Mount Katahdin Loop

HARD 90 reviews
#1 of 24 trails in

Mount Katahdin Loop is a 17 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Millinocket, Maine that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

17.0 miles
8,021 feet




nature trips

trail running





wild flowers




no dogs

This steep and difficult trail loop summits Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park. This is the highest mountain in the state of Maine and a popular alpine hiking destination in northern New England. It's also the ending place for Appalachian Trail thru-hikers finishing their trek from the starting point in Georgia. The trail loop follows Hunt Trail to Knife Edge Trail where hikers ascend Baxter Peak, Mount Katahdin,South Peak, Chimney Peak and Pamola Peak. Continuing on Helon Taylor Trail, hikers will make their way along Keep Ridge to the Roaring Brook Campground. The return trip follows Chimney Pond Trail to Basin Ponds, Great Basin and South Basin via Cathedral Trail and Saddle Trail, and back to Hunt Trail. The trailhead is located at the Katahdin Stream Campground.

2 days ago

Took the Abol Trail on the west side of the mountain to the Knife's Edge Trail on the east side down to the campsite at the bottom of the east trails. Abol Trail was surprisingly steep in the middle and I almost slipped a few times where I would have probably fallen to my death. It was badass. The Knife's Edge is like something you'd see crazy people walking across in movies or YouTube videos. I highly recommend climbing this mountain. It was beautiful from all angles. I also met Miranda and Karissa, two really nice (and cute) girls who work at the park, at the bottom of the east sided trail head where they offered to give me a ride to the information center. A big thank you to them. :)


2 days ago

Only did Hunt trail up to Baxter peak and back down. Beautiful trail, I can't wait to get back

7 days ago

The waterfall is outstanding! Gorgeous hike.

10 days ago

I think this is a great hike; however, I think the map and the trail description provided are grossly inaccurate. We started from Katahdin Stream Campground in the morning with the goal of reaching Roaring Brook Campground in the afternoon. With this being a lollipop trail listed as 17 miles, one could expect that it would be roughly 8 to 9 miles to the campground. Being that we were camping overnight at Roaring Brook we took full packs. We didn't see a single other person on the trail with full packs and once we started to get to the rock scrambling we realized why. Also, the gatehouse attendant, park ranger, and every other hiker we came across strongly recommended that we avoid Knife's Edge with a full pack. Way too dangerous.

So we took the Hunt Trail all the way up to the summit of Katahdin, went down Saddle Trail, and took the Chimney Pond Trail to the Roaring Brook Campground. Total mileage per our Garmin's was 12.5 miles. We hitchhiked back to our car at Katahdin Stream Campground and got a hotel for the night because we were so spent and weren't going to attempt to hike back the next day.

Don't get me wrong the views were amazing and the trail is pretty cool, but the description provided above and the mileage listed are seriously inaccurate.

11 days ago

Took chimney pond to saddle trail to reach Baxter peak summit. The saddle trail is fun with rock scrambling and amazing views. Once I reached the ridge, it was very windy and it’s a gradual ascent to the peak across the ridge. Great views from the top and highly recommend the hike!

1 month ago

Great views from the top. Apart the last bit of bouldering needing to be done prior to reaching the ridge line this is a moderate climb.

5 months ago

Strenuous, but very fulfilling! I’ve climbed this mountain twice. It’s life-changing. Do it..

6 months ago

This was one of the more memorable hikes of my life. I did it late in the season (knifes edge had just iced over a bit), and was the only one on the mountain. And no bugs! I would highly recommend doing this early winter, if of course the park ranger says it’s not too dangerous. There aren’t many days in life that are memorable, but I’d imagine for most that hiking this mountain is one.

8 months ago

Best view I’ve ever seen. Make sure to go on a day with good weather or you won’t even be able to see the view and path can get narrow. If you go in late summer you might be lucky enough to see some Thru Hikers! Took us about 3 1/2 hours total up the AT trail and down knives edge. May take longer and we were in top shape.

8 months ago

My boyfriend and I went in early July of 2017. We did not get there earlier enough to complete the trail and walk along knifes edge. It was an incredible trail with awesome scenery. Living in MO I was blown away by the beauty of Maine and what this trail offered.
It was very rainy the day we went, hiking poles would have been nice. We were unsure on what to expect on this trail and if we ever get the chance to return will be more prepared.

9 months ago

Such a beautiful hike dudes

9 months ago

October 2, 2017, Totally spectacular views during an extremely difficult hike. Took 13 hours on a beautiful sunny day, tshirt weather. Did the loop

9 months ago

This was a very difficult climb with some amazing views. Very much worth how difficult it is. Almost gave up just before the summit ridge coming through the boulder field. Glad I pressed on and made it to the top.

10 months ago

Completed Kilimanjaro earlier this year but this Katahdin climb felt more physically demanding than any of my 6 days on Kili, save perhaps summit day. This is a tough but very fun climb! Took Helon Taylor up to Knife's Edge to Baxter Peak then down Saddle to Chimney Pond. If you have knee issues or weak back straps the granite may begin to kill your feet on descent. Recommend high quality insoles in your boots. Had to stop to pray for some of the dingdongs climbing in tennis shoes. Take 3.5+ litres of hydration, you'll use it all.

11 months ago

I'm glad to see this is no longer listed as "moderate" , as it is anything but, if for no other reason than the trail is incredibly remote and storms crop up easily. But there's a lot that makes it difficult. I've done multiple summits in Utah and Nevada but none of them compare to the strenuous joy of bagging this peak. My dad and I summited Katahdin two years ago and it was one of the best experiences of my life. From the Helon Taylor trail, it immediately gains elevation--there's a lot of scrambling and light bouldering for most of the trail, and very uneven footing. Take a break once you get above treeline--the views are spectacular. Negotiating the Knife Edge involves a class 3 scramble, sheer drop offs on either side. Be mindful of your descent. Your two best options (for a day hike. Otherwise, continue to Hamlin ridge and descend via the Chimney Pond trail) are either the Cathedral Trail or the Saddle Trail. Both are knee-crushing steep, but the Saddle Trail is the lesser of the two evils. Even so, be prepared for major quad burnout on the way down over slick rocks and boulders. As opposed to scrambling back down a ridge and getting on a trail, the trails in BSP are so primitive, these descent routes don't even out for a while. Get ready for butt-sliding and taking time to lower yourself safely. When you get off the trail, go eat a meal in the Appalachian Trail cafe, have a beer, and book a massage.

11 months ago

Tough. Not for the average hiker. Had to turn around at monkey bars at 4 miles on the 5.2 one way hike from trailhead parking lot.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Maybe my favorite mountain.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Amazing hike!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

What a tremendous experience! Also, to agree with some of the other hikers who posted, NOT MODERATE. This is a difficult trail. That said, I saw plenty of 60+ year olds at the top, but they were in good shape and experienced hikers.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I have done this trail and under NO circumstances should it be considered moderate. This takes in the Hunt Trail hich is difficult, also Knife Edge which is very strenuous as well as Cathedral Trail. Both of which are listed as Difficult. This trail needs to be listed as no one underestimates this and ends up severely injured or worse. This sentiment is reflected in most of the comments. - Diamond

Sunday, April 09, 2017

I did this trail many years ago and highly recommend it for its beauty.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

This was a bucket list hike I completed with my daughter in September 2015 before her wedding. I've been coming to Maine since I was a child and my grandfather had often challenged me to do the Katahdin I've done it! Beautiful through and far, one of the most physically demanding due to the many Boulder and rock fields. The Knife Edge is thrilling!

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Good hike and a little bouldering. The place is a lot more crowded compared to when I was a kids hiking there. I grew up not far from the mountain.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Took the Helen Taylor trail up to Pamola, hiked the knife's edge to katahdin and turned around and took Helen Taylor back. I'd recommend doing saddle on the way down (from what I heard it's much easier) because you won't have to do knife's edge twice. Hike took my girlfriend and I 9 hours and we were beat. Best hike I've done

Friday, October 21, 2016

This was such an adventure with wonderful people!

Monday, October 10, 2016

We did the Hunt Trail up and down, and I have to say nothing prepared us for the amount of bouldering that we encountered. The boulders go on for miles. Bring plenty of food for energy!!! The summit is amazing and well worth it, just be prepared for the workout on the way up!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

We took Hunt trail up and down. Much harder than I thought it was going to be. We ended up coming down mostly in the dark. The boulders were tough and seemed to go on forever. Beautiful views at the top!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Amazing Hike, Make sure to reserve Parking!

Headed up Helen Taylor to Pamola Peak... Which fore warning descending and ascending back up to get to knifes edge was one of the most challenging spots just because you pretty much are rock climbing at points. No complaints but it is still towards the beginning of your hike, so if your prepared and have plenty of water it's weighing you down a bit through here..

I am weary about heights but love adrenaline so was pretty weary about knifes edge. But honestly it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. There were a couple spots that left me sliding on my butt, saying some words my mother probably wouldn't have approved of, but all worth it. About half way across it got foggy and white socked. No complaints from the guy who doesn't like heights. We made good time when we couldn't see the almost 5000 feet down haha. Not to mention the second half of knifes edge was much easier. Looking back at what we just came through, made me very grateful we took it in the direction we did.

We were going to take Hamlin Peak down, heard it had some epic views. But with the amount of fog, and the 2 hour drive home, we decided to save it for next time because we WILL be back.

Ended up taking the saddle trail back down, wasn't bad at all. Made it beside Basin Pond and to the lean-toos where the ranger warned of a young bear in the area. Well needless to say 100 yards down the trail we found him

Saturday, August 13, 2016

just hiked the new Abol Trail and loved it. weather was cool and rainy, so the views weren't the best, but a very rewarding climb. harder than I thought it would be. something for everyone.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Beautiful hike. Although when I went it was a bit cloudy, it was still amazing. most of the hike is rock scrambling. For me the mental toughness was harder then the physical. Knifes edge is beautiful but for someone who has a fear of heights like myself, it was a bit difficult. A lot of post say that if you are scared of heights not to do it, but the feeling you get when you do something you never thought you could, is one that will last a lifetime so go for it! it takes a little over an hour to go across it...."Anyone can do anything for an hour"

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