back to Roaring Brook was pretty but seemed to drag on a bit. There is very little elevation change but most of the trail is rocky and by the end of it we were more than ready for a rest. Overall this was just a fantastic way to spend a beautiful day - it’s really difficult and absolutely worth it.

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