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Mount Katahdin and Hamlin Peak Loop

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Baxter State Park

Mount Katahdin and Hamlin Peak Loop is a 10.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Millinocket, Maine that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from March until October.

Length 10.9 mi Elevation gain 4,475 ft Route type Loop
Camping Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Forest Lake River Views Wildlife Bugs Rocky Scramble No dogs
Description
Waypoints (9)
Tips
Getting There

On this loop hike you will climb all the peaks of tallest mountain in Maine, also the terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Baxter Peak is the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and is the high point of the state. In total you will be climbing 3 distinct mountains on this loop hike including a side trip to Chimney Pond nestled in the center of your alpine loop trip. All trail junctures have been detailed in this guide. If you want to fully appreciate Mt. Katahdin in all its glory, this is the loop hike to make. It can be done in one long day with an early start.

Black Flies - call the ranger station ahead of time to inquire about these nasties. On most days above treeline you should be fine as it is usually windy. Bring a head net and long sleeves if you are worried. There is a $12 fee to enter the park and the number of people allowed to climb at certain trailheads is limited on busy summer weekends so plan ahead.

ake I-95 to the Millinocket-Mattawamkeag exit which is roughly 50 miles north of Bangor. Follow signs to Millinocket and then turn right where the road splits at a high school onto Katahdin Ave. Go several blocks then take a left following signs for Baxter State Park which is about 16 miles away.

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Reviews (121)
Photos (923)
Recordings (93)
Completed (341)
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Yuge Xiao
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HikingGreat!RockyScramble

Katahdin and its surrounding landscape are incredible, and this loop allows you to experience it all. The Chimney (a sharp drop and climb) between Pamola and the Knife’s Edge was probably the most technically-challenging portion of the hike, but doable even as a short (5’ 3”) person, though a partner to help with footholds is recommended. The Knife’s Edge is not for anyone afraid of heights, but is manageable if you take it slowly and isn’t as narrow as I’d thought. Would not recommend if you aren’t in good athletic shape and haven’t done hard hikes before. Whole trip took a bit more than 9 hrs, moving at a good pace through most of the loop but definitely dawdling down Hamlin Ridge because of the awesome views.

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Tom Phillips
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Hiking
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Patrick Kolarik
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Hiking

Amazing! Everything about it, simply amazing!

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Yaghoub Alpar
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HikingRockyScramble

Went counterclockwise, with a detour to Chimney Pond back to Hamlin Ridge. Then all the way down Helon. Did it solo and no problems. Just be careful thru Knife’s Edge, especially on a windy day like yesterday (Tuesday). 9 1/2 hours round trip. The entire loop is must for anyone to truly experience this hike.

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Ameya Shashank
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Hiking
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Shashank Ks
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Hiking

not for the faint hearted. Hard but a great workout.

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Eric Still
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Rock climbingGreat!No shadeRockyScramble

Alright, I overall loved this trail.. even with it's difficulties. I would say only do Pamola to Knife's Edge if you are experienced. I've hiked quite a bit, but there was a 100ft drop after Pamola to go to Knifes Edge that had difficult places to even grab onto, slip at all, you would fall off. Then once you start Knife's Edge, I would suggest paying attention to every step you take, because some of the walking areas are feet wide. After Knife's Edge, it gets I guess less difficult? it's plenty of scaling rocks for the majority of the hike. Going down Saddle after the Hamlin Peak was pretty rough too, especially on the knees. When, not if, I hike Katahdin again I will reach Baxter peak again, I will most likely take a different route up (not Knife's Edge) . I would suggest trying Knife's Edge at least once, as long as you are ready for a challenge.

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zsolt makranczi
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Hiking

One of the best trails and the hardest.

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Tibor Pelle
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Hiking

Extremely difficult hike. I would not do this huge loop again only shortened version

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Mary S
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HikingGreat!RockyScramble

Holy Moly this hike is no joke but the rewards are outstanding views, sore body and full soul! Knew this would be challenging and started at 4 a.m. from Roaring Brook campsite for a solo loop and the total trip time with breaks was 11 1/2 hours to complete my NE67. I heard about the 'scary' part of Knifes Edge but was not prepared for the first part with a substantial drop and climb that might be better done with a friend. I am 5'7" and had some challenging moves to be able to lower myself down or pull myself up blindly without full view of the hold or where my foot needed to be. It would have definitely helped with a hiking partner to help guide/support/assist. The day was nearly constant boulders (not the horizontal kind that are easy to hop) but the vertical kind that had me rarely standing up but either crab walking or bear crawling! Time from junction of Helon Taylor Trail/Knifes Edge to Katadhin was nearly two hours for 1.1 miles. From there your speed can pick up a bit to Hamlin Peak but going down Hamlin Ridge you will slow again on the ridge going down until you get into the treeline with nothing but boulders again. I hike a lot and could not believe how sore I was immediately and the day following- almost like I had not hiked before. For most of the day I was having to concentrate on every step and foot placement which doubles the exhaustion (mind and body) a bit more. Pretty epic day!

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Paige Chapman
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BackpackingGreat!

Beautiful weather when we visited the first week of August. Took Saddle from the campground & got up at sunrise in order to beat the approaching storm!! 10/10. Would highly recommend :) The view was well worth the time & effort.

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Jeff Peterson
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HikingGreat!

I wanted to climb two mountains in one day to help get me to my goal of scaling all 14 of Maine’s 4,000 plus foot mountains this Summer. Hiked up Abol to Katadhin and over to Hamlin and down to the Chimney Pond trail to Roaring Brook. To do that you need two vehicles. I left at 7:00am and finished at 5:00pm. That included about an hour of picture taking, talking with other climbers, waiting for the clouds to move and enjoying the views. Very long day and very difficult. Going up Abol wasn’t bad, but going down the Hamlin trail is challenging and hard. It’s well worth it to see the views of Katadhin, Chimney Pond and other peaks, valleys and bodies of water from Hamlin. They are stunning. Be prepared when it comes to clothes for big temperature changes, have lots of water and definitely have long pants to help you down Hamlin. There is lots of sliding involved. I was exhausted and sore at the end, because your entire body gets a workout. Well worth the time and energy. Add an extra .6 mile round trip to check out the spectacular view from Chimney Pond looking up at Katadhin.

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Peter Catanzaro
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Megan Hooper
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Hiking

Really windy start to the day so we went up Hamlin Ridge first. allowed the wind to die down and for us to successfully go across knifes edge.

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Alex Vaillancourt
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BackpackingGreat!

Was very Foggy when I last went so I missed out on the view. Also was raining very heavily so pick a nice day so you don’t miss out. Other then that an amazing trail!!

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Nomer German
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HikingBugsGreat!Rocky

This was no joke !!! You need to be physically and mentally ready to climb, start early !!! For us , it took us almost 10 hours up and down but your hard work was rewarding. Going down was the hard part , so steep and you need to crouch down , to climb up nearly to summit you almost need to crawl .

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Frank Leblanc
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Clara McGrath
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HikingRockyScramble
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Benjamin Scharadin
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