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 14.6 kilometer 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.

Distance: 14.6 km Elevation Gain: 1,187 m Route Type: Loop

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no dogs

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.

hiking
5 months 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.

hiking
5 months ago

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
5 months ago

Absolutely amazing

hiking
scramble
6 months 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.

hiking
6 months ago

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.

hiking
rocky
scramble
6 months 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.

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
6 months ago

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.

hiking
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

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!

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

Very challenging trail. Definitely make sure to bring more water than you think you need, the last few miles feel grueling after hours of hopping from rock to rock and you sweat it out fast. Parts of the trail are also very steep and require a lot of careful footwork. Boots with ankle support are a must and anyone with knee issues should consider having some type of wrap/support. Lastly, consider thin gloves with good grip. There are many times where you have to grip the boulders you’re scrambling over but they’re not necessary if that doesn’t bother you. The signage for trail distance is a little off, in total it’s about 9-10miles. The views are incredibly rewarding for the effort put in.

hiking
7 months ago

Amazing weather conditions Sept 1st. Did knifes edge despite AllTrails crashing on me.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

“How hard can it be?” my friend said to me before we set off. The answer? Petty hard. I’ve done a lot of hiking out west (South Sister, Half Dome, Cloud’s Rest, Angel’s Landing) and this hike competes in difficulty. It’s not that the distance or elevation is so hard, but the terrain never levels out in the descent. We took Helon up to Pamola, over Knife’s Edge and down the saddle for our descent. A good first time route, but it remains rocky the whole way. Hiking poles are a must if your knees aren’t the best. We did it in 8.5 hours, my GPS said this loop was 12 miles total.

hiking
8 months ago

took us 12hrs. afterwards big macs never tasted so good.

hiking
8 months ago

I did this trail in good shape(cycle regularly) but newer to hiking. I did the trip alone and took minimal breaks on my way up to the summit and made it there in just about three hours. I took a break up there and did some socializing to finish the loop in six and a half hours. I'm sure groups and others will move slower. The ascent is via Helon trail and the descent is via Saddle trail. It starts and ends at Roaring Brook Campground. I brought a 2L waterpack, a large sports drink and plenty of snacks and ran out of everything within the last two miles, I got by but was thirsty. This trail is a ten mile loop according to the trail staff. I suspect GPS is spotty throughout the loop which gives a shorter distance. I was surprised about the lack of warning signs regarding knife edge trail. It really is treacherous and I would not recommend it for those who aren't fit and nimble. you can summit Katahdin and not do knife edge trail with other trails such as Abol and Saddle. PARKING: this is challenging. you can reserve a spot via the Baxter state park website, however it is held until 7am. After 7am parking is first come first served. If you didn't plan accordingly your best chance at finding a spot is to show up just after 7am. I did this and got lucky one of the last spots available at 7:20. Don't start your hike less than 8hrs before sunset, more if you expect more time. Overall and incredible experience, would highly recommend it.

In to Chimney Pond from Roaring Brook, up Cathedral (just WOW!), summit Katahdin, over Knife Edge and down the Helon Taylor to the Jeep. Cathedral is a straight up, 2150' boulder climb over 1.2 miles that gets quite vertical and exposed at points. Knife Edge is just awesome; make sure to do this in good weather with low winds! Great hike and epic 9 mile loop!

Started at 8:30 at Roaring Brook camp and went up Helon Taylor trail. It’s tough from the get-go and does not relent. Relief only arrived when we were above tree line and got some wind. Still steep all the way up to Pamola Peak. Took the incredible Knife Edge trail to Baxter Peak, which was a good rest spot. Took the Saddle Trail down since Castle looked a lot steeper. A tough descent, but got less steep toward the bottom. Went to Chimney Pond for a water refill and lunch. Ran out of water by that point and filled up with the filter. Three more miles home on rocky declining terrain that doesn’t get easier. Make sure to stop by the lake to dip your feet in the lake a mile after Chimney!

hiking
rocky
scramble
8 months ago

As always, such a lovely hike! Best way is up Helon Taylor and down Saddle.

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
Fri Nov 30 2018

Challenging on the way up and much steeper than anticipated. Took Helon Taylor up to Pamola Peak and then down/up the Chimney, which was much more intimidating for me than the knife. Crowds bottle necked at Pamola and took a while to cross the Chimney, but was expected. The knife was awesome and worth the climb up 100 fold. The trip down was pretty brutal on the feet and poles may have helped a bit. Overall, one of my favorites and definitely one of the most challenging in New England. 12 hours is about what it took me and I'm in average shape. One of the best hikes E of the Mississippi without question.

hiking
Wed Nov 28 2018

My brother and I did this hike back in August this year. The weather was great, not hot or cold, but it had rained the day before so it was a little muddy, and was very windy with strong gusts once we cleared the trees on Helon Taylor going up to Pamola Peak. Like others have mentioned, getting onto Knife Edge from Pamola was daunting to say the least. We both wore bouldering gloves which really helped when crossing Knife Edge. Be aware there is a scree when coming down from Baxter Peak to Saddle and can be slippery. We took Saddle down to Chimney Pond, which we hadn’t been aware is also another rock scramble in a dry wash - so be prepared. Eventually the dry wash turns into more of a trail. From there it’s an additional 3.5 miles to the trailhead. We made it back a few hours after dark, but had headlamps and trekking poles. What’s nice: there are painted blue trail guides so generally speaking the trail is easy to stick to. Definitely was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting but the feeling of accomplishment can’t be beat! We had plenty of snacks and water and finished them all so make sure you bring plenty along. Our mistake was not stashing any food in the car to eat once back - there’s a “24/7” McDonald’s in Millinocket that we were hungry enough to eat, but was closed when we drove past and nothing else is open in that area after dark seems like, not even convenience stores. Anyway - gotta say that this was a pretty great hike but not sure I’d do it again, but that’s not to deter anyone who wants to give it a shot! For me, it was a bucket list item and it feels good knowing I did it.

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