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Baxter Peak via Saddle Trail

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Baxter State Park

Baxter Peak via Saddle Trail is a 10.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Millinocket, Maine that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September.

Distance: 10.4 miles Elevation Gain: 3,832 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

lake

views

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

snow

no dogs

Directions from Millinocket, ME: Travel approximately 15 miles north on SR 11 to reach the Togue Pond Gate. Bear right and travel about 8 miles to the Roaring Brook Campground. Begin on Chimney Pond Trail from beside the ranger's cabin. Hike approximately 3 miles to Chimney Pond Campground. Begin on the well-worn path by the ranger's mountain cabin.

hiking
rocky
scramble
5 months 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
8 months ago

My 18 yo son and I hiked from roaring brook to Baxter Peak via chimney pond and the saddle trail a week ago. I'm 51 and in fairly decent shape, though I don't do a lot of hiking. I did try to prepare myself for a couple months prior even though I knew it wouldn't be adequate. Boy was I right! We completed the hike, but I was whooped! We also didnt have enough water. We brought the recommended 2 quarts each, but I was out by the time we reached the summit. And it wasn't hot. We were both out by the time we got back to chimney pond. luckily a nice hiker gave us some water for the trek back to roaring brook. It took me several days to gef my legs working again, but I'm good now. As for the trail, its a fun climb, but it's all stones and rocks to navigate. The top of saddle is fairly steep and the east part of that section is basically a rock slide waiting to happen. The trail was well marked and there were a good number of other hikers around, which comforted me. It took us 13 hours total. That's not normal. I attribute my lack of physical condition and dehydration for it. But honestly, we just took freqent breaks so I could catch my breath and it was a lovely time with spectacular views. The only bummer was my knee gave out on the last 2 miles so it was super slow going. I'll be better prepared next time!

hiking
9 months ago

A must do... but definitely requires prep and taking this hike seriously as it’s strenuous and exposed the last miles. Incredible 360 degree views. Plan to leave early (at or before sunrise) as this is a day long commitment. The park can be busy so make plans well in advance if you want to camp in the park.

Tue Sep 25 2018

Just finished this hike in late September and it was amazing. challenging but also easy enough for the majority of people to successfully summit the mountain. highly recommend it

Mon Sep 10 2018

Very challenging hike up the mountain. Be prepared for a lot of dangerous rock climbing. Not for people with a fear of heights

Thu Aug 23 2018

same like semi rock climbing

hiking
Mon Aug 20 2018

Had a beautiful day in mid August to complete this loop. I'd like to first note that the Chimney Pond Trail is the only true upward "hiking" part of this loop before you reach the peak. Chimney Pond Trail is an inclined rocky trail that warms your body up for a couple miles before reaching the ranger station located at the pond. It was awesome to hike several miles up the mountain and surprisingly find lean-tos, yurts, and staff housing/buildings. After a brief stop at Chimney Pond to check out the views, you being to ascend Cathedral Trail. Cathedral Trail is basically bouldering/rock climbing. Although it appears intimidating (it's a pile of boulders stacked on top of each other at a significant slope as far as the eye can see) it can be accomplished by someone with decent strength, flexibility, and a will to get to the top. The views are amazing and the sense of accomplishment once you reach the top is well worth the effort. For me, this section was the adrenaline rush I was looking for and am still kind of wishing I had more bouldering trails like this near me. We reached the peak and had lunch/hung out for about 15 minutes and descended down Saddle Trail. The hike from Baxter Peak to the start of the steep descent down Saddle Trail was one of my favorite sections as you feel like you are on top of the world with amazing views all around you with little difficulty. Once we reach the beginning of the very steep section of Saddle Trail, the difficulty increased significantly as almost the whole trail down to Chimney Pond consisted of loose rock material and unstable footing. (I probably wouldn't have noted the loose rock material if I hadn't just climbed up a stable, boulder infested Cathedral). I began to feel weakened legs/knees about a quarter way down the trail as this section was very much different than any other section on this loop. We ran into Mara (Ranger from Chimney Pond) halfway down the trail, had a great conversation, and finally made it to Chimney Pond. Our hike out was the trail we hiked up. In all total, hike took around 8 hours with multiple stops for breaks, views, and friendly conversations. *Note: Our original intent was to hike down Knife Edge > Helon Taylor but changed once at the Peak due to wind and an uneasy girlfriend :) .

Thu Jul 26 2018

Can't wait to do it again!

hiking
rocky
Thu Jul 26 2018

Awesome hike to the summit! Bring lots of water, and prepare for varying weather once you reach the saddle -- it can be drastically different than below the treeline! Chimney Pond Trail is relatively easy with just a small but steady incline. Once you hit the Saddle Trail, things start to get steeper and some minor bouldering is involved in a few areas. Near the top of this leg is a scramble over loose scree. Once you're on the Saddle Ridge, you continue to follow the Saddle Trail right to Baxter Peak. The terrain here varies between tundra-like growth and large sedimentary rocks with cairns to mark the way. All in all, well worth the trip!

hiking
Sun Jul 15 2018

This peak is more like something you’d expect to find in the rock mountains than in Maine. If you’ve visited Katahdin and Hamlin Peak, you need no explanation of how amazing this place is. If not, let the pictures do the talking. I have hiked many places in my life, from Grand Teton National Park to the Andes Mountains. But Katahdin is still my favorite, truly beautiful terrain and absolutely worth the effort. We took Hamlin Ridge up, which was a much more fun option than Saddle since it stays above treeline longer.

hiking
Wed Oct 11 2017

I’d call this “hiking” as a very loose term. This is straight up rock climbing without the need for ropes and carabiners. Chose a gorgeous day with regard to temperature - winds were 20-25 mph with gusts at times to approx 35-40 mph. Made an already incredibly challenging climb even more challenging. This is not for the faint of heart or for those with a borderline crippling fear of heights. I had a lot of support along with a healthy fear of heights and thankfully a strong body and a no quit mind set. Please note, you are fully exposed along this “trail” and if it is raining or snowing don’t even attempt this. I agree with the other reviews that it should NOT be a trail that is taken to descend. The difficulty level is strenuous and challenging going up - down is in a game all it’s own. If you’re looking for a challenge, this is it. We completed the Chimney Pond Trail to Cathedral Trail to Baxter Peak, then across Knife Edge and descended Helon Taylor. Plan for a full day of hiking with a lot of changes of clothing to accommodate for the temperature changes as you ascend Mt Katahdin. Completed this hike on 10/1/17. **Additionally** we did encounter a black bear about a mile into our trek on Chimney Pond Trail. Just make sure you use caution and educate yourself about what to do if you run into wildlife. We had (obv) no issues, but worth tossing into the description!

hiking
Fri Sep 29 2017

Body took a straight pounding from this one and was sore the way back and the next day. All of the guys who did it were in really good shape and we pushed ourselves to the limit. Don't attempt this anywhere close to the winter. It made the bouldering suppppper difficult, the summit was windy and cold.

hiking
Wed Sep 27 2017

Went up cathedral while everything was wet, very challenging trail and slippery, the smaller lose rocks at the top coming back down to saddle get lose and can twist ankles easily, be careful on that part! 25-40mph winds at the top with about 40 yards of visibility... but it was amazing!!!

hiking
Sun Sep 17 2017

My very first summit in the Appalachians, this trail took us about 11 hours with lots of stops for photos and snacks. It has one rough scrambling area but in general it's one of the most gradual and forgiving of the Katahdin trails, good for beginners looking for a challenge!

hiking
Tue Aug 15 2017

This is the most popular route up Katahdin. Great hike. Took us 10 hours on the dot. Hit the trail at 7:20 am, checked out at 5:20 pm. Amazing views from the top. The weather changes quickly - be ready for anything!

hiking
Sat Jul 22 2017

Summited Baxter Peak via chimney pond and saddle trails. High winds once we got up to the table lands. Did not make it across knifes edge. Will have to attempt another time. Beautiful views !

Tue Jul 04 2017

The most challenging section was between the base and the first cathedral.

Tue Feb 14 2017

"Had" to go up Cathedral because of the slide on Dudley. It was rainy so the rocks were slick and there were definitely some sketchier passages, especially for the 5'1 member of our party. Skipped the knifes edge because of poor visibility, but you can still do an out and back on it if you want. Overall, making a loop up Pamola via Dudley is the superior hike, but while they sort out the slide Cathedral is a fine substitute.

Mon Sep 05 2016

LOVED this trail! This was one of my first experiences with bouldering/scrambling and I really enjoyed the hike.

Sat Aug 27 2016

First timer, won't be my last. Excellent, had everything thrown at you, you want it, this trail has it.

hiking
Tue Jul 19 2016

Came down Saddle after going up Cathedral. The smaller, loose granite at the top was difficult to navigate at times but the views were amazing and the climb down was steady.

hiking
Sat Jun 25 2016

Amazing hike. Was caught in freezing rain on my way up and still had the time of my life. I have to do this trail again!.

Tue Jun 21 2016

Amazing views of the Katahdin basin as you as ascend this steep and exposed (at the top) trail.

hiking
Thu Jun 20 2013

Steep, rocky trail that will intimidate beginners. Other than one or two spots this trail isn't nearly as bad as it looks from Chimney Pond. And that's from a guy who has a fear of heights. Don't plan on going down this trail. It's really a bad idea. Beautiful views - nearly unmatched unless you do Knife's Edge.

hiking
Thu Oct 11 2012

WOW!! Awesome, Hiked this trail with snow and ice on it. Very,Very cool. Highly recommended.

recorded Recording - Oct 09, 04:25 PM

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
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hiking
6 months ago

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