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Mount Katahdin and Hamlin Peak Loop

HARD 64 reviews
#3 of 44 trails in

Mount Katahdin and Hamlin Peak Loop is a 11.5 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.

Distance: 11.5 miles Elevation Gain: 4,475 feet Route Type: Loop

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

wildlife

bugs

rocky

scramble

no dogs

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike we did Hamlin first no bugs this time of year and beautiful fall colors. Don’t miss this hike

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked on Oct 3, 2019. Perfect weather: sunny, calm winds, about 35 degrees F on summit. Headed up Heylon Taylor, over Knife's Edge, up to Hamlin Peak, down Hamlin Ridge to Chimney Pond. Stayed the night there and down to Roaring Brook the next day. I am not extremely in shape but became an avid hiker this past year. This was definitely the most challenging (and beautiful) hike I've done thus far. By the time I had reached the summit and started toward Hamlin, my body was tired and I had slowed down a lot. That being said, it took me about 11 hours to get to Chimney Pond, which included some food and photo breaks. It took about 2 hours to get from Chimney Pond to Roaring Brook. I would describe this hike in two words: Holy Rocks. All different types of rocks. A lot of rock hopping and scrambling. Make sure you wear good hiking boots. I also wore half finger bouldering gloves which definitely helped with all the cold and jagged rocks I had to grab. Knife's Edge sounds scarier than it really is. It is breathtaking. I could see why people with a fear of heights would not want to do it and how a fall in certain places would be very dangerous or fatal. You just have to be sure of your footing. The chimney is definitely tricky, especially because I am short (5' 2") and I needed a boost a couple of times from my hiking partner. My height worked against me a couple of times during the hike but it wasn't terrible. If I were to give advice, it's this: -don't wear a large pack if crossing Knife's Edge (the rangers recommend 15-20 lbs max) -hydrate the day before and bring plenty of water and protein rich snacks -bring something to carry trash (v strict leave no trace policy, no biodegradable food scraps allowed on trail) -definitely stop at chimney pond at some point. the view is incredible

We started with Hamlin peak and went down via the knife edge, very nice hike with great panorama. It took us 7h50m. Be sure to buy your entrance fees before your hike, if you want to start early. You can bring some climbing gloves.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

It’s easy to understand why Katahdin is considered by so many people to be the best hike in the northeast. This is a long, difficult hike with views that are hard to match. The hike up Helon Taylor is difficult but certainly manageable; when you reach Pamola Peak you will have already put in a lot of work, but you’ve really only just begun your adventure. The Knife Edge is challenging and thrilling, with sections of steep climbing and a few spots where you traverse narrow ledges. I never felt like I was in any real trouble but I definitely recognized the potential danger. Baxter Peak was extremely busy on the warm clear day we hiked, so we only stopped briefly for photos and moved on. Hiking down to the saddle was a bit of a drag. The trail is not overly steep but it is loose rock that shifts underneath you, making the going a little slower and more difficult than I expected. Soon enough the crowds thinned out and we began our ascent to Hamlin Peak. This is a nice trail with views that are very nice, although certainly not as magnificent as Knife Edge or Baxter Peak. The hike down Hamlin Ridge Trail, on the other hand, provided panoramic views of the entire range. It is a difficult, rocky descent, but quite worth it for the views. We chose to hike the extra spur over to Chimney Pond, which is well worth the extra 0.6 miles of hiking. The last 3.3 miles back to Roaring Brook was pretty but seemed to drag on a bit. There is very little elevation change but most of the trail is rocky and by the end of it we were more than ready for a rest. Overall this was just a fantastic way to spend a beautiful day - it’s really difficult and absolutely worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

Like many reviewers have said before me do not skip this after climbing Katahdin. The route down the Hamlin ridge provides incredible views.

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Do not skip Hamlin Peak. 90+% of hikers were either coming up/down Saddle, thus missing out on Hamlin. The views were just as good as—if not better than—Baxter Peak, and didn’t have the massive crowd. Rangers informed me that AllTrails was not exactly accurate on this loop. They said it was closer to 11.2 miles, not 9.8. My gps had it listed at 11.4.

hiking
3 months ago

The hike back down after Hamlin Peak is incredibly brutal on the knees and you’ll be scrambling down for a while. That being said, what an amazing hike. Knife’s Edge is awesome. Plenty of amazing views. Would only recommend this hike for incredibly fit people or seasoned hikers.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

One of the best experiences of my life, very rocky trails, you have to be physically prepared and go prepared for insects, bring plenty of water ... it takes 10 to 12 hours on the road.

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

Started at 7 am and ascended Cathedral Trail to Baxter then cut across Knife’s Edge coming down Helon. Over 5k of elevation gain, very steep on the way up and rocky throughout! A very hard climb, but well worth the effort for this 65 year old. Finished in under 8.5 hours. Bring your favorite bug spray and plenty of water...4 x 16 oz bottles should suffice.

hiking
4 months ago

Although the hike was a little difficult, it was an amazing adventure filled with spectacular views! The knife edge was so much fun as you were literally climbing a pile a rocks on the way from Pamola to Baxter peaks. Once you were high enough the black flies were gone so we could really enjoy the views. Overall Baxter State Park is absolutely gorgeous in its efforts to keep the human footprint to a minimum - it really provides the full wilderness feel. I would 100% hike this loop many times again and would recommend to anyone thinking of coming up to Baxter! :)

hiking
blowdown
bugs
muddy
no shade
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

What a day. Epic for sure. Decided against knifes edge or cathedral as we have 6 days of hiking. Therefore dd Hamlin 2x. Rocky and strenuous but loved it. Not a cloud in the sky so be aware of tons of exposure. Unbelievable views almost all day. So glad I got to have this experience as it might be a 1x only hike. Bugs crazy bad on way out but winds kept them away all day.

hiking
4 months ago

The hike on Helon Taylor up to Pamola isn’t too bad some fun scrambles. Getting off Pamola and onto then up Chimney was the most intense part of Knifes. Descending Baxter and going up to Hamlin was easy but going down Hamlin Ridge killed my knees. From Pamola to Hamlin ridge is all above tree-line and fully exposed to the sun as well as lots of bugs with the lack of real wind so wear sunscreen and bring bug spray. Not gonna lie but knifes wasn’t as insane as some reviews I’ve read/stories I’ve heard. Still wild and incredible just didn’t get the fear of death feeling I wanted lol

hiking
bugs
closed
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

Beautiful hike but the 10 hours that weren't spent at the top were completely ruined by the bugs. The midges are absolutely horrible, its indescribable how much hell they will put you thru on this trail . In your ears, in your eyes, in your nose. I would never ever do this hike again in June or July. Elsewise, don't miss it, as it is one of the best in the country. Dudley is closed, and Saddle was temporarily closed due to 7 feet of packed snow on the trail.

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