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Helon Taylor, Knife Edge, Saddle and Chimney Pond Trail

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Baxter State Park

Helon Taylor, Knife Edge, Saddle and Chimney Pond Trail is a 9.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Millinocket, Maine that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

Length 9.1 mi Elevation gain 3,894 ft Route type Loop

Backpacking

Camping

Fishing

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

No dogs

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Getting There

Stellar views, cliffs, and wilderness. A long grueling hike. The Knife edge is very rugged in places - the chimney is almost a technical climb. The Baxter peak side of the knife edge is a boulder scramble. The saddle trail has a 1/2 mile section of scree and is also very steep. A tough hike that you should be in shape for. The most difficult and time consuming portions of the hike are exposed and above tree-line.

www.baxterstateparkauthority.com

Water can be filtered from Chimney pond. DO NOT DO THIS HIKE IF YOU ARE SCARED OF HEIGHTS, OUT OF SHAPE OR NOT GOOD AT CLIMBING. BRING PROPER GEAR.

From Millinocket Maine follow the signs to Baxter State Park. At the entrace to Baxter you will have to pay a fee depending on in-state / out-of-state status and how long you will be in the park All overnight use must be made in advance by reservation. Day use is limited and restricted. Gate opens at 6:00 a.m. in the summers months. Access is very restricted in the winter months. From the gatehouse take a right and drive 7 or so miles to the Roaring Brook trailhead.

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Reviews (149)
Photos (684)
Recordings (103)
Completed (485)
Kelsey Houston
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HikingRocky
Corey Wademan
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HikingGreat!RockyScramble

An epic hike, hands down one of the best on the east coast. Accidentally hiked this in reverse starting at chimney pond to Helon taylor. The entire hike is practically a rock scramble so be prepared this is definitely not an easy climb. Once you get above tree line the views are spectacular but the hikes true beauty reveals itself close to the peak and along knifes edge. The videos and pictures do not do those views justice, it is pure epic ness. I will say knifes edge is mostly exposed the entire time about 15 feet at the widest and a few areas about 2 foot wide ledges overlooking a few thousand food sheer drop. The most nerving sections though imo are the climbing portions along the edge that are 3-4 wide but a complete apex spine with vertical drops on both sides. As well the chimney section is probably 5.8 climbing descending and ascending. Not surprising this hike has taken a fair amount of people. Nonetheless scared of heights individuals need not apply. Enjoy it and go at your own pace.

Leanna Lostoski
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HikingRockyScramble

Hiked on 7/16/20 in ideal weather, and this was just spectacular. We were ultimately happy choosing this loop. I was nervous to do Knife Edge, but it didn’t seem as bad as many videos and pictures make it out to be (if heights don’t bother you and you don’t have bad weather). The Chimney was certainly the worst part. Definitely bring a lot of water and tread carefully on the Knife Edge and Saddle Slide! The phenomenal views throughout are just unreal.

Emily Natalino
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HikingBugsRockyScramble

First I need to mention that we were not prepared for this hike at all. Prior to Katahdin the highest mountain I've ever hiked was Mt. Chocorua. It took us 12 hours to complete this hike, with hardly any actual rest breaks. We did need to stop and reevaluate if we were going to continue a couple of times due to weather. It was misting at the bottom, and about half way up Helon Taylor we started seeing people return from Pamola Peak saying that Knife's Edge looked to wet and foggy. So we continued along Helon Taylor and let me tell you that it's not an easy trail. It's a straight up rock climb right up to Pamola Peak. I'm 5'2 and had to do a full body workout to heave myself up quite a few boulders that are scattered about the trail. I feel like I also need to add a disclaimer here that Pamola is not a person, it is the Indian god of thunder and it's probably best that you do not completely disrespect him your whole way up to his house that he does not want you to visit. Always do you researched first! By the time we got to Pamola we were exhausted and already in the mindset that reaching the summit wasn't going to happen today, but as soon as I touched the Pamola summit sign the sun came out, the sky was bright blue and there was another group of hikers coming in from the Knife's Edge. All excuses other than I'm just too tired to do this were out the window and I came to Katahdin with one mission so onto Knife's Edge we went. The first 3/4's of the trail were gorgeous. I was nervous leading up to it, but as soon as I got up and over the chimney it was smooth sailing and quite exhilarating until the giant angry thundercloud swept in. Visibility was reduced to nothing, the wind was howling and relentless, pelting us with freezing rain and I thought for sure it was going kill us. A flash of lightning kicked me into gear and we eventually bear crawled to the summit with absolutely no view. Which was super disappointing in retrospect, but in the moment I was beyond excited to see the sign and profess my love to it. We took the Saddle trail back down and on the other side of Katahdin it looked like a landscape out of a sci-fi horror movie. The rocks looked like beach rocks with green moss and some weird almost sea grass stuff blowing in the wind. Saddle itself is just giant rock slide that is somehow the easiest way off the mountain. By the time I got to the chimney pond trail my knees and feet, most specifically toes were in complete agony and it just kept on going. We were racing the sunset and it felt like I was never going to stop walking. But we made it and within 24 hours of completing the mountain and swearing I'll never hike again I started planning a Mt. Washington trip and a return trip to Katahdin probably next year. All in all I highly recommend the hike. It was a life changing experience that taught me a lot about the woods, myself, and why it's so important to be prepared for everything.

Robert Esposito
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RockyScramble

absolutely worth it!!!! if you hiked on Tuesday 7-14-2020 and are from millinocket with a group of three friends from Peru I just added two shots of you going up the chimney to the photo section!!!!

Jen Jinks
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HikingRockyScramble

Hiked this loop this week. WOW. It's hard, but amazing. Taking Helon up is beautiful, and the bouldering gets you ready for what's ahead. There is a lot of scrambling before Pamola Peak, and then - Chimney Notch! It's pretty much straight up, but here and on Knife Edge in general they do a great job with blazes showing you a safe (but challenging) path. Knife Edge is once in a lifetime. 1 mile took me 2 hours. The views are bonkers. Then you are at Baxter! Not going to lie - I teared up! It's both stunning and you have a great feeling of what you just accomplished. Then I headed down Saddle and truthfully, it sucked! Down on loose rocks, and then some steeper climbs down. But then you can take a breather at Chimney Pond which is gorgeous. From there, it's another 3 mi to Roaring Brook Campground. The entire trail is beautiful, there are no boring parts, and it is challenging all the time. loved it. Took me 9 hours total, solo, probably slightly above average fitness. Take your time, going lots of water and snacks, and ENJOY!

John Gillette
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BugsRockyScramble
View John's Recording
Kale Reuben
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Hiking

Life-changing

Sowmya Subramanian
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Hiking

We knew about Katahdin mostly because of the Appalachian trail but no words describe the beauty that is Baxter State Park. Secluded from most of the world, rugged and truly a hidden gem. We enjoyed our time, loved the hike. Also huge huge shout outs to the wonderful rangers, extremely polite and patient and just want you to be safe and enjoy your hike. The hike is strenuous and best done after physically preparing and with enough food and water supplies as there is none available once you cross the tree line.

John Allison
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Hiking

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.

Michael Mitchell
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Hiking

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!

Jake Harton
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Hiking

Absolutely amazing

Mandy Pelletier
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HikingScramble

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.

Marc Létourneau
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Hiking

Ça faisait plus de 20 ans que je revais à Katahdin. Voilà, qui j'ai eu la chance d'y aller et je peux vous dire que c'est ma randonnée la plus technique à ce jour et ma plus dure physiquement à ce jour. Même plus difficile que mon trek à plus de 5300 mètres au Pérou. La météo était parfaite. Presque pas de vent et un ciel superbe en cette fin de septembre.

James L
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HikingRockyScramble

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.

VIKRAM ORUGANTI
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HikingRocky
View VIKRAM 's Recording
Jose Gutierrez
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HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

Si se hace el recorrido a Baxter Peak pasando por Kinfe Edge es una de las rutas más espectaculares que hay. Una ruta compleja, empinada y de mucha técnica pero cada paso vale la pena. De los mejores montañismo que hay en esta zona del país. Hay que ir preparados para una caminata entre 10 y 12 horas dependiendo de la ruta. En una parte de la ruta hay mucha agua pero en otra casi no hay así que se dede de ir preparado con agua y alimentos para esa cantidad de horas.

Travis Powers
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HikingRockyScramble

So we did this on a very wet day! Opposite how most people do it! We went up Helon/Taylor, across Knifes Edge, then Down Saddle and Chimney. It was nice to have a easier walk out but Knifes Edge is quite the challenge in a storm! Overall it was a great time but the rock climb around Pamola was more than expected!

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