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Katahdin Loop Trail

HARD 62 reviews
#2 of 36 trails in

Katahdin Loop 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.

9.1 miles
3,894 feet





nature trips


bird watching



wild flowers




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.

3 months ago

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.

3 months ago

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.

6 months ago

Started at Roaring Brook, up to Chimney Pond and then Saddle to Baxter Peak. Took Knife Edge to Pamola Peak and Helon Taylor all the way down. Fog/couds and wind on the knife.

6 months ago

The park does not “close” the Knife Edge anymore. It is up to hiker discretion whether to go across. It is very exposed, often windy and narrow in sections. Takes almost 2 hours to go one mile.

Helon Taylor is a very rocky and steadily steep trail. Tough to make more that 1mph avg.

The Saddle trail is pretty steady with a steep exposed scree section of about 50 yrds at the top.

The trail between Chimney Pond & Roaring Brook is an easy 3.3 mile walk in the woods with some nice side views across ponds.

6 months ago

My brother, sister and I started from roaring brook at 7:45 AM yesterday, a late August day with overcast skies and perfect weather slated all day. We are all fit and active, but were going pretty slow because the footing and climbing was already somewhat challenging from the Heylon trail. The exposed portion above tree line offered magnificent views, though there was a kind of foggy mist around the next set of mountains, and on a clear day you can probably see far more in the distance. We arrived to the Knife Edge by 12:45, some five hours later with a few short water and snack breaks in between. The KE was purported to take 2 hours max, but we inched our way forward for 4:15 minutes. Total ass kicker. So many tricky spots that having a buddy or two seems necessary to me, and I often didn’t see a clear trail, so we probably spent more time looking by for which boulder to cross. Granted, this was our first real rock climbing experience, as I’ve only ever done relatively minor scrambling (eg Old Rag in Shenandoah). There’s a dip where you climb vertically down and up and the wind howling the whole way was pretty terrifying; I thought I’d blow away! Most people probably went much faster but all of us are pretty scared of heights. Try not to psyche yourself and look down because it’s dizzying. So at long last we arrived to Baxter peak at 5 PM. Only two lonely souls up there and we hadn’t seen anyone else for at least a couple hours (we’re guessing we were the last ones to start hiking up that way and perhaps the slowest). Unfortunately, we didn’t quite research well enough (or didn’t anticipate how slow going it would be) to time our hike in a way to avoid returning in the dark. Took an hour to get from the peak to the saddle trail down the screw, though it was a lovely landscape in the waning sunlight. We were so lucky to come down saddle and chimney before sundown, because again you were doing a lot of rock holding and had to go slowly to not slip. Another two hours with headlamps from the chimney campground back to roaring brook with a nearly full moon ahead. Super glad for this app to track us because there were a couple sections where we veered off the trail and found the pond and realized the trail probably doesn’t go that way haha. However, I had to stop recording midway through to save my battery. All told, returned at 9:45 PM, for a full 14 hour journey with few breaks. Definitely take plenty of food, protein bars, I took more than 3L of water and glad I did because we sweat a ton (half from the anxiety I’m sure). Not for the faint of heart, but if you’re strong, believe in yourself, are adequately prepared and have likeminded hiking buddies, this will be an unforgettable experience and adventure of a lifetime.

7 months 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.

7 months ago

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.

7 months 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.

7 months ago

On my bucket list

7 months ago

Challenging hike with diverse terrain and amazing scenery!

8 months ago

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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

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!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

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.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

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

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

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.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Long grueling hike, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Took Cathedral trail from Chimney Pond to Baxter peak, which is a boulder scramble. Knife Edge was a fun challenge with a steep down and up called the chimney. We finished down Helon Taylor trail.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Had an amazing day taking the abol trail to the hunt. Was feeling really accomplished and excited about all my bouldering up abol until I ran into four thru-hikers finishing their AT journeys and was very quickly humbled! Decided to take the hunt (AT) on the way down in homage to my new friends and more than once scratched my head at just where the white blazes were positioned on the boulders going down (you're suggesting I go where?!).

In total the hike ends up being 10 miles with a two mile trek back to the abol campground. Honestly, toughest hike of my life, incredibly challenging but worth every single minute. Ran into loads of kids (probably 12 and up) and senior citizens, so it's tough but totally manageable and safe.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Mount Katahdin was absolutely breathe taking . A very tough hike that'll take you most of if not the entire day given you want to enjoy a nice lunch on top of the mountain. We got here at about 9 o'clock in the morning on Saturday in late August and they told us the entire parking lot was full. We ended up parking closer to the trail head to one of the neighboring mountains and found our way to the hunt trail. Amazing hike

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Amazing experience. My wife is less experienced so it took us longer than average time to complete, but it is well worth it. It's not only the trail, the mountain, but the people who make BSP and Milinocket a great place to visit. Will come back for sure and try other ways up, but will do the knife edge over and over again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

AWESOME! This is a challenging hike, started up the Helen Taylor trail which is mostly Boulder climbing. Once we got to the peak we went across knifes edge, which is grueling and a bit sketchy but it's a thrill. Made it to Baxters peak than headed down saddle trail which is rocky the entire way, which can be rough on your feet. But the view at the top is incredible!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Incredibly humbling hike without a cloud in the sky. Definitely check your weather because the Edge could be a little sketchy in the rain/ wind gusts.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

This is an ankle breaker. There is no dirt trail, it is rock hopping the entire way. Mountain is imposing, since it is a standalone. It looks like something transplanted from the Rockies. Every hiker should experience Baxter Park. Doing this hike made my entire year!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Baxter Park opens in May, trails are available usually after May 15, depending on conditions. Head to baxterstateparkauthority.com for more info and day use parking reservations.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The trails at Baxter State park are awesome. I did the hike and rock climbing to Katahdin via cathedral trail on my way up and saddle trail on my way down and this was by far the most challenging experience ever. The thrill of rock climbing was scary at first but rewarding once we got to the summit.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Breathtaking waterfalls!!!!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Not a heights guy but honestly this was a lot less scary than the reviews would make you believe. The chimney was a challenge and you could tell a slip would be bad but if you are pretty sure footed with good balance the heights won't be an issue. Be prepared you will be boulder walking all day. Wear good footwear. Views were outstanding

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Spectacular hike with unbelievable views. Not recommended for the ones afraid of heights.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Katahdin is just fantastic. Very challenging, but that's what makes it fun. Lead eight people (three dropped) up Helon Taylor to Baxter Peak via Knife Edge. Let them go down the Saddle trail. Friend and I grabbed Hamlin and I soloed out to the Howe Peaks through a desolate wilderness that looked like no one had passed through in years. Did I say it was fantastic? We dropped down Hamlin Ridge the Chimney, back to Roaring Brook.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

it is very strenuous hike. A breathtaking view along the Pamola Peak to Baxter Peak wil be a life time memory for sure.

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