DISTANCE
9.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,900 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

birding

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no dogs

hiking
2 days 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.